One hundred and seventy-six cyclists started the most important competition in the world of cycling: the Tour de France. When approaching that group you can see legs sculpted in detail, thousands of kilometers after having started to turn the cranks, back in December, all headed for maximum performance.
However, when entering that multicolored squad of jerseys the protagonists of the squad are characterized by well differentiated qualities, as different is their training.
Namely: a group, the most reduced, is dedicated to finding its moment of glory by appearing as missiles in the last meters of an arrival to the sprint. A body like Kittel‘s is incomparable to that of the rest: much larger musculature and thanks to it the ability to generate enormous power. In the last seconds before crossing the finish line they can generate up to 1500 watts, which means that those who want to win must produce between 23.50-23.16 watts per kilogram of body weight during those last five seconds of dispute between human locomotives.
¡A second group of squad inhabitants are those who try to hunt their stage by entering one of the escapades. They are expert riders who also shine in the one-day classics or in the World Championship, when they accumulate more than two hundred kilometers on the bike and the maximum power is key to entering the good escape, the one in which the glory will be played. That’s where Sagan stands out the most. His body is halfway between the sprinters and the climbers, neither so muscular nor so thin, and is able to generate in the five-minute tests that perform up to 7.60-7.46 watts per kilogram of body weight.
Finally you can see the climbers, those light cyclist that take the final glory of winning in the mythical ascents and in the most important races lasting three weeks: Tour, Giro and Vuelta. The key to all their performance lies in their weight and that, the greater the slope of an uphill and the greater the length of it, the more important the lightness and being able to generate a figure as close as possible to 6.62-6.50 watts per kilogram of weight (in a 20-minute test). The day to day of Froome, his training, his food and his rest are planned to develop that power and he knows that in that figure is the answer to whether he will be able to choose the final victory or not. Before starting the competition he already knows his real options.
Data and more data. All analyzed and calculated in each training so that each cyclist develops his best qualities. But, how to know the characteristics of each person to include him in one of the three groups? Simple, from a protocol of four tests performed at maximum intensity for ten seconds and one, five and twenty minutes, analyzed with the right tools and knowledge show at what level that cyclist is in relation to any other in the world, call him Kittel, Sagan, Froome or the amateur who trains three times a week. This, in the same tests that the best in the world would be able to generate a power of about 12.28, 3.13 and 2.69 watts per kilogram of weight in the tests of ten seconds, one minute, five minutes and twenty minutes respectively: obvious differences.
And it is that nothing and nobody escapes to that tiny measurer called powermeter that now calculates with absolute accuracy the level of each cyclist and how to increase it. The watts show the reality of each cyclist.