In his first year of racing for Saxo-Tinkoff, Rory Sutherland’s first UCI WorldTour event wrapped up Sunday with the Col d’Éze time trial at Paris-Nice. Over the past several years, Sutherland has proven his mettle racing the North American circuit, capped by winning what some regard as the biggest day of bike racing in U.S. history — stage 6 of last year’s USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. Now begins the next challenge in his career.
Sutherland is focused on becoming a devoted teammate and asset to team leader Alberto Contador in the grand tours. Sutherland described his first foray into the WorldTour as, “crashes, wind, punctures, bike problems — typical Paris-Nice!”
Body Weight: 77 kg
Threshold Power: 430 watts
Threshold Heart Rate: 180 bpm
Paris-Nice peak values
Total Training Stress Score: 1879 TSS (average 268 TSS/day)
Hardest Stage: 365 TSS on Stage 6
Peak 5-minute: 506W (6.5 w/kg) on Stage 6
Peak 20-minute: 474W (6.1w/kg) on Stage 7
Peak 60-minute: 371W (4.8w/kg) on Stage 5
Peak 180-minute: 310W (4.0 w/kg) on Stage 5
Individual stage files on TrainingPeaks
Race data analysis
Sutherland was in a pure support role at Paris-Nice and was always searching for opportunities to help his team leader, in this case Nicolas Roche.
The final time trial up Col d’Éze is where Sutherland set his peak 20-minute power reading for the race of 474W (6.1 w/kg). The 9.6km climb averages 4.7 percent, but Sutherland managed to produce an average speed of 26 kph (16.2 mph). He finished the race in a respectable 40th place, 2:01 behind winner Richie Porte (Sky).
“I rode a standard road bike, no clip-on [bars],” Sutherland said. “After the fact [I think] I should have had some extensions.”
Pacing is a crucial aspect of time trialing and as we analyze Sutherland’s SRM data from the final stage, we can see just how good of a day he had. In fact, it would be very hard to improve his pacing strategy for this uphill event, as he very evenly paced the race. His first half average power was 471W, compared to his second half, when he averaged 474W — nearly identical.
The hardest stage
The hardest day of Paris-Nice, and quite possibly Sutherland’s hardest day of the year so far, was the 220km stage 6 from Manosque to Nice. Sutherland described this stage as “hard all day, lots of climbing, wet and some crashes on the descents.”
If you take a look at stage 6, you can see how Sutherland accumulated 365 TSS points in the nearly five-and-a-half-hour day in the saddle. The intensity was very high, with an overall intensity of nearly 80 percent of his threshold power (he had an Intensity Factor of 0.77 for the entire stage).
The hardest hour for Sutherland during Paris-Nice was recorded on stage 5, which traveled 176km from Châteauneuf du Pape to the mountaintop finish at La Montagne de Lure. During this 60-minute segment he averaged 371W (4.8 w/kg) for the final hour of racing up the last two climbs.
How do you compare?
If you have a power meter, it’s pretty easy to see just how you compare to some of the world’s best riders. How long can you hold 4.0 w/kg, Sutherland’s three-hour best during Paris-Nice? Say you are a 160-pound male rider. That would be approximately 290W — a good Cat. 4 rider could probably only hold that output for an hour!
Now try 6.0 w/kg — Sutherland’s Peak 20-Minute Power for the entire race. That would be approximately 435W for our 160-pound Cat. 4 rider. This rider could probably only hold 6 w/kg for one-to-three minutes.
Looking at these numbers, it is quite clear that Sutherland is much deserving of his spot on the start line in the WorldTour.
Sutherland’s next race is the two-day Critérium International, which has been won by legendary riders such as Jacques Antequil, Sean Kelly, and Bernard Hinault. How will he prepare?
“Rest this week,” Sutherland said. “It was a big, loaded week as you can see from the files, so I will have to play it day-by-day. But it should be at least four recovery days before slowly pushing it up again.”
Editor’s Note: Thanks to TrainingPeaks.com, we are looking at Saxo-Tinkoff rider Rory Sutherland’s power data from last week’s Paris-Nice. Today, Dirk Friel, the co-founder of TrainingPeaks, recaps Sutherland’s data from the eight-day race. For more, follow Dirk on Twitter.