Powerless Pogacar

First, France Television just told us that the yellow Colnago below travelled overnight from Cambiago, Italy, meaning they had one ready but probably didn’t think they’d need to use it, just like most other people.

That’s Ernesto’s ‘ecstatic’ look

As you may know, I own an Ernesto-made Colnago and I had just assumed that they would have had other TDF winners in the past, but apparently Pog is the first, if you don’t count Eddy Merckx’s rebranded Colnagos in the early 70s. This must be a proud day for Maestro Colnago.

Back to yesterday’s stunning upset on La Planche des Belles Filles, Pogacar chose (I suppose) to ride his climbing bike without power meter, heart rate monitor or bike computer. Think about the last time you rode even without a computer and how naked and vulnerable you felt. Wasn’t he thinking about Strava, for goodness sake?! This alone is impressive.

Photo: cyclingnews.com

I could be reading all sorts of things into this, but to me this also means that Pog – at the very young age of 21 don’t forget – is totally in tune with his body and must do plenty of training without counting on his ‘numbers’. I just can’t imagine someone training exclusively on watts to be able to just throw it all away for the most important hour of his athletic life. I could very well be completely wrong, but he’s got me intrigued.

11 thoughts on “Powerless Pogacar

  1. Those guys are so in tune they could probably tell you within 10 or so watts what they’re riding at. I guess he dumped it all to save weight, plus it’s hard to read the head unit when you’re eyes are blurred during a monster TdF winning effort!!!

    • I’d guess it’s not weight, since you’d assume that his climbing bike is already at the UCI limit with all the gadgets on it, but I could be wrong there. I’d be interested to know 1) what was his thinking, and 2) is this something completely unusual, or do other riders chuck their power meters from time to time.

  2. I bet tempocyclist is correct about being within 10 watts. My take is he did not want to be constrained by numbers because it was an all or nothing effort for yellow. Agreeing with Merckx’s assessment, he was primed and ready to go full gas on that TT. Actually seeing his power numbers and HR go red might have caused him to ease off. Wise lad beyond his 22 years.

    I wonder if going sans powermeter is going to catch on in the pro peloton.

    • Right, the only reason I could see for him to not use the tech is that it might constrain him, which is fascinating. Like you said, if he alone made that decision, that’s something!

      I wonder the same thing.

  3. So here’s a controversial question; give the power readings that are higher than the Armstrong era. Is Pogacar and others on some kind of program? My small pole of riders over here is yes. Curious if this is just a Canadian thing.

    And just so you know my thoughts, I’m undecided, but leaning towards yes.

    • I’d be inclined to say no (or at least I hope not). Armstrong-era athletes were training super hard, but lacked the scientific approach to diet, training load and recovery. Sports science has come a long way. These young guys are definitely on a “program” of highly fine tuned training in all aspects of their life. I’d be surprised if they were taking anything banned. There’d definitely be supplementation of some sort though, right up to the legal line. But then again, who knows…

    • I’ve been thinking the same thing all along, but like Tempo below, hoping not! I have images of young cyclists paddling a small boat in the middle of the night to the island in the middle of Lake Bled, where Dr. Ferrari has secretly moved to while we weren’t looking 😉

      According to something I read the morning after the TT, his time up La Planche des Belles Filles was not the fastest. Aru (I think) was two seconds faster a few years ago.

      Time will certainly tell.

  4. This was surely exhilarating and a TT for the (cycling) history books. 1min30 faster in less than one hour than number 2 (Dumoulin) is amazing. The Belgian TV commentator Michel Wuyts said: “People wonder about these numbers, but it turns out that Poga was only 2sec faster than the fastest climb up La Planche, which was in 2017 by Aru at the end of a long stage.” The critique by Merckx that Jumbo Visma’s team leaders were not smart was also surprisingly harsh … but, of course, hindsight is 20/20. I wonder how Dumoulin feels about his decision to drop back when he couldn’t hold “domestique” van Aert’s wheel… Regardless, sad that the 3 weeks of entertainment are over; next are worlds/classics/Giro/Vuelta 🙂

    • Ah, I just told Rob above that Pog’s time was 2 seconds SLOWER than Aru’s. Anyway, it’s in the ballpark. Agreed with all your statements, especially the last. Bring on the rest of the season!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s