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Power Analysis: Has Jumbo-Visma sent Tadej Pogačar a warning after Critérium du Dauphiné dominance?

A deep dive into the power numbers of Primož Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard, as well as Americans Brandon McNulty and Matteo Jorgenson.

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In this column, we look at the power numbers of Primož Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard, as well as Americans Brandon McNulty and Matteo Jorgenson at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

After winning the Critérium du Dauphiné this past weekend, Primož Roglič admitted that he was simply using the race as training. “Looking at my preparation, I didn’t really prepare for the Dauphiné,” he said. You wouldn’t have guessed that based on his results, which included a dominant GC win alongside his teammate, Jonas Vingegaard, who finished second.

Jumbo-Visma ripped the Dauphiné to shreds, and it was all in preparation for the Tour de France, which begins on July 1. While the GC win was a fantastic achievement, what really mattered was the performance of Jumbo-Visma, and how they might stack up against Tadej Pogačar in the Tour de France. The double Tour champion is racing the Tour of Slovenia this week, and so his form is still a mystery to his rivals.

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In the final two days of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Jumbo-Visma dominated back-to-back summit finishes, and broke climbing records along the way. Here, we are going to analyze each of Jumbo-Visma’s performances, and see if there is anything to glean as we inch closer and closer to the Tour de France. 

First up was Stage 7 of the Dauphiné, from  Saint-Chaffrey to Vaujany. The summit finish was only 5.8km at 7.2 percent, but that included a shallow final kilometer which averaged less than 5 percent. And there was another crux (or two) in the course, in the form of the hors categorie climbs: the Col du Galibier and the Col de la Croix de Fer. 

With all these climbs crammed into 135km, and the Col du Galibier beginning just 6km into the stage, the fight for the breakaway was going to be fierce. Carlos Verona – one of the best but most underrated domestiques in the world – infiltrated the breakaway in the opening kilometers, with one of the fastest efforts up the Col du Galibier.

Verona – Col du Galibier
Time: 55:33
Average Power: 373w (5.4w/kg)
Final 8km up to 2630m Elevation: 379w (5.5w/kg) for 23:18

The peloton wasn’t far behind the breakaway, which meant that Roglič, Vingegaard, and American Matteo Jorgenson had to do 5.1-5.2w/kg for nearly an hour, just to make it over the first climb of the day.

Next up was the Col de la Croix de Fer, a three-part climb whose hardest section came near the very top. Verona did his peak 20-minute power of the stage on this section, holding nearly 6w/kg up to over 2,000m elevation. And the pace wasn’t any easier behind, with Jorgenson holding over 400w for 20 minutes.

Jorgenson – Col de la Croix de Fer
Time: 19:49
Average Power: 408w (5.8w/kg)
Final 1.7km up to 2080m Elevation: 441w (6.3w/kg) for 4:50

This all goes to say that the peloton was heavily fatigued coming into the final climb of the day, the 5.8km summit finish to Vaujany. But that didn’t stop Jumbo-Visma from lighting up the climb after a series of attacks from their rivals. Vingegaard countered a move from Brandon McNulty and Ruben Guerreiro, and within a minute, there were only five riders left.

Roglič attacked off Ben O’Connor’s wheel to go solo with about 2km to go, and he was never to be seen again. Vingegaard also had plenty left in the tank, and he followed O’Connor’s wheel until the final 100m where the Dane came around O’Connor in the sprint. Verona had held on for the stage win, but Jumbo-Visma had dominated the GC field, putting up some impressive numbers on the climb to Vaujany.

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Was it enough to worry Tadej Pogačar? Probably not.

On the steepest section of the climb to Vaujany, Vingegaard and Roglič did about 6.7w/kg for 13 minutes, based on my calculations. Jorgenson did 6.2w/kg during this section of the course, but would finish one minute and 16 seconds behind Roglič, and 54 seconds behind Vingegaard.

Jorgenson – Steepest section of Vaujany
Time: 13:39
Average Power: 437w (6.2w/kg)
Final 2.7km: 448w (6.4w/kg) for 8:36

If we look at Pogačar’s past performances, we know that the Slovenian can knock out 6.8-7w/kg for 10-15 minutes on a climb. However, we have yet to see a performance like this in 2022, so the question still remains.

As for longer climbs, we have to look at Stage 8 of the Dauphiné, which was dominated even more by Jumbo-Visma.

The final stage of the Dauphiné featured a much longer summit finish on the Plateau de Solaison, which was 11.4km at an average of 8.9 percent. Wout Van Aert, resplendent in the green jersey of the points classification leader, drove the pace in the peloton and kept the breakaway on a short leash so that Jumbo-Visma could win the stage. They were that confident.

Again, the stage began with a climb out of the neutral zone, where Jorgenson pushed 5.9w/kg for over 20 minutes just to stay in the peloton. However, the middle portion of the stage was much easier, with Jorgenson averaging 3-4w/kg for the next two hours. The pace picked up again on the penultimate climb of the Col de la Colombière, whose 7 percent gradients climbed up to over 1,500m.

Jorgenson – Col de la Colombière
Time: 26:33
Average Power: 384w (5.5w/kg)
Final 4km: 398w (5.7w/kg) for 11:05

After a long descent and 12km valley, the peloton hit the final climb of the Dauphiné, the Plateau de Solaison. This time, there was no doubt who was in control, and it was Jumbo-Visma who drove the pace until there was no one else left. With about 5.6km to go, Vingegaard attacked with Roglič on his wheel, and that was that.

The Jumbo-Visma duo rode alone to the finish with Ben O’Connor 15-25 seconds behind, and everyone else even further down the mountain. Vingegaard looked to be taking it easy, whereas Roglič looked to be on his limit and hardly ever pulled. Nevertheless, it was a dominant performance from Vingegaard and Roglič who did ~6.3w/kg for 34 minutes on the Plateau de Solaison.

This time we have data from Brandon McNulty, who finished 11th on the stage, one minute and 45 seconds behind Vingegaard and Roglič. The American was looking good in the lead group, but fell off the pace a few kilometers before Vingegaard’s attack. In McNulty’s power file, we can see the exact moment that he got dropped, his power looking like it’s in ERG mode on the 10% grades.

McNulty – Plateau de Solaison
Time: 35:52
Average Power: 404w (5.9w/kg)
First 2.6km in lead group: 438w (6.4w/kg) for 8:47

And now the question must be asked: how does this compare to Tadej Pogačar?

Pogačar has done efforts like this in his career, that is, ~6.2w/kg for 30 minutes. The two-time Tour champion seems to be better at slightly shorter efforts, such as his 6.6w/kg for 24 minutes performance on the Peyresourde in 2020. However, his effort on the Plateau de Solaison is arguably Vingegaard’s best-ever climbing performance, which suggests that the Dane is improving at a rate of the unknown. Who knows how good he could be in peak form at the Tour de France.

Lastly, it is important to note that the conditions at this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné were especially hot, especially on Stage 8. Pogačar himself has been known to “struggle” in hot conditions, which may level the playing field come July in France.

***

Power Analysis data courtesy of Strava

Strava sauce extension

Riders:
Matteo Jorgenson
Carlos Verona
Brandon McNulty