How to win on the Champs-Elysees

Up to 1900 Watt of maximum power is what need Greipel, Kittel, Demare and the other Sprinters need to produce to win a Sprint.

How can this be done? How do those top athletes produce this raw power?

Gain an INSCYD into the energetics of winning cycling most prestigious sprint…


Thanks to being the secret weapon in the arsenal of high performance sports organizations in the past decade, INSCYD has exclusive access to data of worlds best sporting performances. André Greipel allowed us to share his data of his winning performance on the final stage of the Tour de France 2016.


The final 90s of the Tour de France

 

Lets have a closer look into Andrés muscle energetics during the 90s of his Tour de France: 

 

Sprint power by the numbers:

1. Before the sprint: 4min at 424 Watt, including several peaks up to 900 Watt

In the final 4min before the sprint André average 424 Watt. More important then the average value are the many spikes of power. For a few seconds, André had to push up to 920 Watt for fighting for position and accelerate out of corners.

2. The sprint: 14 sec – average; 1700 Watt maximum Power

A first push of 1000W can be seen before André turns off behind the man in front of him and starts his own sprint. André uses a double punch technique: his 1st  acceleration sees him reaching 1510 Watt. The 2nd punch follows 4 sec later and shows a massive 1700 Watt of peak power.


How is this done?  How can an endurance athlete produce such high power numbers?

 

Energetics before the sprint:

424 Watt is an effort that is covered mostly be aerobic energy supply. At 80kg of body weight and a VO2max of approx. 78 ml/min/kg, André aerobic capacity equals approx. 525 Watt.

Greipel Tour Power-1.png
 

The 424 Watt during the final 4 min before the sprint start, accounts for approx. 81 % of his aerobic capacity.

The frequently occurring spikes of high power are covered mostly by the use of creatine phosphate. Only a small amount of energy is covered by glycolysis and thereby lactate production.

 

During the first 4 sec of the sprint, the usage of creatine phosphate still contributes to 30% of the power output. However the energy supply from glycolysis rapidly increase, contributing to 60% of the power output by the end of the sprint.


Energetics of the Sprint

Greipel Tour Power-2.png

During the first 4 sec of the sprint, the usage of creatine phosphate still contributes to 30% of the power output. However the energy supply from glycolysis rapidly increase, contributing to 60% of the power output by the end of the sprint.

 

During the first 4 sec of the sprint, the usage of creatine phosphate still contributes to 30% of the power output. However the energy supply from glycolysis rapidly increase, contributing to 60% of the power output by the end of the sprint.

 

What it takes:

-       The high aerobic capacity of 525 Watt (which equals a VO2max of 78 ml/min/kg) it would not be possible to cover the required power output before the sprint by aerobic metabolism. Insufficient aerobic capacity would have meant that the production of those 424 W before the sprint would have involved the accumulation of lactate and therefore increasing fatigue.

-       60% power supply from glycolysis at 1700 Watt equals approx. 1000 Watt of energy production under the formation of lactate. This is possible with a comparable high VLamax of 0,8 – 0,9 mmol/l/s. Such a high glycolytic capacity (VLamax = maximum lactate production rate) can be seen only in sprinters.