Stage 01:

Prospect to Lobethal – 135km. 
Tuesday, 22nd January 

Serge Pauwels at the start of the stage in Prospect. Photo: Sunada

All this week RIDE will be following the Quarq powerdata of Serge Pauwels, a previous winner of the King of the Mountains (KOM) classification at the 2007 Tour Down Under. This will be Pauwel’s second year riding with his Omega-Pharma Quick-Step team after riding for Team Sky in 2010 and 2011. Classified as an all-rounder Pauwels weighs 64kgs and is 178cm tall.

 With today’s stage one suiting the sprinters, the instructions from his team for today would have been to not expend too much energy and not lose any time by not finishing with the peloton. For a full explaination of powermeters and terminology please visit our introduction page.

Stage one map and profile


It’s easy to see right away looking at his ride summary data and blue (cadence) chart below that Serge achieved one of his goals for the day, that is not expending too much energy, by spending a lot of the day freewheeling. We can see this reflected in his relatively low average power for the day and when we can see the blue line dropping on the ride plot below.

Serge Pauwels ride summary 2013 Santos Tour Down Under Stage One


Serge Pauwels ride plot


There is a lot of time, especially in the middle of the race, where Serge is not pedalling at all – the very definition of ‘saving his legs’ for later in the week. However when the normalised power (listed as xPower) is so much higher (255w) than the AP (205w) it indicates that there were certain points during the stage where some decent efforts were needed in order to stay with the peloton.

A more in depth look at the ride plot shows that a lot of this came the final half an hour of the race. Matching what we saw on the course this came when the pace and intensity within the peloton increased as the teams with sprinters were positioning themselves and setting their lead out trains for the finale in Lobethal.

Serge Pauwels ride plot final 25min

Omega Pharma have brought Gert Steegmans, a strong sprinter, with them at this Tour but Steegmans is working without the leadout train that other teams have brought. This means  that Pauwels only had to ensure he finished with the bunch, rather than set up a sprint over the closing kilometers.

Despite not having to do the work that other teams were doing in closing kilometers his final 25 minutes show a max power of 1102w as well as hitting a top speed of 84km/h and cadence 140 RPM. At this point we can see that none of the previous freewheeling was occurring in order to ensure Pauwels finished with the main bunch.

A look at some time blocks shows an impressive 10 minute effort of 327w. Which when you take in to account that Pauwels weighs just 64kg this turns what isn’t a huge 10 minute power in to a more respectable 5.1w/kg. For those of us not as light as the Pro’s, this would translate to producing over 400w for 10 minutes (assuming a body weight of 80kg).

Serge Pauwels critical power chart

The 20 minute power was 293w (or 4.6w/kg) and 266w (4.15w/kg), which indicates that even with the frantic run in to the finish the time required to “stomp” wasn’t very extended and certainly nothing Serge would not have been able to handle on the first stage of the race.

Overall a comfortable day for Serge, he appears to have looked after himself well with the view to having some wattage to burn once the road starts to head upwards in the coming days.

Thanks to Omega-Pharma Quick-Step and Quarq.  For more information please click on the logos below.








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