Editor’s Note: Throughout the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, VeloNews.com is publishing and analyzing SRM power data from racers. TrainingPeaks is providing the race data to us, as well as making each interactive race file available to the public.
Saxo Bank Sungard’s Michael Morkov knew before Thursday’s stage that he’d be his team’s man for the fast, flat finish into Steamboat. He very nearly sealed the deal, bested only by Liquigas-Cannondale’s lighting-fast Elia Viviani.
The vast majority of Thursday’s stage was an easy ride for Morkov. He sat in the middle of the field taking in the scenery and saving his legs, averaging only 182 watts for the day. It was only in the final five miles of the stage that he moved up and began to position himself for the finish.
Following leadout man Andre Steensen, Morkov tucked in behind the Exergy and Liquigas’ leadout trains, allowing the two squads to chase back a breakaway in the final kilometers. Steensen kept his sprinter out of the wind until the last possible moment, leading out around the right side of the Liquigas train at 300 meters to go before swinging off to let Morkov pour on the gas. He just barely missed the win, saying after the stage that he “just died in the last 50 meters.”
Michael Morkov’s sprint data
- Total time: 14.5 seconds
- Max power: 1486 watts
- Peak 5 seconds: 1387 watts
- Average power: 1163 watts
- Average speed: 45.3mph
- Max speed: 46.29 mph
- Average cadence: 120rpm
Just to put himself in contention for the sprint, even with a good leadout man, Morkov averaged 604 watts (8.65 watts/kilogram) for the last minute of the race, and 826 watts for the last 30 seconds. This was after five leg-numbing minutes at 355 watts, or 5.1 w/kg.
Morkov averaged 1,163 watts for his full 300-meter (14.5 second) sprint, peaking at 1,486 watts. That’s a whopping 21.5 w/kg, a figure that is doubly impressive considering how fast Morkov was already going before he even began his sprint — 42.6 mph. “We have to take into account the incredible speed at which the sprint started as this will somewhat reduce his peak 1-second power and consequently makes Michael’s sprint even more impressive,” TrainingPeaks’ Hunter Allen said after the stage. That power jumped Morkov up to 46.29 mph.
The benchmark figure for sprinters is their peak 5-second power. Morkov hit 1,387 watts for his 5-second peak, or 20 w/kg. “This is a key confirmation of his world-class sprinting ability,” said Allen. But it was Morkov’s ability to ride hard for the five miles before the finish and fight for a position up front that allowed him to use that sprint at all.