One quick way to remember that the vast majority of us are amateurs and the pros are pros is to look at top riders’ Strava files. The watts they put out and distances they ride are on another planet, relatively speaking, for the vast majority of us.
A sparse Strava public uploader (his only other public upload from the last year is Dutch Nationals), Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) gave us a look inside his ride by posting his data file from his bonkers comeback win at the Amstel Gold Race to the data compilation / social media site.
Since he is the proest of the pros right now, let’s take a minute and stare with hushed reverence at his power numbers from the Amstel Gold Race.
MvdP, By the Numbers
The numbers from Van der Poel’s race finish are uh, impressive.
After moving to the front of the chase group, Van der Poel launched his sprint from about 200-300m out. He did so with a first kick of 1,400 watts (!). His average power during the sprint was 1,200 watts with a cadence of 106 rpm.
His average speed? 64 km/hr (nearly 40 mi/hr).
Van der Poel’s sprint was just the close of the impressive comeback. Before that, he was the engine dragging the chase back to the leaders for a long stretch of time. After taking a bit of a break after the last short climb, Van der Poel moved to the front again with about 700m to go for a long pull in the saddle.
He averaged 660 watts in the saddle during that pull before launching his sprint with a 1,400-watt burst.
Van der Poel’s comeback was not just about the last few hundred meters. With 5km to go, Van der Poel and his group were still facing a deficit of nearly 45 seconds to Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
For the 7 or so kilometers before the final drag to the line, Van der Poel averaged 400 watts for over 10 minutes. Those numbers are not out of the realm of possibility for amateurs, but that power was after 150 miles of racing.
One spot Van der Poel helped make up ground was the last small climb before the finish. Just one mile long with 90 feet of elevation gain, Van der Poel rode the section 16 seconds faster than Mikal Kwiatkowski, who was one of the 3 riders between the leaders and Van der Poel.
Van der Poel’s was the best time on the day and second all-time behind Michael Valgren (Team Dimension Data), who rode it 8 seconds faster last year. Van der Poel’s power on the 2-minute section was 450 watts.
Even though Van der Poel was only second on that segment, he did take home some KOMs. Not surprisingly, he had the top time on the final 22-minute, 15.9km loop of the race. His power for the lap was 353 watts.
He also snagged both the short and long segments on the Keutenberg climb. His power on that climb was 451 watts for 3 minutes. His time was a full 28 seconds faster than the other rides who put data on Strava for Sunday’s race.
Sunday’s Amstel Gold was 260km long with 11,000 feet of climbing, which took Van der Poel a little over 6 hours 26 minutes of riding time to finish. His average power was 278 watts, but his weighted average power was 337 watts.
All that pedaling added up to 6,440 kJ of work, meaning Van der Poel was more than earned a victory Amstel Gold lager with his win.