But how tough was stage one of the Dauphine?
With the race postponed and shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers opted for five hilly days of racing as riders prepare for the Tour de France later this month.
Riders had to tackle seven categorised climbs along the 218km route from Clermont-Ferrand to Saint-Christo-en-Jarez, including two consecutive fourth category climbs leading to the finish.
The race favourites all hit the final climb together setting up a desperate uphill sprint for the line, with Van Aert powering clear of the pure climbers to take the stage.
Jumbo-Visma rider Van Aert wasn’t the fastest rider on Strava over the final climbs however, as he was only the seventh quickest athlete on the 1.77km final segment, two seconds behind the KoM holder and team-mate Steven Kruijswijk.
Unfortunately Van Aert hasn’t shared his power data from the stage, but luckily UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogačar did.
Pogačar, who is still only 21, finished fifth on the stage with the same time as the winner.
The Slovenian actually climbed the final rise faster than Van Aert, taking third on the leaderboard with an average power of 340w for the three-minute long climb, which is around 5.1 watt per kilogram.
Pogačar also hit a maximum power of 1,113w, which is still a huge power outfit for a lean Grand Tour contender.
Froome was not at his best in the Dauphiné, as he was dropped heading into the final and lost five minutes to the winners by the line.
The four-time Tour de France winner’s power was definitely down in this race compared to his recent performances, as he pushed out a maximum of 407w for five minutes and 331w for 20 minutes.
In the Tour de l’Ain, Froome was pushing 390w for 35 minutes while riding in support of his team-mate Egan Bernal.
Heading into the final of the Dauphiné, Froome clearly wasn’t giving it his all as he put out 234w on the climb to the line, with a time more than two minutes slower than the fastest riders.
The race continues with a mountain finish on the Col de Porte for day two, so no doubt we’ll see the climbers triumph after coming close on the opening stage.
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