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Colorado power: Rory Sutherland finishes off the USAPCC

Editor’s Note:Throughout the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, VeloNews.com is publishing and analyzing SRM power data from UnitedHealthcare’s general classification star Rory Sutherland. TrainingPeaks is providing the race data to us, as well as making Sutherland’s interactive race file available to the public.

DENVER, Colo. (VN) — Once again, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was lit up by an early climb, this time just 15 kilometers into the stage in the form of the 6km Lookout Mountain just outside Golden, Colorado. UnitedHealthcare’s Rory Sutherland stuck with the leaders over that climb, and smashed both his five- and 20-minute power records in the process.

2011 USAPCC power analysis: Rory Sutherland's stage 6 data
2011 USAPCC power analysis: Rory Sutherland's stage 6 data
Lookout Mountain starts at 5,900 feet and tops out at 7,380 feet, nearly 5,000 feet lower than the highest peaks seen earlier in the week. This lower altitude — along with the intensity of a final stage with both the KOM and leader’s jerseys still theoretically up for grabs — played a roll in the new power records.

Rory Sutherland’s stage 6 data

  • Total time: 2:28
  • KiloJoules: 2478
  • Average power: 279 watts
  • Max 1-minute power: 595 watts
  • Max 5-minute power: 483 watts
  • Max 20-minute power: 422 watts
  • Average heart rate: 147 bpm
  • Max heart rate: 191 bpm
  • Average speed: 28.4 mph

Sutherland held an impressive 483 watts (6.3 watts/kilogram) for the first five minutes of the climb up Lookout, the highest five-minute power so far this week. He then continued on to put out 422 watts (5.5 w/kg) to the summit, breaking his 20-minute record. This sent him over the top in a select group of less than twenty riders, right alongside the rest of the GC leaders.

In the fast run-in towards Denver, and then around the finish circuits, Sutherland stuck near the front to stay out of trouble. Once on the finish circuits, the field averaged 29.8 mph and he put out 343 watts for 50 minutes.

In the final four minutes of Sunday’s stage, as Sutherland’s UnitedHealthcare squad and stage winner Daniel Oss’ Liquigas team each hit the front to set up their leadouts, the pace of the field averaged a blistering 32.4 mph. Fighting to maintain his position up front, Sutherland put out 493 watts (5.8 w/kg) for four minutes. In the last minute of the race, Sutherland put out an incredible 595 watts, breaking his own 60-second power record. He even threw down a sprint at the end, holding 1,106 watts for five seconds in the finale — good enough for eighth on the day. Not too shabby for a GC guy.

TrainingPeaks’ Hunter Allen was thoroughly impressed with Sutherland’s effort on the final stage. “There are few riders in the world that can ride so well at this elevation day in and day out,” he said after the stage. “5.5 w/kg up Lookout Mountain and then a top-10 finish in the sprint shows how much of an all-rounder Rory has become.”
Related: All USAPCC power analysis articles

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