“Shut Up Legs”: Analysis of Jens Voigt’s Winning File, Stage 4 of the USA Pro Challenge
Editor’s Note: Hunter Allen, one of the sport’s foremost experts in training with power, is the author of ”Training and Racing with a Power Meter”, the co-founder of TrainingPeaks WKO+ software and the founder of Peaks Coaching Group. Allen will join us throughout the USA Pro Challenge to look at the power numbers the sport’s top riders are laying down in Colorado.
Stage 4: Aspen-Beaver Creek, 97.2 miles
1. Jens Voigt (Ger), RadioShack-Nissan, 3:54:00
2. Andreas Klöden (Ger), RadioShack-Nissan, at 2:58
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA), BMC Racing Team, s.t.
8. Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA), Bontrager-Livestrong, s.t.
17. Lucas Euser (USA) SpiderTech-C10, at 3:03
Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) was the man of the day. One of the most popular riders with U.S. fans, Voigt powered away from his breakaway companions up Independence Pass to ride away from the entire peloton and solo to victory. What did it take? How many watts can he really do? Could you ever compare to the amazing Jens “Shut up Legs” Voigt? Voigt was gracious enough to provide us his SRM data, giving us the rare chance to review a winning rider’s power file.
For the entire stage — 3 hours and 54 minutes — Voigt averaged 328W (4.25 w/kg) Normalized Power. He burned 4,219 kilojoules, which equates to roughly 4,600 calories — the same as eating 19 hot dogs. He created 305 TSS points, which is the equivalent training stress of riding for three hours at your threshold power. Finally, he averaged 24 mph over the stage, during which he climbed more than 6,500 feet.
On Independence Pass alone, he averaged 370W (4.8w/kg) for 52:25, and dropped his breakaway companions with sustained hard efforts at 390W (5.0 w/kg). On the descent of Independence Pass, he averaged 36.2 mph, hit a max speed of 48.8 mph and averaged 266W — while riding downhill.
Once on the flat, Voigt pounded out a hard tempo between 300W to 320W, averaging 21.5 mph. Remember, he was riding between 9,000 and 10,000 feet of elevation for much of the way to the finish! Voigt’s functional threshold power (FTP) at sea level is around 420-440W, so adjusting 12 percent off for the elevation, I’ve estimated Voigt’s FTP at 370W for this high elevation race.
The sustained power output on the flats is what got Voigt the win. His ability to tap out a strong rhythm for nearly two and half hours on his own made the difference. He created the gap to the peloton on the climb, but maintained it in the two and half hours after that to the finish. Think about this for a moment. It means Voigt basically rode as fast as the entire peloton, with riders taking turns at the front and resting in the draft — and he did it all by himself, for two and a half hours!
On the final 10-minute climb to the finish line in Beaver Creek, Voigt kept the pressure on and averaged 342W. In the last minute and half, when he looked like he was riding easy savoring the win, he was still putting out 335W! An incredible win, by an incredible rider.
Now let’s take a look at what Lucas Euser (SpiderTech-C10) and “Sheriff” Joe Dombrowski (Bontrager-Livestrong) did in this stage. Euser rode surprisingly hard in the first 24 minutes up Independence Pass at 293W (5.0 w/kg), which means he was at his threshold power (adjusted for elevation) for much of this entire time. This was a hard start to the stage for the peloton and the breakaway.
After this, the pace eased off quite a bit, and his average power for the entire 1:02 climb was 264W. From the bottom of Independence Pass to the finish, the rest of the stage was pretty casual, and Euser averaged 228W normalized power for more than two hours, which is solidly in his adjusted endurance zone. In other words, the rest of the stage was a good endurance ride for him.
At least, until the final climb up to Beaver Creek. In the last 2.8 miles things went ballistic again, and Euser rode at his VO2-max pace, averaging 330w (5.6w/kg), staying with the lead riders, and finishing in a fine 17th place, five seconds behind the second place rider, Andreas Klöden.
Dombrowksi had a very similar power file. In those super hard first 24 minutes of Independence Pass, he averaged 275W (4.4 w/kg), showing again how efficient he is in climbing up these big mountain passes.
The middle section of the race was casual for Joe and he rode well, hanging tight in the peloton without putting out too much energy. He averaged exactly the same wattage as Euser, at 228W normalized. In the final climb to the finish, Dombrowski was also at his VO2-max pace, and rode right at the front of the pack averaging 362W (5.7w/kg) and finishing in 8th place in the same time as runner-up Klöden. Riding right at the front allowed Dombrowski to move 5 seconds ahead of the runner-up in the best-young-rider competition, and it also moved him up to sixth place overall in the race.
Clearly, the story of the day is Jens Voigt’s incredible power output over the entire stage. He is a legend of the sport, and his ability to create power definitely earns him the monikers “King of Pain” and “hardman.”
Next time you’re in the pain cave and wondering whether you can keeping cranking out those watts, just remember Voigt’s epic performance during Thursday’s stage, and his fighting words: “Shut up, legs!”
Editor’s Note: For more USA Pro Challenge race files and analysis visit trainingpeaks.com/usapcc