Power Analysis: Giro d’Italia, stages 4-5

TrainingPeaks takes a closer look at Rory Sutherland's power data from stages 4-5 at the Giro d'Italia

Australian Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff) continues to share his data with TrainingPeaks and VeloNews, most recently Stages 4 and 5 at the Giro d’Italia.

The Giro is known for its aggressive and gritty racing, and the first week certainly fulfilled that description. Lots of rain, technical routes, and mixed terrain made for an exciting week and some interesting time gaps.

However, Saxo-Tinkoff has been laying low, biding its time for team leader Rafal Majka to make his mark in the high mountain stages. Sutherland has been by his side, guiding him safely to the finish every day.

Stage 4: Policastro to Serra San Bruno, 246km

1. Enrico Battaglin, Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
2. Fabio Felline, Androni Giocattoli
3. Giovanni Visconti, Movistar
53. Rory Sutherland, Saxo-Tinkoff

See Sutherland’s Activity Viewer from stage 4.

Stage summary
254 Average Watts
3.6 w/kg
326 NP
124 Average Heart Rate
85 Average Cadence
357 TSS
5694 KJ
39.6 km/h Average Speed

During Stage 4, Sutherland and teammate Evgeny Petrov escorted Majka all the way to the top of the last climb, watching many riders fall off the relentless pace being set by the members of Sky. The final descent was wet and technical and resulted in several crashes, but Saxo-Tinkoff was able to get all its riders safely to across the line.

Sutherland hit his 30-minute Peak Power on the final climb of the day, where so many riders were dropped from the lead group. It took Sutherland 28:30 generating 430 watts (5.7 w/kg) to stay with the leaders, averaging 27 kph (17.1 mph) up the 12.7-kilometer (7.9-mile) climb.

Once he made it over the climb, the work was far from done though. In the final 6km (7 minutes of the stage) Sutherland punched it over 700 watts 7 times! He did all of this while averaging 343 watts (4.5 w/kg) and an average speed of 52 kph (32 mph)!

Stage 5: Cosenza to Matera, 203km

1. John Degenkolb, Argos-Shimano
2. Angel Vicioso, Katusha
3. Paul Martens, Blanco
100. Rory Sutherland, Saxo-Tinkoff

See Sutherland’s full power data from stage 5.

Stage summary
245 Average Watts
3.2 w/kg
119 bpm Average Heart Rate
84 rpm Average Cadence
4090 KJ
44 km/h Average Speed
243 Training Stress Score (TSS)*
312 Normalized Power (NP)**

*Training Stress Score (TSS) quantifies the workload performed by a rider based on the duration and intensity of the effort. A 1-hour, all-out time trial effort would result in 100 TSS points.

**Normalized Power provides a better measure of the true physiological demands of an effort. It’s an estimate of the power you could have maintained for the same physiological “cost” if your power output had been perfectly constant rather than variable.

The first 170km of the 203km stage were flat, but the two climbs at the end of the mixed with another day of wet, slippery roads made for a chaotic and fractured sprint to the line. Argos-Shimano’s John Degenkolb earned the victory.

Saxo-Tinkoff continued with its plan of conserving energy and manpower in the first week of the Giro until the last 8km of the race. At this point, the team set a fast, steady tempo in an attempt to keep the field together and give its sprinter Daniele Bennati a shot at the win. Unfortunately, Bennati fell victim to the crash in the final kilometer and was not able to contest the sprint.

With two climbs near the end of the stage and several teams determined to see a smaller sprint finish, the second half of the race was quite a bit harder than the first half. Especially painful was the blistering pace on the penultimate climb (Montescaglioso). Sutherland worked hard to maintain contact with the lead group, putting out an impressive 502 watts (6.6 w/kg) for 8:30 while watching many of the sprinters fall to the rear of the peloton.

Montescaglioso KOM (0:08:34, 3.2 km)
502 Average Watts
6.6 w/kg
258 KJ
19 TSS
511 NP
168 bpm Average Heart Rate
81 rpm Average Cadence

Compare Sutherland’s power data from the two halves of the stage below.

First Half (2:19, 98.4 km)
200 Average Watts
2.6 w/kg
109 bpm Average Heart Rate
82 rpm Average Cadence
270 m (885 ft) Elevation Gain
1672 KJ
81 TSS
255 NP

Second Half (2:20, 106.5 km)
288 Average Watts
3.8 w/kg
128 bpm Average Heart Rate
87 rpm Average Cadence
643 m (2110 ft) Elevation Gain
2411 KJ
151 TSS
347 NP

Editor’s note: Thanks to, we are looking at Saxo-Tinkoff rider Rory Sutherland’s power data from stages 4-5 of the Giro d’Italia. Today, Shawn Heidgen, a USA Cycling certified coach, former professional cyclist, and Education Specialist at TrainingPeaks, recaps Sutherland’s data from the three-week race. For more, follow Shawn on Twitter.