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Van der Poel uncorked a 20-second, 1000-watt attack to drop world champion Julian Alaphilippe on the Santa Catarina climb before soloing to the line Saturday. At the peak of that winning kick, van der Poel cranked out a staggering 1,362 watts.
It was an effort that not only won “MvdP” the race, but also bagged him the equally prestigious KoM on the segment, topping the likes of Michal Kwiatkowski and Greg van Avermaet on the leaderboard.
That’s not all it took for van der Poel to drop a stellar final group of seven in the dirt of Tuscany this weekend, however.
Just 12km before his 1,300w explosion on the climb to Siena, van der Poel had launched his first haymaker of the race, dropping a 60-second, 738-watt acceleration that left Tom Pidcock, Tadej Pogačar, and Wout van Aert swinging at thin air.
“I just didn’t really have the legs to go any faster [when van der Poel attacked], to be honest,” Pidcock said afterward.
Oh, and this is all part of a ride nearing five hours pedaling at a normalized power of 389w. For 75kg van der Poel, that’s 5.19w/kg.
The race came with a whirlwind of anticipation, a veritable showdown between some of the greats of modern one-day racing. And the peloton duly gave the race the sizzle it deserved. As the lead group thinned down and the intensity increased through the final flurry of five gravel sectors, van der Poel turned over a normalized power of 439w – 5.85w/kg.
“In this race, the strongest always wins, and that was Mathieu today,” van Aert said after finishing fourth. “His [van der Poel’s] acceleration on that last gravel sector said enough.”
Van Aert, Alaphilippe and Co. now have just under two weeks to figure out what to do to stop MvdP crushing it at Milano-Sanremo. Good luck to them.
Mathieu van der Poel at Strade Bianche:
- Distance: 186.42km
- Time: 4:45:19
- Elevation: 3,342m
- Max power: 1,362w (18w/kg)
- Normalized Power: 389w (5.19w/kg)