Riders' Strava stats reveal how tough Ghent-Wevelgem really was

A rapid pace over 250km made for some huge efforts in Belgium

Strava stats from the pros show how tough Ghent-Wevelgem was

A thrilling edition of Ghent-Wevelgem saw the peloton battling crosswinds, chasing down a breakaway full of hitters and riding at high speed over 250km.

The spring Classics treat us to some herculean efforts every year, with Strava providing an additional insight into the memorable performances.

The 2019 Ghent-Wevelgem has thrown up some interesting stats on the "social media for athletes."

>>> Six things we learned from the 2019 Ghent-Wevelgem 

Jumbo-Visma’s Danny van Poppel sprinted to a fifth place finish on Sunday (March 31), with his Strava file showing what it takes to compete at the sharp end.

The Dutchman’s power output is pretty mind-boggling, as he averaged 319 watts (3.9w/kg) over the five-hour day of racing.

His critical power curve shows he held 392w for 20 minutes, hitting a maximum of 1,400w in the dash for the line.

As an 80kg rider, van Poppel’s maximum 20-minute power came out at 4.9w/kg.

The crosswind racing ensure a high average of 45km/h for van Poppel.

Race winner Alexander Kristoff has not shared his power data, but his Strava stats still show the huge effort it takes to win a Classic.

The Norwegian climbed 1,663m over the undulating and cobbled roads of Belgium and hit 84.2km/h at his fastest.

Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) also took seven top-10s along the road – no small feat in a peloton full of powerful riders.

In the sprint for the line, he hit 61km/h at his peak to beat John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) to victory.

One of the decisive segments in the race is the Kemmelburg, but the King of the Mountain did not fall this year.

>>> Strava stats show just what it takes to compete in finale of Milan-San Remo

The current KoM-holder is Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko, who set the record in the 2018 edition and held 469w over the 3-44 climb.

No-one in the 2019 race made it into the top-ten for the segment on Strava due to the headwind restricting the rider’s ascent. 

Britain’s Harry Tanfield uploaded his ride from this year’s edition to the site, calling it “outrageous.”

The 24-year-old, riding his first WorldTour season with Katusha-Alpecin, didn’t finish the race, making it two hours and 100km into the day.

After averaging 300w and hitting a maximum of 1,156w, he was forced to pull out after the race split into echelons.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.