Pogacar power after 6000kj

How is this physiologically possible? Does Pog have an insanely high fat utilization, or can he absorb at 1000 calories per hour? How can a human being have glycogen to burn after 6000 kj, to say nothing of this rate of burn?

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Crazy metabolic fitness

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Bigger ftp means more grams of fat burned

Riding at ~1000Kj’s per hour is ~300w, which is Z2 for him. And while you are burning glycogen riding in Z2, the majority of the work is being fueled by fat (which is essentially unlimited). Even if 1/3 of the work is being fueled by glycogen (very doubtful, even at altitude), he could absolutely eat enough to keep up with that amount of burn. There were certainly some hard efforts well above 300w early in the race that tapped deeper into glycogen stores, but he still must have been keeping up by fueling well.

All that said, it’s not as simple as just having available glycogen on board. Having the fitness/physiology to tap into that after putting 5000-6000Kj’s through your legs is impressive.

I recently listened to a podcast that talks about how ATP is produced (ATP basically being the fuel that produces work). They do a nice job of stepping through the differences between producing ATP via sugar vs. fat, but in a very simplified fashion. Even with the dumbed down version, my biggest take away was that there are a lot of moving parts that have to line up before fat becomes ATP (again, not as simple as just having the glucose on board).


Let me take a shot at this…


I dont know…a dominate athlete that won 7 TDF’s comes to mind…got to wonder with his dominance if they just havent found a test to catch what he is doing yet.


I can’t tell you how much I hope this is the case.

I’d rather believe he’s one of the all time greats. This guy wins all kinds of different races, it’s superhuman performance!


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Nice analysis in the article. Adds stats to what we already perceive to be an incredible performance.

As others have indicated the pure fuel/output maths is not such a surprise, I would suggest the apparent lack of fatigue, the enduring ability to push so hard at that stage, is the most remarkable component.

It’s a shame that with Vingegaard out we have little competition for him this year.

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I think Lance was stronger to be honest, Pog actually looks like he is trying…

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This is not quite right.

CHO oxidation at subthreshold intensities / sub LT1 intensities is not nonzero, nor is it even as low as 1/3. There is an inflection and crossover point, but you’re still talking a significant amount of glycogen being burnt at 300w for someone like tadej.

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He’s not that dominant - Visma managed to beat him fairly well the last 2 Tours and were the dominant force across all the Grand Tours last year. So are Vingegaard, Rog and Kuss also on the same secret sauce? Wout van Aert? If so then presumably Bora now also have it with Rog having moved there. And all the other teams who have signed key UAE and Visma riders or staff in the last 3-4 years since those 2 became the top GT teams.


What makes you say he looks like he is trying? I don’t think I can recall him showing anything on his face. When he dropped the rest of the GC guys and when he rode away from the guy in the front, it was nothing to him.

And he was in his large chain ring doing it.

Yeah, I was throwing out 1/3 as a ballpark, but don’t really know. Based on the performance, it seems clear he wasn’t in a significant glycogen deficit when he attacked, so what percentage of fuel are you saying is from glycogen and how are you determining that? I figure his FTP must be 425ish (again, just a guess), which would put 300w around 70% of his FTP. That seems like pretty easy spinning to me from a percentage standpoint, but maybe it’s different when the starting number is so big.

Even as 50+ amateur, I’ve done ~70% of FTP (NP) for 12+ hours before. Yeah, I had plenty of fatigue in the legs at that point, but didn’t feel glycogen depleted and still had matches to burn. With that kind of duration, I feel like my fueling must have been keeping up pretty well with what I was burning (or I would have bonked at some point). After 5 hours at .7 IF, I’m still pretty fresh, so I assume glycogen is still quite full and I can’t be running much of a deficit. With Tade’s physiology and training, I would expect 5 hours at .7 IF is basically a warm up.

I’m not sure IF is as valuable as absolute terms here.

Why not? I think it’s hard (as amateurs) for us to understand how easy 300w is for strong pro. The pros at unbound will significantly exceed 300w NP for over 10 hours and many of those guys would not make the pointy end at the world tour. Whether you want to say 300w or .7 IF, either of those are Z2 efforts for the pros and not even high Z2. I get that there was likely lots of surging and big efforts within that first 5 hours that would draw a lot of glycogen, but it couldn’t have been that hard if they only ended up around 300w over that time. Hell, I did a gravel race recently where the 3rd place (amateur) did about 340w NP for 5.5 hours (a big dude, but still). 300w is basically soft pedaling if you are a big engine in the world tour. It’s a lot of Kj’s, but the climging leading up to the finishing effort was likely an easy effort for him.

Some of us, as LARP’ers, cannot fathom how huge the difference is between us and them. Cycling, with power meters and data driven analysis available to casuals, produces a smaller chasm to cross over. As in, you think you’re 72% of the way there if you have 72% of FTP (not saying this is the OP or anyone else on this board).

We all have one of those friends who says things like “if my parents would have got me into X earlier, I’d be pro” or “if I had unlimited time to train, I’d be raising my arms in solo victory on the Galibier”. No, no you wouldn’t.

I’ve probably mentioned before but I lucked into playing some pickup basketball with a HOF Top 50 NBA’er…during his prime. This player was not known to be the quickest or fastest in the NBA. But how quick, fast, in control, and smooth he was in person felt different. To make no mention of watching him at such a close proximity, like watching a different species almost…most pro’s are different folks all-around.

I’m not sure what it’s called but there’s something else in them other than what’s on the computers. Maybe it’s drugs…but even then…there’s still something more there. Something most people don’t have, which is the reason I used to think people watched sports for, to see the highest levels of performance in an activity.

Do fans of watching pro cycling actually like to watch it? Do they enjoy the spectacle of the events? Or is it all clinical cynical hate watching? I’m guessing NFL guy doesn’t have the reflexive tic that cycling fans do when watching great performances. NFL folks just grab a beer, play their stupid fantasy foosball, and yell at the TV during fall and winter weekends. Some soap opera fan bases appear to enjoy their stuff more than others.

I do, yes.

It’s not a fun finish when someone waltzes through the field at the end, making a mockery of everyone else’s efforts. Every day. For three weeks.

Once at the culmination of a GT, maybe twice, sure.

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There’s a great Brian Scalabrine quote. “I’m closer to Lebron than you are to me”