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Giro d'Italia 2018: Stage 5 by numbers

Joe Robinson
10 May 2018

How Battaglin won and the numbers that suggest an amateur could have stayed in the peloton

Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo) has proven in the past two days that he is the best punchuer in the 2018 Giro d'Italia. After taking third on Stage 4 to Caltagirone the Italian went two better winning Stage 5 to Santa Ninfa on a similar testing finish.

While yesterday's stage finished with a flatter run to the line, it resembled the day before with a technical uphill climb close to the finish.

Battaglin was savvy to this, following the wheel of local Sicilian Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) into the final few hundred metres before rounding him to take a comfortable win.

With information provided by Velon, we can take a look at the numbers Battaglin needed to produce to take the stage and what those behind also produced.

The final run to the line was fast with Battaglin covering the final 350 metres in 29 seconds, averaging 46.4km/h. In total, he had to produce an average of 798w, or 12w/kg, for half a minute to overcome Visconti and the chasing pack for victory.

The LottoNL-Jumbo rider also produced a higher maximum wattage on Stage 5 compared to the day before. This time Battaglin managed to break the thousand barrier hitting 1023w in his sprint as opposed to 945w the day before: 78w is clearly the difference between winning and losing.

Second placed Visconti actually produced a higher max wattage than his compatriot, reaching 1056w, yet was clearly unable to produce the power for enough time when it mattered most.

This is caveatted, however, by the fact that Visconti had to pace team leader Domenico Pozzovivo back to the peloton in the final 12km.

In doing so, Visconti had to produce a concerted effort of 406w for 2 minutes 15, maxing out at 736w, which will have no doubt burnt matches for the Italian racing into the final kilometres.

Rarely does the professional peloton go at a pace that amateurs consider easy enough for them to ride at yet yesterday was potentially one of them.

The first 20km of Stage 5 was taken at pedestrian speed with the main bunch only averaging 29.6km/h in the first 40 minutes of racing.

Defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) found this a relaxing effort only averaging 129w for this period at a steady cadence of 84rpm.

Even ahead in the breakaway the pace was relaxed. After a 420w attack away from the peloton in the first kilometre by Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) the pace settled quickly.

Teammate and fellow breakaway instigator Laurent Didier averaged 33.4km/h in the first 20km at 247w, a number comfortably achievable for most amateur cyclists. 

The day itself seemed a little less difficult than the day before. Despite being rolling, the stage was shorter with significantly less climbing, 1967m compared to 3350m.

The average speed of the peloton was 2km/h slower and there seemed less urgency from the bunch, perhaps with the shadow of today's stage to Mount Etna looming large.