How are pro cyclists getting more powerful than ever? The GCN Show

To help answer that question and more GCN’s resident cycling statistician Cillian Kelly joins Si Richardson for this week’s GCN Show

Clock21:30, Tuesday 20th February 2024

This week on the GCN Show we're talking numbers. Specifically those from last week's Clásica Jaén Paraíso, which is a gravel-style road race held in Spain. Race winner Oier Lazkano (Movistar Team) uploaded his power files from the race to Strava shortly afterwards and frankly, the levels of power he was putting out blew our minds. We had to take a closer look, so who better to dig a little deeper into those incredible numbers than our resident statistician Cillian Kelly.

Regular viewers of GCN and the sadly departed GCN+ may know Cillian from his regular ‘Stat Attack’ slot on the World of Cycling program. By the way, Stat Attack has now become a regular feature on this very website every week in case you've missed it. Check it out, once you’ve watched this week’s show of course.

Read more: Stat Attack: Does Pro cycling really need saving?

Cillian has also taken part in the Etape de Tour back in 2022, taken on British Hill Climb Champion Andrew Feather for a place on the Zwift Academy and is about to take on the Tour of Flanders, as well as running the software team behind the scenes here on the GCN website. He's a busy guy.

But the reason he’s on this week’s show with Si Richardson is for his prowess with numbers. So let’s take a look at some of those figures that Lazkano threw down while winning that race last week.

His average power for the 3hr 45min race was 358 watts, with a normalised power of 405 watts! His best 20 min power was 456W. Those are pretty astonishing figures and from someone you may not have heard much about until now – Si certainly hadn’t when he first talked about him on this week's Racing News Show.

Cillian puts that into perspective for us, gamely comparing Lazkano’s figures to his own ‘below average rider’ Strava data.

Lazkona’s best 20-minute power output was an impressive 456W. Cillian has held that sort of power down in the past… but only for 1 minute 23 seconds.

Lazkona's average power for the whole race was 358W for nearly four hours. Cillian has managed that sort of wattage… but for just over two minutes.

Cillian then goes on to compare this with Dan Bigham, who broke the World Hour Record in 2022 and reportedly produced 350 watts for that hour duration. When you realise that Lazkano did that for the entire race, well that's seriously impressive!

So why are power numbers increasing for pro riders? As the guys discuss it’s mainly down to better nutritional understanding and improvements in how and when to fuel correctly. That paired with generally better training methods, and things like sleep monitoring all combine to provide more usable power at the right time for these riders.

In other news, the guys look at the latest sunglasses releases from eyewear titan Oakley. The new Sphaera glasses are modelled by none other than Mark Cavendish, looking particularly rugged and are supposed to be ‘forgettable’ in the words of the Oakley marketing team. This is apparently down to how lightweight they are and that they have such a good field of vision you’ll forget you’re wearing them. Will they live long in the memory for years to come? Only time will tell.

There’s also the news that Tobias Foss (Ineos Grenadiers) was spotted with a staggering 68-tooth chainring on his Pinarello Bolide TT bike at the UAE Tour; Campagnolo launched a new gravel groupset, the Ekar GT which offers a slightly more affordable version of the Ekar model; and the announcement that Elitewheels are a new partner here on GCN. Look out for a video explaining more about them over on GCN Tech later in the week.

Hacks and Bodges

Cello tape horn from Simon

Never been able to buy a horn/bell with a bracket that fits the bars so a simple bodge using cello tape, which makes it easily interchangeable between bike. Majority of people around here love it when I beep them.

Neoprene valve washers from homerhicks

After riding through flooded lanes every Sunday through the Winter my wheels have been taking on water through the valve hole so I just made neoprene washers to sit under the presta valve locking ring.

Beer holder from donlaunder

Needed a place to hold my beer (Dan) while working on my bike in the shop. The work bench seemed to risky.

If you have a Hack or Bodge you'd like to be included on a future GCN Show then here's how you can upload it. Don't forget to include plenty of information so Si and Dan can understand what it's all about.

Coming up on the channel this week*

Wednesday 21 Feb: How to ride a fixie like a pro with Manon Lloyd

Thursday 22 Feb: The five most common bike fit mistakes

Friday 23 Feb: Behind the scenes at the World Tour - Manon reports back from the Women's UAE Tour

Saturday 24 Feb: Si Richardson and Hank head off on a winter bikepacking challenge

Sunday 25 Feb: The GCN Zwift Games - our presenters go head-to-head on Zwift.

* Weekly video schedule is subject to change.

Did you know? You can also listen to this via podcast. So now you can get all the insight from the show without actually having to look at Dan (or in this case Cillian) and Si, which we can’t believe you’d want to do.

Search for the Global Cycling Network wherever you get your podcasts.

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