Can anyone tell me the ballpark range for the IF of a decisive stage or a one-day race of about four to six hours in length?
This! Also assumes your ftp is set correctly.
4-6 hrs, I’d be targeting .72-.73ish
Funny, this does seem to align more or less with the few IFs I can find for tour stages…
Considering the ride I did just yesterday was .72 IF for five hours (but with lots of breaks), I wonder whether racing a tour stage isn’t always actually that hard (relatively speaking) or if my last ramp test simply knocked my FTP down below where it actually should be (possible, considering I lost 23 watts).
I did a 7.5h ride this weekend with an IF of 0.74. Didn’t feel like a race at all.
For me 0.82 and up for rides 5h+ would be considered race tempo.
Maybe it depends rather on your personal power curve than FTP? Especially if FTP is approximation from ramp test?
I can barely keep 1.05IF for 20min (and more often actually fail even). Same time, 5-6hr in low Z3 is quite ok.
0.85 for 6:09:33 in my A event a few years ago. That’s for the Fred Whitton sportive which features a lot of steep (between 10% and 33%) punchy climbs so your forced over FTP for minutes at a time and then riding tempo to the next. Rinse and repeat. Would suggest that IF reflects the variability of the course and the group ridden with as well as the characteristics of the rider.
It’s not that hard, they need to back it up day after day so they can’t empty the tank over 5+ hours. The highest IF you’ll see is likely for guys who get away early in a small break and spend most of the stage out of the bunch. They’ll be doing something pretty close to the max effort they’re capable of over the whole stage, but then will typically need to go hide in the peloton for a few days afterwards to recover from that effort. For everybody else, much of the stage is spent sitting in the bunch which on the flats will be a pretty easy intensity, the GC guys will only be going hard on climbs or if they get a gap on their rivals, unless they find themselves out of position and out of team-mates and have to burn matches.
One day races are harder as they don’t have to worry about the next day. Though even then there are races like Milan San Remo where nothing much happens for the first half of the race until some climbs start. Something like Tour of Flanders is probably going to throw up the craziest power numbers - seems to be almost constant punchy climbs and cobbles so very little time just spinning along in the bunch.
Ironman pros typically average about 0.8IF in the bike leg and are obviously holding back for the run. So I’d guess cycling pros could go significantly above that if they were going hard throughout a race - certainly 0.85, maybe close to 0.9 if they were out in a small break all day?
Matt Hayman did 0.90 for his Paris Robaix win.
Surely that depends on how the race goes, and what you do in it? A sprinter sitting in until the finish will have a very different IF than someone who’s spend 4 hours in a small break.
Also on the terrain, if it’s hilly, you’ll need to do more work, regardless of sitting in or not.
I’d guess in general IF is probably lower than you’d think, because a lot of sitting in a group can be done at low power.
That’s why I as asking for a ballpark range; ideally a number of ranges for different scenarios.
E.g. a sprinter in the grupetto on a mountain stage, a race-winning effort, a GC leader being pulled by super domestiques.
There might not be enough pros whose post their NP and IF to even make a ballpark estimate, though.