How tough is a crit race with the WorldTour pros? Strava stats reveal the answer

Sam Welsford, Gabriel Cullaigh and Alex Dowsett put out some staggering numbers

(Image credit: Daniel)

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.

>>> Former Team Sky rider retires after four years spent battling Epstein-Barr virus 


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.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

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 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.