Lauren Stephens of TIBCO-SVB has continued her strong run of form with back-to-back TT victories in the opening races of the UCI Women’s America Tour. Stephens took a powerful victory in the Stage 3 time trial at the recent UCI Tour of the Gila and after attacking the race all week in search of the top step, would eventually finish with an impressive third overall. Stephens came into Gila as one of the big favourites for the TT after taking out the opening stage at the UCI Joe Martin Stage Race. Her opening buffer at Joe Martin would be enough to secure the overall classification with her TIBCO-SVB squad proving vital to her success. Stephens and the entire team dedicated themselves to protecting the pink jersey from start to finish against top national and international pro teams. For this reason, we chose to review the data from one of her loyal lieutenants, Australian Jo Hogan (The Healthy Cyclist), to get an insight into what it takes to support a race leader.
A Week in the life of a Domestique
Stage 1 Devils Dens TT
Hogan likely went for it on Stage 1 – a short uphill TT because although it was likely Stephens would be the team leader, it was not decided until the TT results were in. So, every rider that could possibly be a GC contender would be given the chance to go for it. Hogan finished 23rd with a time of 10:58, 1:05 behind teammate and stage winner Stephens. The team plan and goal was now clear, to defend Stephen’s lead at all costs. No longer would Hogan’s or any other teammates results matter, everyone would ride for Stephens.
Hogan’s TT stats
Distance: 2.6 miles
Avg Gradient: 4.7%
Avg Speed: 14.5 mph
Avg Power: 282 W (4.7 w/kg)
Avg Cadence: 89 rpm
Hogan’s summary stats paint a perfect picture of a race file from a domestique. There is still a significant amount of time spent in zone 1 (38 minutes) showing she knows how to hide in the pack and be efficient but also spent 114 minutes (nearly 2 hours!) in zones 2-7. The times spent in zones 2-6 is almost equally distributed as well showing a variety of hard, intense efforts protecting race leader Lauren Stephens. Finally, the 232 training load also indicates a hard day in the office for Hogan. This number is roughly equivalent to 2 hours and 20 minute at Threshold pace.
Stage 3 Road Race #2
Stage 3 was very similar to Hogan’s Stage 2 effort in terms of times spent in zones 1-7. However in terms of physiological toll, it was slightly less taxing. We can see this by comparing the training load (232 vs 217) and Intensity (95% vs 89%). But the important take away is the effort was again successful as Stephens held on to the lead for the third straight day.
Stage 4 Criterium
One more day of defending the pink jersey and Stephens overall lead of 13 seconds. Hogan’s data today is a great example of how a criterium should look for a racer covering threatening moves. Most of the time is spent “On the Gas” covering attacks, zone 6- Anaerobic Efforts or “Off the Gas” in zone 1-Recovery, catching her breath for the next round of threats. TIBCO was again successful on the stage, guiding Stephens safely through the criterium and on to the Overall Win.
As you can see through Hogan’s data racing is truly a team support, all for one and one for all. Thanks to Joanne Hogan for allowing us to use and publish her race data.