Lydia Boylan's OVO Energy Women's Tour Power File Analysis - Stage 2

The second stage of ‘The OVO Energy Women’s Tour’ took the riders on a loop through Staffordshire with the start and finish in Stoke–on-Trent. With a couple of tough first category climbs towards the end of the stage and an uphill finish in Hanley town centre this is arguably the toughest stage of this years ‘OVO Energy Women’s Tour’  

Let’s have a look through Lydia’s power file and see how the day unfolded.

Today’s stage, despite being tougher on paper, was actually an easier day in the saddle for Lydia.

 

Duration: 4hrs 8 minutes

Average Power: 181w

Normalized Power: 212w

Average Heart rate: 155bpm

Max Heart rate: 179bpm

 

This however is because the decision was made before the stage to try and get through the day as easily as possible in order to give her back and hip an extra day to recover. The aim of today’s stage was to hide in the bunch and then once the race split over the climbs at the end of the stage to find a group and ride in nice and easy with them saving as much energy as possible. 

All in all, this plan was executed quite well, however as there always is in a race, there was a bit of a speed bump along the way….

 

The weather today was less than perfect with heavy rain falling on the riders. This caused a number of crashes and punctures, luckily today Lydia was spared from the former but did suffer a puncture just before the first unclassified climb of the day!

 

We can see this in Lydia’s power file

The gap in the file shows where Lydia stopped, had her wheel changed by the WNT team mechanic Roman Entensperger and then got going again! Kudos should go to Roman at this point as we can see from the file it took only 22s for Lydia to stop, Roman to get out of the car wheel in hand, change her wheel and push her off again! Next time you change your wheel at home try timing yourself – chances are you won’t be able to simply change the wheel that quickly let alone, find the correct wheel, get out of the car, run over to a rider, change the wheel and push them off again!

I am reliably informed that the team record is a stunning 12s for a wheel change! 

 

With this swift wheel change Lydia didn’t lose much time to the bunch and was able to pace back up to the bunch behind her team car. The timing of this effort wasn’t ideal though as Lydia has to chase up the first climb of the day. This required her to produce 262w (270w NP) for 6 ½ minutes to get back to the bunch! It was during this period that Lydia recorded her highest heart rate of the stage!

 

Despite this minor hiccup the rest of the stage went as planned. After the second sprint of the day the bunch started splitting into smaller groups. It was at this point that Lydia took her place in the grupetto and rode relatively easy to the finish!

Lydia’s power output for this section of the race was only 167w (194w NP), up until this point in the race she had averaged 180w (217w NP). Her average HR for this section of the race 153bpm – this is only just above what she would average during an endurance ride. The goal of the grupetto in any stage race is simply to get to the finish inside the time limit. This means expending as little energy as possible. In a professional race once you are not fighting for a position on the overall general classification it doesn’t matter if you are 5 minutes or 10 minutes behind overall. Each rider has their own job to do each day, be it fetching bottles, protecting a team leader or simply getting through the stage whilst trying to recover from a small injury so you can help out in future stages or try and get an individual stage result later in the race. The most important thing is that you perform that duty for your team and not your overall position in the general classification.

 

Speaking with Lydia after the stage she was upbeat and said that she felt much better on the bike than yesterday. Despite 2 difficult days, after the crash on day 1, she is hoping to improve day by day during the tour. On to stage 3 tomorrow!

Fig 1, Stage 2 of the OVO Energy Women's Tour

Fig, 2 Power File of Stage 2 of the ‘OVO Energy Women’s Tour’ 

Fig, 5 Lydia’s power output in the grupetto

Fig, 3 Lydia spent today much more tucked away in the bunch compared with yesterday. You can just spot her Irish National Champion Jersey in the middle of the shot (photo from OVO Energy Women’s Tour)

Fig 4, Lydia’s puncture can be seen in the gap in the file and her subsequent chase back to the bunch