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Vuelta a Espana

Power Analysis: Tadej Pogacar’s Vuelta a España, part 2

The revelation of the 2019 Vuelta a España, Tadej Pogačar won three stages and attacked his way onto the final podium. Today, we examine his power data from the second half of the race.

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Last week we analyzed the power data from Tadej Pogačar’s stunning ride in the first half of the Vuelta a España, which saw him lose time in some of the early stages, only to vault back into contention with a victory on stage 9. Today, we analyze the second half of Pogačar’s impressive ride, which saw him win another stage (stage 13) and vault onto the podium.

Later this week we will analyze Pogačar’s data from his final victory on stage 20.

Tadej Pogačar:
Height: 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight: 66 kg (145 lbs.)

Pogačar averaged 359 watts for the individual time trial Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Stage 10 – Jurançon › Pau (36.2 km ITT)

After a well-earned rest day, the peloton tackled a hilly and technical individual time trial finishing in Pau, not too dissimilar to the Tour de France. Despite his relative youth, Pogačar had shown himself to be an exceptional time trialist already in 2019, winning the Slovenian National Time Trial, as well as an impressive 5th place amongst the specialists at the Volta ao Algarve. It did, however, remain to be seen how the 20 year-old would before against some of the world’s best, ten days into his first Grand Tour.

Pogačar surpassed expectations and rode to 11th place on the stage, a minute and a half slower than stage winner Roglič, but more importantly taking significant chunks of time out of Quintana, López, and Valverde. Pogačar also paced his effort very well, maintaining an average power only a couple watts lower in the second half of his time trial compared to the first. He was even able to nudge up his average in the final 10 km, riding at an average of 367 W for this section.

Chemin Beauvallon (opening 4 km): 5:05
Avg Power: 414 W (6.27 W/kg)
Avg Speed: 22.4 kph (13.9 mph)
Avg Gradient: 8.0%
Avg Cadence: 96 rpm

Côté De L’Église (halfway through stage): 4:14
Avg Power: 387 W (5.87 W/kg)
Avg Speed: 28.5 kph (17.7mph)
Avg Gradient: 6.0%
Avg Cadence: 98 rpm

Full Stage: 48:39
Distance: 36.2 km (22.3 miles)
Elevation Gain: 529 m (1735 ft)
Avg Speed: 44.26 kph (27.5 mph)
Total Work: 1016 kJ
Avg Weighted Power: 359 W

Stage 12 may have been the hardest day of the entire Vuelta, based on the power analysis. Photo:Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Stage 12 – Circuito de Navarra › Bilbao (171.4 km)

This year’s Vuelta had no easy days, and stage 12 was no exception. In the final 50 km of the stage, Pogačar generated huge numbers just to stay with the ever-dwindling GC group on the hilly circuit around Bilbao. The effort on Alto de Arraiz was one of the strongest of Pogačar’s entire Vuelta; a 6.76 watts/kg effort coming after three and a half hours – and two weeks– of racing.

Alto de Urrutzimendi: 6:04
Avg Power: 430 W (6.52 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 12.4%
Avg Cadence: 83 rpm

Alto El Vivero: 12:14
Avg Power: 375 W (5.68 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 7.1%
Avg Cadence: 95 rpm

Alto de Arraiz: 7:22
Avg Power: 446 W (6.76 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 13.3%
Avg Cadence: 85 rpm

Full Stage: 3:51:19
Distance: 171.4 km (105.2 miles)
Elevation Gain: 2108 m (6915 ft)
Avg Speed: 43.9 kph (27.3 mph)
Total Work: 3006 kJ
Avg Weighted Power: 277 W

Pogačar attacked to take his second stage win of the race on the steep Los Machucos climb alongside Roglic. Photo: Luis Gomez – Pool/Getty Images

Stage 13 – Bilbao › Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega (166.4 km)

A day to remember in the history of Slovenian cycling: Pogačar and Roglič went 1-2 on the summit finish, with red jersey-wearer Roglič distancing his rivals further in the race for the GC. With a total of seven classified climbs on the day, the day required an enormous effort to drop the field on the final climb. Pogačar’s effort was quite incredible, and he finished with a Weighted Average Power of over 300 watts, and dropped everyone but Roglič on the final climb and nearly 4000 kJ of work.

Less than 20 km into the stage, on the Alto de la Escrita, Pogačar was already pushing 6+ W/kg. This was when the break of the day formed. When the break went, the peloton sat up for 100 kilometers. The pace ramped up again at around 35 km to go, on the Puerto de Fuente las Varas. Pogačar rode at around 5.5 W/kg for this section. On the Puerto de la Cruz de Usano, about 15 km from the bottom of the final climb, Pogačar pushed 400 W on the steep sections, fighting to maintain position amongst the GC men.

The crux of the course was the final climb. As the peloton shattered, Pogačar launched a serious attack, and eventually it was only Roglič who could chase. The two Slovenians collaborated all the way to the finish, as Pogačar crossed the line with a huge smile on his face.

Los Muchucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega: 22:01
Avg Power: 402 W (6.1 W/kg)
Max Power: 925 W
Avg Gradient: 10.1%
Avg Cadence: 88 rpm

Full Stage: 4:58:46
Distance: 166.4 km (102.5 miles)
Elevation Gain: 3937 m (12,919 ft)
Avg Speed: 36.9 kph (22.9 mph)
Total Work: 4166 kJ
Avg Weighted Power: 303 W

Pogačar followed wheels on stage 15 and marked his big rival, Lopez. Photo: Luis Gomez – Pool/Getty Images

Stage 15 – Tineo › Santuario del Acebo (154.4 km)

A mammoth days in the mountains. On the first climb of the day, the Puerto del Acebo, the break of the day went, but not until the peloton was well and truly over its top.

With the breakaway gone, the peloton sat up—kind of. The pace remained high on the second climb of the day, but not as explosive as it had been on the first. Pogačar rode the middle two climbs at a relatively comfortable tempo of around 4.5 W/kg, but it was on the final climb when the race, once again, blew up. After a long, flat run-in, the peloton hit the bottom of the Santuario del Acebo. Despite an incredible power output of 6.42 W/kg for the last 20+ minutes of the race, Pogačar couldn’t hang with the top GC men, and he conceded 44 seconds to both Roglič and Valverde.

Puerto del Acebo: 20:26
Avg Power: 398 W (6.03 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 8.1%
Avg Cadence: 94 rpm

Santuario del Acebo: 26:45
Avg Power: 424 W (6.42 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 9.5%
Avg Cadence: 91 rpm

Full Stage: 4:26:07
Distance: 154.4 km (95.5 miles)
Elevation Gain: 3620 m (11,875 ft)
Avg Speed: 34.6 kph (21.5 mph)
Total Work: 4119 kJ
Avg Weighted Power: 313 W

Astana’s attack on stage 16 drew out Pogačar, who shadowed Lopez on the long climb to Alto de La Cubilla. Phot: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Stage 16 – Pravia › Alto de La Cubilla. Lena (144.4 km)

Stage 16 was another big day in the mountains at this year’s Vuelta, with Jakob Fuglsang attacking to take his first grand tour stage victory. Behind, Pogačar showed both youthful enthusiasm and veteran-like poise as he attacked some of the best riders in the world. López put his team on the front for the final climb, and when he attacked it was Pogačar who went with him.

Puerto de San Lorenzo (steep part): 20:26
Avg Power: 421 W (6.38 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 10.9%
Avg Cadence: 88 rpm

Alto de La Cubilla. Lena: 41:42
Avg Power: 357 W (5.41 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 6.1%
Avg Cadence: 94 rpm

Attacks to finish: 8:34
Avg Power: 396 W (6.0 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 6.4%
Avg Cadence: 94 rpm

First attack: 0:39
Avg Power: 522 W
Max Power: 916 W

Full Stage: 4:06:57
Distance: 144.4 km (89.0 miles)
Elevation Gain: 3704 m (12,152 ft)
Avg Speed: 34.8 kph (21.6 mph)
Total Work: 3780 kJ
Avg Weighted Power: 299 W

The crosswinds caught out Roglic and Pogačar on stage 17, and both were forced to chase. Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Stage 17 – Aranda de Duero › Guadalajara (219.6 km)

The stage went down in history as the fastest race over 200 kilometers, due to a stiff tailwind and aggressive racing. With average speed of 50.63 kph, the race was won by Phillipe Gilbert, who won from the breakaway. Riders lined up with 54-tooth and 55-tooth chainrings, yet they were spun out at 75 kph on the flat. Nairo Quintana was able to infiltrate the breakaway, and by the end of the day, he had jumped all the way from 6th to 2nd in GC.

Pogačar’s power output was as chaotic as the race itself, with repeated spikes over 500 and 600 watts, and long, steady flat sections of 300 watts. His average power on the day wasn’t all that different from a mountain stage, and many of the climbs were ridden at a similar pace of 5 to 6+ W/kg. The peloton blew to pieces on the Alto de Jadraque where Movistar set a blistering pace. From there it was mostly downhill to the finish, and Pogačar and the GC group averaged 59.5 kph (37 mph) for the last 40 km of the stage.

Alto de Jadraque: 8:18
Avg Power: 396 W (6.01 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 5.0%
Avg Cadence: 96 rpm

Final 40 km: 40:36
Avg Power: 255 W
Avg Gradient: -0.7%
Avg Cadence: 100 rpm

Full Stage: 4:25:53
Distance: 219.6 km (136 miles)
Elevation Gain: 2483 m (8146 ft)
Avg Speed: 49.4 kph (30.7 mph)
Total Work: 4042 kJ
Avg Weighted Power: 284 W

Pogačar lacked his strength on stage 18 and fell off the podium after a series of attacks on the final climb. Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Stage 18 – Colmenar Viejo › Becerril de la Sierra (178.2 km)

Sergio Higuita, 22, took his maiden grand tour stage on Stage 18, and Pogačar showed signs of cracking on the final climb, the Puerto de Cotos. The day started off comfortably for Pogačar, who pushed less than 5 W/kg up the opening climb. After that, the peloton went on cruise control until the third climb of the day, the Puerto de la Morcuera. López attacked and bridgds across to the breakaway. By the base of the Puerto de Cotos, he was caught by a reduced peloton containing all the GC contenders.

Pogačar struggled up the final climb of the day, perhaps suffering from a hunger knock, as his power was much lower than in previous days. With still a couple kilometers to climb, Pogačar was dropped altogether. He pushed on, but by the time he crossed the finish line he had lost a minute to his main rivals and fallen to 5th in GC.

Puerto de la Morcuera: 21:15
Avg Power: 367 W (6.01 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 6.9%
Avg Cadence: 93 rpm

Puerto de Cotos (steep part): 23:17
Avg Power: 329 W (5.0 W/kg)
Avg Gradient: 5.5%
Avg Cadence: 91 rpm

Full Stage: 4:34:36
Distance: 178.2 km (109.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 3550 m (11,647 ft)
Avg Speed: 38.6 kph (24.0 mph)
Total Work: 3939 kJ
Avg Weighted Power: 286 W