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Classics power play: The watts needed to ride Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

Joe Robinson
4 Mar 2019

Naesen provides his power data from the opening Classics weekend to prove just how hard racing is

Just in case you were under any illusions that you could have kept pace with the professionals at the opening weekend of the Spring Classics, AG2R La Mondiale rider Oliver Naesen has uploaded his rides to Strava proving just how average us amateurs are.

Former Belgian road race champion Naesen had a solid opening weekend finishing 10th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and 43rd at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday having been part of the five-man break that launched Bob Jungels to his eventual race victory.

To do this, Naesen produced some exceptionally high numbers which he has since shared on Strava.

Across 4 hours 45 minutes of racing at Omloop, Naesen recorded an average weighted power of 322w as he formed part of a chase group hunting down eventual race winner Zdenek Stybar, Greg Van Avermaet and others.

He then backed that up just 24 hours later with even bigger watts managing to sustain 336w for five hours at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Considering Naesen's weight of 71kg, that means the Belgian held 4.7W/kg for the entire race, something us amateurs would struggle to hold for just a few minutes.

Naesen's numbers from Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

At Kuurne, Naesen was one of the major protagonists, forcing the large split with Deceuninck-QuickStep with 85km left to ride and also applying the pressure alongside Ian Stannard on the Oude Kwaremont.

Reacting to attacks on the Kwaremont, Naesen tapped out a steady 419w for 3 minutes 45 seconds including a surge of 511w to cover the accelerations of Stannard and Yves Lampaert halfway through the climb.

Naesen rode the final 65km of Kuurne in a reduced break of five - including eventual winner Jungels, Davide Ballerini and Sebastien Langeveld - which held the rampaging peloton for around 40 seconds before Jungels's race winning attack with 16km to go.

Matching the combined chase of Jumbo-Visma and Bora-Hansgrohe, Naesen and his breakaway companions rode harmoniously at an average of 45kmh, averaging 344w. Naesen also peaked at 1,171w during that time maintaining a smooth cadence of 91rpm. 

These numbers also help put the size of Jungels's superhuman attack into perspective. The Luxemburger managed to go solo in the final 16km, riding at 50kmh into a headwind to eventually cross the line 12 seconds clear of Team Sky's Owain Doull in second.

Considering the numbers Naesen produced in the closing stages of the race, only to be caught and finish within the pack, Jungels would have been riding at a monstrous level to not only escape the break but hold off the chase behind.

These monumental efforts from Naesen came just a day after riding Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, as previously mentioned.

A big day in the bunch at Omloop

While the race was being decided ahead, Naesen was part of a large group desperately hunting the race leaders across the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg within the final stages of the race.

The Muur is one of the hardest climbs in Flanders with pitches above 20%. Just to keep in contact, Naesen had to ride the climb at 480w - 6.7W/kg - with a peak of 958w once he had reached the church at the top.

This was then backed up with an equally heavy effort on the Bosberg just minutes later with Naesen climbing the race's final climb at 435w and at a speed of 25.5kmh, some 6kmh slower than his personal best.

To put that in perspective, if you're lucky enough to own a power meter or smart turbo trainer, attempt to ride at 6.7W/kg for four minutes.

For me, that would be holding 623w for the entirety of the Kapelmuur. These professionals are good, aren't they?

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