We continue the data analysis series by Mark Fenner with a report on the performance of Chris Hamilton in stage three of the Santos Tour Down Under, a race that featured the imposing climb of Corkscrew Road… and, of course some manic approach along Gorge Road.
– By Mark Fenner
To be in with a chance of climbing with the very best riders in the world, everything has to come together and the run into ‘The Corkscrew’ at the TDU is one of the determining factors of the race.
In this analysis we follow Chris Hamilton, the current Australian U23 National Champion and delve into his race file. In doing so, we will focus on the lead into the climb and then ‘The Corkscrew’ itself.
The important thing here is the positioning going into the base of the climb. The lead into the base of the corkscrew determines who has the best position initially and can then respond to efforts and attacks from others later in the climb. This run in is notorious and we can see the pace and length of this effort in the race to the base of the climb in the segment below.
These efforts represent between 450-800 watts for a rider who weighs 60kg just to hold position in this peloton! This sort of effort resembles a criterium race power profile and this is before Chris has to try and ride the climb with the others. This 22km segment of the race was completed at a staggering 51.5km/h for 22 minutes.
It represented 90% of Chris’s current threshold all before the climb starts.
Unfortunately Chris didn’t have the best position going into the base of the Corkscrew and this meant that a huge effort had to be given to move up and get onto the back of the lead group on the road.
The effort up the Corkscrew was massive and remember that this is after a 22 minute 90% + effort made up of huge anaerobic repeats.
The base of the climb was where Chris had to move up and this is represented by a 1km effort above 120% of his current threshold power.
There is a huge spike effort here of well over 800 watts. This early effort on the climb cost Chris and it would have been interesting to see this effort at the end of the climb if Chris had better positioning early on.
You can see after this massive early effort with spikes of between 1,012 w/kg the Chris needed some small recovery to regroup and recover for the final two-thirds of the climb. Recovery here for Chris is still around threshold, but, small micro recoveries allow him to then push on as the real contenders start to animate the race.
The final third of the graph shows more huge efforts, you can clearly see where Richie Porte attacks and Chris tries to maintain contact with the lead group on the road.
As riders start the get dropped Chris maintains 110-120% of his current threshold on the climb and moves up to a small group just off the back of the Porte group. The final effort on the climb moved Chris onto the back of a small group of riders who crested about 20 seconds behind the lead group of riders.
Below is the breakdown of the actual numbers required for the lead in and final climb, they are world class figures showing the talented physiology of Chris Hamilton.
The magic number of 7w/kg shows what a massive engine Chris has, but, the early effort to move up and into position cost Chris when the real players came out on ‘The Corkscrew’.
It was still a very impressive ride and this short segment shows just what is needed to perform at the best level in the World and how strategic the leading teams & riders need to be.
– By Mark Fenner