Santos Tour Down Under: Stage 4 – Timing is everything

22 January 2016

Stage 4 of the Santos Tour Down Under was a day when a break could possibly be let go and get up the road. With 3 hard days of racing under the rider’s belts, a small group containing riders who might have already lost a little time on GC could possibly be allowed to escape.

Strategically, with sprint points available at 27.6 km, Orica were not going to allow any moves to go early, so the initial pace up Norton summit was… let’s say a little solid! Pat Shaw and Sean Lake from UniSA were both tasked with trying to get in the break on Stage 4, but with such a tempo being ridden on the front, the riders first had to hang on and make it over Norton Summit. We’re using a range of graphical tools from Today’s Plan to analyse data from Stage 4.

The first graph in this analysis is the ride file from Pat Shaw. The stage has been broken down into the main parts from Pat’s perspective and with the use of a few more of the fantastic analysis tools within Today’s Plan, we will again look at how the opportunistic Pat Shaw made the main break of the day, on a day when many tried and failed.

Ride graph Pat Shaw

Power distribution chart & power cadence chart

In these next two charts, we look at Pat’s power distribution and power/cadence scatter graph. These charts look at the time spent at each power output (below) and also the relationship between cadence and power.

Power/cadence chart

In this chart each point represents a data point. You can see that Pat maintained a relatively tight spread of cadence and power with just a few outlying data points when the attacks and efforts were made. This is a normal pattern for a rider holding a steady power output.

Power v cadence Pat Shaw

In the next set of charts we can see the time spent in each power zone as well as Pat’s right/left power balance derived from his Pioneer power meter. You can see that Pat spent a large amount of time at or above threshold. This shows that to ride at this level, one of the limiting factors is the ability to repeatedly hit efforts around VO2 and Anaerobic intensity and not just ride at a steady tempo or threshold pace.

Power balance and zones Pat Shaw

In the last chart we are looking at Pat’s peak power curve. Today’s ride (maroon power curve) by Pat was impressive and you can see that he hit either PB or very close to PB powers from 6 minutes to 30 minutes all this after 3 hard days of racing!

Peak power Pat Shaw

In the end the break was caught, but Pat Shaw in his first TDU showed why he had earned his spot in the UniSA team. He rode strongly, proudly flying the Green and Gold National colours in the break!