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Giro d'Italia 2018: Digesting the numbers of Wellens's win

Joe Robinson
9 May 2018

A look at the numbers that allowed Wellens to win and Schachmann to finish the stage

Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) took Stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia into Caltagirone with a perfectly timed attack, unleashing himself from the wheel of Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo) within the final 200m to cross the line first.

The win was uncharacteristic of Wellens, who usually shows youthful naivety by attacking early, with patience being the ultimate ally for the Belgian as he took his second career Giro stage victory.

Another ally of Wellens was his ability to put out an unmatchable killer attack on the final ramp to the line and thanks to Velon we have an insight into the sheer effort Wellens had to produce.

In the final 750 metres of the stage, the 26-year-old averaged 28.4km/h over the 7.5% average gradient maxing out at 45km/h. Although we were not privy to Wellens's power, the wattage of third place Battaglin gives us insight into the winning effort.

Across the same stretch of road, Battaglin had to average 631w for 1:38 to sustain 29.5km/h. The Italian also maxed out at 945w as he hung on to the wheels of Wellens and second place Michael Woods (EF-Drapac).

Battaglin and Wellens are almost identical weights so for the latter to have won the stage, he would have had to average a slightly higher wattage to have rounded Battaglin and taken the stage.

Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) was one of a collection of riders that finished four seconds down on the winning group of five, however this was not due to a lack of power. 

At just 53kg, the small Italian produced an average power of 551w for the final ramp to the line meaning he averaged 10.3w/k as opposed to Battaglin's 9.5w/k.

Terrible Sicilian road surfaces led to many punctures on course. One of those to suffer a flat was Chris Froome's key domestique Sergio Henao (Team Sky). 

In the final 25km, Henao was left to chase back on the a peloton constantly increasing in speed. In his three minute chase, the Colombian had to average 399w to regain contact maxing out at 797w. 

This unnecessary burst of power so close to the line would have undoubtedly burned matches for Henao and affected his ability to guide Froome into the final climb of the day. Eventually, Froome lost 21 seconds on the stage.

Watching the 191km stage live, there appeared to be no flat kilometres with the peloton constantly rolling through the Sicilian countryside.

This consistent effort was shown in the overall numbers produced by white young jersey wearer Max Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors). 

For the 5 hour 17 minutes stage, the German had to average 226w (normalised power of 283w) to hold an average speed of 37.5km/h across 3350m of vertical elevation. 

His one minute peak was 561w and his max power 1108w which allowed Schachmann to finish the stage just 10 seconds behind Wellens despite crashing in the final few kilometres.