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Strava stats: what it takes to win a Classic

Michal Kwiatkowski and Greg van Avermaet share race-winning Classics rides on Strava

Greg van Avermaet and Michal Kwiatkowski are two of the form men in the peloton, winning five WorldTour Classics between them already this season.

And luckily for us, the Olympic champion and former world champion are both avid users of Strava too – offering a great insight into what it takes to win some of the biggest one-day races on the calendar.

Van Avermaet added Gent-Wevelgem and E3 Harelbeke to his palmares at the weekend, following victory at the Omloop Het Niewsblad earlier in the year, while Team Sky’s Kwiatkowski sealed an Italian double with wins at Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo.

Greg van Avermaet has shared his three Classics-winning rides to Strava (pic: Strava)

So, what does it take to win a Classic? The pros are normally pretty guarded with their power data – of those rides, while all are on Strava, it is only Kwiatkowski’s Milan-San Remo which is accompanied by power and heart rate data.

But from that we can see the incredible numbers the Pole put out at the season’s first – and longest – Monument.

Kwiatkowski shared his power data from Milan-San Remo, which shows a jaw-dropping 536-watt average for five minutes and 47 seconds on the Poggio

On the Poggio, for example, where Kwiatkowski followed Peter Sagan’s attack as the race-winning move formed, the Team Sky man averaged a jaw-dropping 536 watts for five minutes and 47 seconds, according to Strava.

His average speed of 37.6km/h gave him the Strava KOM title, shaving 15 seconds off the time Vincenzo Nibali set the previous year.

Of the Strava users in the peloton at Milan-San Remo, the next fastest was actually Van Avermaet, averaging 36.9km/h to post a time of 5:54, while Philippe Gilbert – who scaled the climb in 5.56 – shared his power data to show an average power output of 436 watts, highlighting the difference between attacking and riding in the bunch.

Kwiatkowski’s weighted average power for the ride is estimated by Strava to be 231 watts, with an average heart rate recorded at 124bpm during his seven-and-a-half hours in the saddle.

Kwiatkowski has received more than 15,000 Kudos for his Monument-winning ride (pic – LaPresse-RCS Sport)

For the final sprint on the Via Roma, where Kwiatkowski outsprinted Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe, he averaged 831 watts for 17 seconds with an average cadence of 108rpm, posting a speed of 60.8km/h.

That actually pales into insignificance compared to the speed in the peloton, however – again highlighting the difference between the bunch and the breakaway – as Arnaud Demare and many others recorded an average speed of 64.6km/h for the sprint.

Greg van Avermaet has enjoyed a stunning start to the year (Pic: Sirotti)

Where Milan-San Remo is traditionally viewed as a sprinter’s race – despite the breakaway succeeding this time out – E3 Harelbeke is all about the cobbled climbs.

And while Van Avermaet’s Strava upload only includes the bare minimum of data, his breakaway companion Oliver Naesen has shared his power data.

On the Taaienberg, where Philippe Gilbert dropped the hammer, Naesen and Van Avermaet, along with several other leading riders, clung on to his back wheel in the front group.

Oliver Naesen, Greg van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert attacked on Oude Kwaremont. Naesen’s Strava upload includes power data, and shows a 435-watt average output for the cobbled climb (pic: Strava)

Naesen averaged 437 watts on the 1.4km ascent, as he posted a time of 2:41 – five seconds slower than Van Avermaet.

It was on the Oude Kwaremont where all three blasted clear of the leading group – Naesen’s power output touching 669 watts on the full climb and averaging 435 watts for just over five-and-a-half minutes.

For the full ride, Naesen recorded a weighted average power of 322 watts, and an average cadence of 88rpm.

Race-winning Classics rides on Strava

Michal Kwiatkowski: Strade Bianche

Michal Kwiatkowski: Milan-San Remo

Greg van Avermaet: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Greg van Avermaet: E3 Harelbeke

Greg van Avermaet: Gent-Wevelgem

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