Lydia Boylan's OVO Energy Women's Tour Power File Analysis - Stage 3

Another long day at the OVO Women’s Tour, 150.8km from Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa. In Total the peloton has now clocked up 466km if you include the neutral section each day. 

Lydia’s Training Peaks file for the Stage is displayed below

  

Looking at the stage as a whole the numbers are very similar to Stage 2, this is testament to the quality of the field, despite covering almost 500km things aren’t slowing down in the bunch!

 

Duration: 4hrs 1 minute

Average Power: 178w

Normalized Power: 215w

Average Heart rate: 153bpm

Max Heart rate: 184bpm

 

Today’s stage differed from the first 2 stages in that the variability index (VI) is the higher than it has been. Variability index represents the ratio between average and normalized power.

 

An explanation of this is that Lydia’s job for the day was to try and help her team mate Katie Archibald in the intermediate sprints. To do this Lydia had to guide Katie into a good position before the sprint, sheltering her from the wind. Both intermediate sprints today took place in towns, Kenilworth and Wellesbourne. Riding through a town involves many more obstacles and corners than riding on the open road. This completely changed the way Lydia needed to put out power. 

You can see in figure 3 that coming into the sprint Lydia is making lots of short sharp efforts as she fights for position with Katie on her wheel. Each power spike represents where Lydia has had to make a small effort to stay near the front. When riding in a peloton if you aren’t moving forward then you are actually going backwards as everyone else moves up. Therefore, when fighting for the front you need to make lots of small efforts to stay in a good position. You can clearly see this principle in action in figure 3.

 

Let’s now take a closer look at the last ~3.5km before the intermediate sprint

In figure 4 I have reduced the smoothing on the power file. The default view within TrainingPeaks is that the power data is smoothed over 3s. This means that each point on the chart represents the 3s power average at that point not the actually power output. Removing this smoothing as in figure 4 means we can really appreciate the on / off nature of the power output when looking at this type of effort. In the 3.5km before the sprint we can see 32 power spikes above Lydia’s FTP! If you coach has ever got you to perform a 15s on 15s off session you should now be able to see why that type of effort can at times be so important in races.

 

The way in which Lydia put out power in the section of the course in figure 4 is very similar to the power output we would see if we are looking at a town centre criterium. For me when we see this type of power output in the middle of a 150km stage on day 3 of stage race it illustrates perfectly that to be a successful professional rider you really do need to be able to do everything well! You never know in what sort of situations you will need to help your fellow team mates or ride for yourself. When we talk about professional riders we often pigeon hole them into having a speciality, what we often forget is that actually professional bike riders are excellent all-round bike riders first and are simply exceptional in one area!

 

Returning to figure 4, another thing that see can is that Lydia’s effort actually finishes a long way before the actual sprint. Speaking to Lydia after the stage she dropped Katie off relatively early, at approximately 500m to go before sprint, in a good position on the back of another team leading out the intermediate sprint. 

All the above may seem like a lot of effort for an intermediate sprint however as you can see from figure 5 Katie not only scored 3 points but also collected 3 bonus seconds! With the general classification being so tight these bonus seconds, along with the 2 bonus seconds she collected in the second sprint of the day moved Katie up to 8th overall! A great team effort to achieve a brilliant individual result for Katie!

 

With 2 more days to go the fight continues! Check in tomorrow to see how Lydia got on in stage 4! 

Fig 1, Stage 3 of the OVO Energy Women's Tour

Fig, 2 Power File of Stage 3 of the ‘OVO Energy Women’s Tour’ 

Fig 5, Result of the first intermediate sprint in Kenilworth 

Fig 3, Power output in the 11km preceding the first intermediate sprint 

Fig 4, Power output for ~3.5km preceding the first intermediate sprint – the sprint took place at the arrow