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.

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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.

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the 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 and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has 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 journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.