Lydia Boylan's OVO Energy Women's Tour Power File Analysis - Stage 1

A tough day out for Lydia in the first stage of ‘The OVO Energy Women’s Tour’. The stage was 147.5km from Daventry to Kettering, covering the climbs of Haselbech and Rockingham Hill. 

Let’s have a look at how the stage panned out and what we can identify in Lydia’s power file.  

Looking firstly at the stage as a whole as seen in fig 2. 

 

Duration: 3hrs 59 minutes

Average power: 197w

Normalized Power: 226w

Average Heart rate: 164 bpm

Max Heart Rate: 188bpm

 

Overall these numbers are well within Lydia’s capabilities however they don’t quite show the whole picture. Things didn’t quite go to plan on the road…

 

The stage started well, the first 10km were relatively uneventful and Lydia was riding well, 

Lydia is seen in figure 3, on the front in the first 10km of the stage riding. Her job today was to ensure that if any dangerous moves went early she was in them, being in a good position in the bunch is key so she rode attentively right at the front of the bunch. We can see her power output for this section on the race below in figure 4. 

You can see in figure 4 that during this section of the race there were a number of power spikes. These represent moments when Lydia sprinted to follow attacks, she had to produce between 600 and 700w to follow each attack. For the 17 minutes it took to cover the first 10km Lydia’s Normalized power was 94% of her FTP power. This identifies just how hard the start of a professional race is when you are following attacks. When you have a job to do there is no saving yourself for later in the race!

 

The race then went up the first Queen on the Mountains. This climb went up in stages but was in total 6.4km long and took the peloton 11mins 36s. This required Lydia to produce 4.44w/kg with an average HR of 169bpm, see figure 5.

Lydia summited the climb comfortably in the bunch. Unfortunately though this is where the day started to go downhill…

Lydia was involved in a small crash just after the first queen of the mountains but as is often the case in racing it affected the rest of her day. First of all, she had to chase to get back to the bunch. Anyone who has ever had to do this knows it isn’t easy.

It took Lydia just over 13 mins at 255w NP to get back to the bunch. This is a significant effort and represents 13 mins at FTP power. Significantly if we look at her power balance we can see that during the chase back her power isn’t equal between her left and right legs. Lydia has on average a 1% different between left and right legs (49.5% : 51.5%) however after he crash her power balance changes slightly to 48.2% : 51.8%. Speaking to Lydia after the race she explained that after her crash she didn’t feel she could produce much power and had pain in her lower back and left hip flexor.

 

Often on TV when we see a rider jump up and get back on their bike after a crash we think all is ok. However, there are often consequences that affect a rider for the rest of the race.

 

Lydia managed to get back to the bunch despite the pain in her lower back and hip however she returned to the peloton just before the second Queen of the Mountains. This was the hardest climb of the day and Lydia had to produce 5.5w/kg for just under 4 minutes to stay with a group over the top, figure 8. On this climb the bunch split in lots of smaller groups. 

This section of the race is where the winner on the day Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3 Pro Cycling) went away solo. It took roughly 40 mins for the race to regroup behind Niewiadoma after the second queen of the mountains. During this time Lydia averages 92% of her FTP power! Another big effort especially when suffering the effects of her crash and subsequent chase. Unfortunately during this period things didn’t get any better with Lydia’s back and hip and her power balance worsened with her left leg now producing 4% less power than her right!

With the group now back together behind Niewiadoma, Lydia was looking to help set her team mates up for the upcoming bunch sprint however the bad luck wasn’t over. After 123km there was yet another crash as the race entered a section of cross winds. Luckily this time Lydia didn’t come down but she was held up as the race split in groups yet again. 

Lydia finished the stage 8 mins down on the leader but the important thing is that she got through a very tough stage where luck wasn’t on her side. Sometimes in professional bike racing things don’t go to plan and you have to ensure you finish the stage and live to fight another day. Today was one of those days! Lydia will now work with the WNT cycling team staff overnight to try and address her injuries and be ready for Stage 2 in the morning!

 

Check in tomorrow to see the analysis of stage 2! 

This meant that Lydia had to chase yet again. She jumped behind her team car and tried to come back to the peloton but with her back and hip worsening it was decided in conjunction with her DS that she should she not push things further today and with there being no danger of her finishing outside the time limit Lydia rode the remainder of the stage at an easy tempo. 

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

Fig 2, Lydia Boylan's Power File for Stage 1 of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour 

Fig 3, Lydia Boylan in her Irish Champion Jersey at the head of the peloton (photo by OVO Energy Women's Tour)

Fig 4, Power output during the first 10km of the race, blue arrows show power spikes as a result of following attacks

Fig 5, Power Output on the first Queen of the Mountains climb - Haselbech

Fig 6, Not what a coach wants to see on the live ticker!! 

Fig 7, Lydia’s crash and chase back to the bunch – the gap in the file is where Lydia was stationary after the crash, the highlighted section represents her chase to get back on to the bunch

Fig 8, The 2nd Queen of the Mountains – Rockingham Hill (highlighted in blue) and the following chase to get back to the front group

Fig 9, The last 5km of the race, Lydia averaged 156w for the last 5km, however by this point in the stage the different in power between her legs was >5%