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Classics power play: From outside the time limit to top 10 finisher at Paris-Roubaix

Evaldas Siskevicius scored ninth at Paris-Roubaix and had to produce big watts to do so

Joe Robinson
15 Apr 2019

It's doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that Paris-Roubaix is one of the most brutal days professional cyclists can have in the saddle. The 29 sections of unrelenting cobbles trying their best to rattle you from the bike. The constant need to be on the pedals.

But have you ever wondered what it would take in terms of pure numbers to not only race Paris-Roubaix but also finish in the top 10?

Evaldas Siskevicius reached the Roubaix velodrome last year. Although, he reached it an hour after eventual winner Peter Sagan.

Long after the time limit, the roads had been reopened and the gates that allow you onto the wooden boards had been locked. Siskevicius had to negotiate his way into the locked arena just so he could finish, for his own piece of mind.

Read the full post-Roubaix interview with Siskevicius here

The watts needed for a top 10 finish

This year was a completely different story. The former Lithuanian national champion came in ninth, only 47 seconds adrift of the day's winner Philippe Gilbert and the only ProContinental rider to have finished in the top 10.

To do so, Siskevicius had to put in a mighty shift. Despite large sections of headwind, the 30-year-old held 42kmh for the entire six hours and 16 minutes of racing riding at a steady cadence of 88rpm, no doubt lowered by the attritional cobblestones.

The Lithuanian had to push an average of 304w, with an average weighted power of 335w, just to keep in contention. That translates to 4.4w/kg for the entire day of riding.

Looking closer, Siskevicius's power tells the story of the day in more detail. Rather than continuous spikes in power, the Delko-Marseille rider's power remained consistently high throughout the entire race with seldom a moment of respite.

From the Arenberg Trench, around 100km from the finish, the race was truly on, seeing Siskevicius having to average 317w for the final two and a half hours of riding.

To remain in the lead group on the Arenberg, Siskevicius pushed 364w for 3 minutes 45 seconds with a surge to 503w for 30 seconds just to hold the wheels.

He then repeated that 364w effort for a further five minutes on the Mons-en-Pevele sector later in the race although to no avail with the race's leading six riders pulling adrift by this point.

Again, just to remain in a group resigned to the fact it had lost the race, Siskevicius put in 391w for the entire Carrefour de l'Arbe sector, the final five-star sector.

This saw him cover the 1.97km section of pave in 3 minutes and 22 seconds. Impressive but still some 30 seconds adrift of Jumbo-Visma's Danny van Poppel, who currently holds the Strava KOM.

By the velodrome, you would not have blamed Siskevicius for simply sitting up and taking in the fact he'd reached the finish of Roubaix long before the time cut.

But like a true racer, the Lithuanian dug deep for a sprint finish and after six hours of racing managed to draw another 615w charge for 33 seconds, even managing to crack 1,000w as he rolled in ninth on the day.