Tour of Southland: Stage 2 – Robbie Hucker (Barry Stewart Builders)

4 November 2015

Today we’ll see a different perspective of Stage 2 at the Tour of Southland as we analyse the ride of second place getter, Robbie Hucker (BSB).

The functionality of Today’s Plan to offer coaches the ability to dissect races is unparalleled. You might not be able to physically be there to shout instructions from the bottom of the Bluff, however analysing this data can make you feel as if you were there every pedal stroke of the way! The infamous Bluff climb is an uncompromising 2.3 km climb with unrelenting gradient and sections topping out at over 25%. All of this is presented to the riders after a long day fighting the treacherous cross-wind and rain of New Zealand’s Southern most coastline.

In today’s stage analysis we follow “Barry Stewart Builders” team rider Robbie Hucker and we will use the 3D analytics to break the race down into important sections in terms of power and time.

Image 1: Robbie Hucker's whole race displayed in 20 minute rows of power distribution.

Image 1: Robbie Hucker’s whole race displayed in 20 minute rows of power distribution.

This complete picture shows us the distribution of power over the whole race. Each coloured row represents a 20 min period of time, broken down into 10-watt increments. You can see that the initial 20 minutes had a large spread of power distribution associated with the break trying to establish. Note the time spent in the 500 – 800 watt range bridging across to moves and generally being active and in the race.

Image 2: The first 40 min of the race has been removed from this graph.

Image 2: The first 40 min of the race has been removed from this graph.

In the second chart we peel away a few layers of data and reveal that the break has gone and riders are rolling through with some solid 340 – 400 watt range and then when not pulling through maintaining 280 – 300 to hang in.

Image 3: After 1 hour 20 minutes with the move well established the pace has eased as the breakaway settles and maintains the gap to the peloton.

Image 3: After 1 hour 20 minutes with the move well established the pace has eased as the breakaway settles and maintains the gap to the peloton.

You can see in this chart that more time is being spent 220 – 280 watt range and the higher peaks have stopped as the peloton has eased the pace and the breakaway has been established. The breakaway will maintain the gap by observing the time board and lifting the pace if needed and easing when they can to save energy.

Image 4: After 2 hour 40 minutes things have started to happen in the breakaway. Fraser Gough has broken away with another rider and the pace has lifted in the group.

Image 4: After 2 hour 40 minutes things have started to happen in the breakaway. Fraser Gough has broken away with another rider and the pace has lifted in the group.

You can see here the power distribution starts to have a few spikes. This correlates with when Fraser Gough broke away with another rider and the peloton had to respond. It is quite clear to see more time in the 280 – 340 watt range again, but then the second little rise around the 370 – 400 watt range, suggesting that Robbie was getting involved in the chase of the breakaway. Was this necessary, was energy used here that might be used later in the stage?

Image 5: At 3 hours and 20 minutes the pace has dropped, the breakaway riders are in sight and its recovery time before the Bluff.

Image 5: At 3 hours and 20 minutes the pace has dropped, the breakaway riders are in sight and its recovery time before the Bluff.

Note the power has dropped considerably with most time spent around the 200 – 240 watt range. Robbie is starting to think about the win now and is missing some turns and getting ready for the climb. This section of the race is crucial to giving yourself the best chance at a podium. Conserving energy and positioning in the bunch are the two most critical factors here.

Image 6: Boom and they are on the Bluff. The final 20 min of the race.

Image 6: Boom and they are on the Bluff. The final 20 min of the race.

The pattern of power production changes dramatically as they hit the climb. Most of the climb is ridden between 440 – 510 watts with the attacks and efforts at 540 – 600 watts. In the end Robbie couldn’t quite go with Brad Evans final move with a few hundred meters to go. He ended up coming across the line in second place 8 seconds down. This represents around 5.9 watts/kg at the end of a tough day in the saddle. A superb effort and a comeback to form for Robbie after being sick earlier in the year.

That’s what it takes to race at the pointy end of the Tour of Southland, so, when you are out next racing your mates up a climb think of the Bluff and be glad you didn’t have to suffer its punishment. Stay tuned for more exclusive analysis from the Tour as the peloton continuous to wind its way around Southland.