Spotted on Strava: Time to marvel at the numbers behind three Van der Poel wins

Mathieu van der Poel is back on track a little more than two weeks, but it seems as if the Dutchman from Alpecin-Fenix ​​has never been away. After his surprising return in Milan-Sanremo (he immediately finished third), the Coppi e Bartali, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Ronde van Vlaanderen followed. The loot: three wins! In the leader’s jersey looks at the numbers behind that hat-trick in this ‘Spotted on Strava’.

The fact that Van der Poel felt good towards his return in March can already be read from the figures that we looked at earlier in this section. It’s pretty bizarre how he got into top form in just a month, when you consider where he came from in January. In the direction of Milan-Sanremo, Van der Poel cycled very hard in Spain, only to immediately confirm that he was ready for the classics when he returned to Sanremo. Not touched a bike for five weeks due to a lingering back injury, but in the end it all came to an end.

Van der Poel tests his legs in Coppi e Bartali

After Milan-Sanremo, Van der Poel went to the Coppi e Bartali, an Italian stage race full of explosive walls and difficult courses. Ideal for making competition kilometers and to test the legs. MVDP chose day four to go for it, as only Van der Poel can do. In a very difficult stage he went solo in the attack, at 65 kilometers from the finish. He rode in one gulp to the leading group and then thinned things out.

Whoever picks up the analysis in his Strava upload and selects the last 65 kilometers of the ride, comes across an impressive piece of cycling. Van der Poel drove an average of 43.9 kilometers per hour in his own final, and that with the climb of the Vico four times (3.1 kilometers at 5.4 percent). It drove an average of 352 watts, with its PCS estimated weight of 75 kilograms an average of 4.69 watts per kilogram over 65 kilometers. We invite you to try it.

What made the day even better for Van der Poel was that the peloton finally caught him at seven kilometers from the finish. It was done, it seemed. The thinned-out suit flew to the finish, where they sprinted for the stage win. Who won? One Mathieu van der Poel. The leader of Alpecin-Fenix ​​hit a sprint at a maximum of 64.6 kilometers per hour and a maximum of 1,517 watts (!) from his legs. With that he surprised the others, who apparently should have been fresher.

The impressive 65 kilometers of Van der Poel in the Coppi e Bartali.

Applause for Mathieu in Dwars door Vlaanderen

After the Coppi e Bartali we got a happy and relieved Van der Poel in the media. His back felt really good, his legs were spinning like a charm and so he was in time for the classic spring. To explore the Flemish roads once, Van der Poel started midweeks in Dwars door Vlaanderen, the little brother of De Ronde, with 183.7 kilometers. But as is often the case, Dwars door Vlaanderen was an explosive and tough course.

Van der Poel already put his Alpecin men in the lead with more than ninety kilometers from the finish and from that moment on it did not stop. Final settlement at the finish? 187.52 registered kilometers for Van der Poel at 44.4 per hour on average. The Dutchman submitted an average weighted power of 357 watts over the whole day! This earned him the Strava-KOMs on the ‘Stooktestraat’ and the ‘Karmelberg’. On the first segment, Alpecin-Fenix ​​went full throttle, on the Karmelberg it was full final and Van der Poel and Tiesj Benoot eventually came in front with the two of them.

That it was explosive is apparent from the fact that Van der Poel had to go over 1,000 watts several times during the day to drive the final. Logically, Benoot was no match for him in the sprint-á-deux. Van der Poel reached a peak of 1,388 watts and was soon able to sit up and put his hands in the air. On behalf of Benoot, there was a heartfelt applause for the winner of the day.

Spotted on Strava: Time to marvel at the numbers behind three Van der Poel wins
A full day of racing in Dwars door Vlaanderen…

Everything comes together for Van der Poel in De Ronde

Dwars door Vlaanderen is fun, but could Van der Poel also do it in the Tour of Flanders? Without Wout van Aert, who is struggling with corona, he was put forward as the top favorite. Van der Poel more than lived up to that role, although he had a huge problem with Tadej Pogacar, who calmly drove the final on his debut. According to Van der Poel, the Slovenian was perhaps the strongest in the race and that is apparent from the figures of his rivals. Because pogi already fell in the opening phase and lost his power meter there, we have no Strava data on him.

Still, based on the performance of others, we know that Pogacar attacked the Oude Kwaremont after more than 220 kilometers as if it were his last. Stefan Küng is the new holder of the KOM in Strava. The Swiss steamed up the legendary cobblestone climb in 5 minutes and 4 seconds. The entire top ten of this segment consists of riders from last Sunday’s race. Pogacar would have been the new record holder with power meter without a doubt, as Van der Poel did it in 5 minutes and 5 seconds.

After the Paterberg, Pogacar also hit the Koppenberg hard. Only Van der Poel and Valentin Madouas could join. However, because Pogacar tried to release Van der Poel on every hill, Madouas was also quickly involved in the effort. That it went fast is apparent from the segment ‘Koppenberg – Steenbeekdries – Taaienberg’, through which Van der Poel thundered through in 13 minutes and 10 seconds; a record time in Strava. Wout van Aert did it in 2020 in 13.14 minutes. In the absolute final, Pogacar went all-in one more time on the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg. Van der Poel would admit afterwards that he was about to release, but that did not happen. On the Paterberg – the last climb of the day – Van der Poel had to negotiate an average of 649 watts (!) (8.65 watts per kilogram) over a good minute to keep Pogacar’s wheel.

The two had more than half a minute on pursuers Madouas and Dylan van Baarle and drove head over head to the finish for a long time, waiting for the sprint. Van der Poel was forced into the lead in the final kilometer by Pogacar, who, however, was outwitted by a poker game for experts. Van der Poel pushed the pace – as witnessed by the Strava analysis – to below 30 kilometers per hour, and then turned it on with a bang at a maximum of 1,406 watts, the moment Madouas and Van Baarle arrived. From 34 to 58 per hour in a split second. It gave Van der Poel the victory, also because Pogacar was closed in by the poker and finished fourth.

Spotted on Strava: Time to marvel at the numbers behind three Van der Poel wins
From surplace to full sprint in a split second.

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Bram van der Ploeg (Twitter: @BvdPloegg † e-mail: