Plenty of cyclists know the demands of a short a sharp crit race, from fourth cat upwards.
But it’s not often we see the pros taking on a thrilling city centre criterium, like the 51km Schwalbe Classic that took place on Sunday (January 19) in Australia ahead of the Tour Down Under.
Victory went to Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan, with the home favourite taking an easy victory in rain-soaked Adelaide.
But how tough is a criterium with the WorldTour pros racing?
Strava stats might just reveal the effort it takes to get round a technical race like the Schwalbe Classic.
Unfortunately, Caleb Ewan doesn’t share his numbers on Strava, but we can get an idea of the demands thanks to fellow Australian Sam Welsford, who rides for UniSA-Australia.
Welsford took eighth place in the race, finishing behind the likes of Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates).
According to the 24-year-old’s Strava, he averaged 329watts (348w weighted) for the one hour and four minutes of racing, with a blistering 45.6km/h average speed.
Welsford hit a maximum power of 1,644w in the final sprint, which carried him to a max speed of 74km/h in the dash for the line.
The Strava power curve reveals Welsford spent 25 seconds above 1,000w and held 356w for 20 minutes.
British time trial specialist Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) also published his detailed power numbers on Strava.
Dowsett held an average power of 318w for the duration with a maximum sprint of 1,273 – not bad for a lead-out rider.
He also spent 17 minutes in total above 500watts during the race.
Britain’s Gabriel Cullaigh also uploaded his Strava data, as he hit the road with his Movistar team for the first time.
The 23-year-old averaged 286w and hit a maximum power of 1,305w, which took him to 66th place.
He spent 12 minutes above 630w throughout the race, five minutes between 505 and 630w, with 38 minutes in zone one, between zero and 231w.
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