Power records of 144 professional cyclists

Hey TR collective.
I came across this article last month and thought I’d share it here.
It makes for some very interesting reading.

I think it would make an excellent topic of discussion on a podcast. I’d love to hear the gangs @Jonathan @IvyAudrain @Nate_Pearson and Chad’s thoughts on it.

What are your thoughts on the study?
Regards, Paul


I am surprised by the P90 60 minute result. It might be the case that the person at the 90th percentile is much lower than the next person. E.g., the 90th quantile could be 5.76 w/kg and the 91st quantile might be at 6.2 w/kg. It is surprising nonetheless.


Cool study, thanks for the link! Its always fun to see how badly I suck compared to the best in the world.

Mostly kidding… I’m happy with my progress, but it is truly humbling to see the power these people can put out. Especially the 20 minute powers of 450watts… I couldn’t do that for 5 minutes, yet.

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haha very humbling!

75th percentile can avg 4 hours at 4.4 w/kg!! For my perspective, I normalize around 290w (3w/kg) over a 45 min CX race, and Im totally gassed for the rest of the day. Cant seem to figure out why the pro tour scouts havnt found me yet?..

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Haha. A different species!

These are record w/kg across all 144 riders? I suppose that’s interesting, but it might have been better to have split up the riders into climbers, TT specialists, sprinters, GC contenders, and so on. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to get this look into the pro peloton, and no one else has provided these kinds of data so that’s pretty damn nice.


The key part that is easy to overlook, is all the way at the end of the article:

Several recent studies have reported that power records in World Tour and Pro Tour riders seem to differ less when tested in a rested state. Whereas when fatigued, World Tour riders seem to perform increasingly better with higher MMP values than Pro Tour riders (2-5).

The top TR athletes might even get close to the power profiles of these world tour riders, but where the big difference comes is how those profiles look like after 2 or 3 hours of racing.


Really interesting to see the power that these guys area capable of producing. However, I think this is the most important statement in the whole study:

“Granted, there is far more to winning cycling races than high power outputs. Such as having a strong team around you. Being able to interpret and respond to race dynamics. Maneuvering in the peloton. Drafting and riding aerodynamically to conserve energy. Proper fueling. The list goes on.”

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Thanks for posting, dpw1972. I always enjoy looking at these types of power stats from pros.

One thing that’s interesting to me at least - the worst ‘sprinters’ are worse at sprinting than the worst 5 minute+ performers are at 5m+ durations. That is to say that for 5 seconds a P10 athlete is 24% behind a P90 athlete, but for 10 minutes the P10 athletes narrow the gap and just 15% behind.

Of course, it’s an aerobic sport and Marcel Kittel still had to get to the finish to uncork his sprint and so did lots of aerobic training and maybe this relationship is to be expected. But then he’d have been a P99 athlete for the short durations.

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And not just after 2 or 3 hours, after 2 or 3 weeks for the GC guys.

I saw an article a while back about a junior to WT pro, his coach was doing a “tired 20” which is basically an 20 minute test after 2000 or 3000kj of work - supposed to be like the end of a race etc… I will try and find it…

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Yes, this is called fatigue resistance, if you want to search for it.
Being able to do 2 or 3 weeks is then indeed another level.
The top GC riders have almost no drop in 20 min power after ~4000 kJ of Work. Which is what you need for putting time in the competition in a climb at the end of 4 or 5 hours racing.


I don’t think you can use this statement on its own without the following statement directly under that:

"However, neither of the above will suffice if you cannot produce the power to be in the right spot when the race is decided.

For that reason, the data of Valenzuela should be particularly useful information to aspiring riders in the junior and U23 categories (and their coaches). It sets the bar for what powers you need to be able to produce to stand a realistic chance of being competitive at World Tour level."

Bottom line, you need the power to be there. Does not matter how good you are in those other things if you don’t have the fitness to be in the right place at the right time.

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But without the race craft, your power is useless.

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Put a pro rider in any amateur race and he can win without the help of a team or any fancy strategies.
However in the pro peloton, the best riders are only a little bit better than the competition and then having a lot of power is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to win.


I read an article from Sagan’s coach about 3 years ago … can’t remember where I saw it. But the main metric he used to gauge Sagan’s fitness was the power he could produce after 2500 kjs.

Not sure if that was sprint power, or 5 minute power, etc.

That’s not necessarily true though. Yes, if Pog or Remco turned up they would breeze it. But for a lower level pro they can sometimes suffer from being seen as the strongest in the race and are just so marked that they can’t get the win.

There are also lots of examples of riders getting pro wins but who don’t have watts as high as some amateurs. They’re using their skills and race craft. A few UK riders that spring to mind are Adam Blythe, Alex Dowsett and Cav. They’re all strong, but I think there are amateurs who have “better” numbers.

In my mind it’s just that if you have higher watts then you’ve increased your odds. But you can’t neglect the other skills either or you’ll forever be outdone.

exactly. Its simply a necessity at that level, but no matter your skills and ability to work as a team, if you don’t have the power to back it up, you aren’t winning at this level.

I find it very hard to believe that any of the pros you mentioned would not easily win a 4 or 5 hour road race from amateur riders. Perhaps you are referring to how their performance compares doing 20 min all out efforts with fresh legs?


I think it depends who and where. An average WT pro would probably win a typical rolling road race in the UK fairly easily. But I also suspect an 85kg WT sprinter wouldn’t win (or even get near the top 10) in a big European mountain fondo like the Haute Route.

There are some amateurs with remarkable numbers, especially when fresh; just looking at some of the power numbers at high level TT events will tell you that. As someone alluded to earlier, it’s the ability to hit those numbers after 4 hours of hard racing, though, and even more so after 2 weeks of hard racing…

Here is an interesting comparison: How much better are pro cyclists? - watts per kg & power output | Cyclist

Looks like the top amateurs were still 10 min slower as the slowest WT sprinter that was taking it easy to stay within the time limit.