Stage 9 would be another chance for the break to try their luck against the strength of the peloton. From the gun, attacks were coming thick and fast. Team MTN-Qhubeka had two riders in the break of the day, Jay Thomson and Daniel Teklehaimanot. The break’s advantage grew to over 8-minutes before the peloton decided to take charge knowing that the eventual stage winner stage, Ancona Gomez posed a serious threat to the overall GC.
“Today I made the big break with Jay,” says Teklahaimanot. “He helped me a lot in the break so that I could save energy and my legs for the final climbs. I was feeling good on the Cat 2 San Rafael climb, and thought I had a good chance of a top-10 finish. Unfortunately the 5.5km descent leading into the final climb disturbed my rhythm. I did my best on the final climb and finished in 31st place, +2:58 behind the stage winner. Overall I am very happy with my race today.”
Watch the last 10km of the race here
Average Power = 263W
Normalized Power (NP) = 304W
Average Cadence = 81rpm
Ave Speed = 39.9kph
Energy Expenditure = 4380kJ
Fig 1: Daniel Teklehaimanot Vuelta Espana Stg 9: Carboneras de Guadazon > Aramon Valdelinares
The breakaway group of 31 riders maintained a high speed (average 48kph) during the first 2:15 hours of racing. Their goal was to establish a time gap advantage that would position them for a stage win.
On the Cat 3 climb (Puerto de Cabigordo, 18km, ave grade 3.8%), they maintained a steady tempo pushing the time gap advantage to a maximum of 8:30min. Daniel’s average power on this climb was of 292W, similar to his NP of 304W. This data highlights the steady pacing approach taken by breakaway group as they worked together to extend their lead.
Fig 2: Category 2 Climb – Alto de San Rafael (11.5km, ave grade 4.2%)
On the Cat 2 climb (Alto de San Rafael, 11.5km, ave grade 4.2%) the break ended its alliance. Numerous attacks followed, and three riders (Ancona, Jungels, Moreno) pulled ahead. Daniel maintained his position in a group of roughly 20 pursuers. His SRM data confirms an average power of 337 W and NP 360W; the variation in power reflecting the accelerations, pace changes and attacks. The multiple 20-30 second, 450-550W accelerations are clearly shown in the graph above.
Fig 3: Category 1 Finish Climb – Aramon Valdelinares (8km, ave grade 6.6%)
With 6km to the summit finish, Ancona made his race winning move and rode clear of Jungels and Moreno. The remaining members of the breakaway focused on finishing off their days work ahead of the top-10 GC contenders who were rapidly advancing towards the finish.
Daniel thought that he may be able to achieve a top-10 finish, but the past 9 days of racing and his day in the break had taken it’s toll. His SRM data shows an average power of only 337W (NP 345W) on the final climb, well below his usual threshold climbing power. Ultimately the top-9 finishers on the day were athletes who had been in the day’s break.
“This data gives us insight into the demands of racing at a World Tour level, and what it takes to win a stage,” says Dr Carol Austin. “I am confident that Daniel has the talent to win under similar circumstances in the future.”
“Athletes build their form through year-on-year progressive training and race exposure, ” says Austin. “Due to visa and other issues Daniel only raced a total of 20 days (2,560km) in 2013, which set back his development. This year he has already had the opportunity to race 62 days/9,100km, in a program that has included multiple HC and World Tour events. Access to the field of play is fundamental. I am so grateful to the team behind-the–scenes team who take care of our athletes passport/visa requirements.”