Spotted on Strava: Van Aert and Van Vleuten win thanks to epic final figures


Riders are not always open about their performance, wattages and data, but Strava still offers a solution for many men and women. Who drove records of rubble during training and how did the riders perform in races? In the Leader’s jersey in ‘Spotted on Strava’ looks weekly at the figures behind the performance. This week: the victories of Wout van Aert and Annemiek van Vleuten in the Strade Bianche.

It was hot, it was dusty, it was blown and it was very heavy. The races for men and women were nevertheless of a great level. First, Van Vleuten created a nice spectacle for the ladies, by jumping from the peloton to the chasing group in the final, then driving away from it, counting the lonely leader in the front and leaving it on the final wall. The brilliant catch-up race was a good preview of what was to come.

For the men there was also a wear battle. Top favorites were unlucky, fell or were simply unloaded in the Italian heat. Every ten kilometers, the front group became smaller, with only one constant: Van Aert’s face was on the ‘focus’ position. The Belgian went solo in the final and was never seen again. These are the numbers behind the two victories in Siena.

Van Vleuten thanks to QOM rain to title prolongation

The 2019 was nice, but the victory in the Strade Bianche of 2020 was perhaps a lot better for Van Vleuten. Actually until deep in the final she was locked in the peloton, because a teammate in the group was in front. This was the case until Van Vleuten decided to make the crossing, and then only drive towards the race leader. The effort that Van Vleuten made in those last kilometers is perfectly reflected in her Strava file.

In total, Van Vleuten covered 135.41 kilometers in four hours, four minutes and 27 seconds. On average, the Dutch rumbled at 33.2 kilometers per hour on the course, with a maximum speed of 82.8 kilometers per hour. And that while the measured temperature of her meter at the peak indicated 42 degrees Celsius. It went fast, very fast, witness the many personal records that Van Vleuten already set in the first half of the race, while she was still there in the peloton.

It is not entirely clear when Van Vleuten started her effort from the peloton, but her last twenty kilometers in Strava are breathtakingly good. An important QOM (the so-called KOM, but for women) is the segment ‘Le Tolfe to Via Fiorentina’. Van Vleuten rumbled towards the head of the race in this thick six kilometers with an average of 35.1 kilometers per hour. The segment ‘Ulitimi 10km GF strade Bianche’ is the most impressive, however.

In the last ten kilometers of the race, Van Vleuten drove at 35.5 kilometers per hour towards the leader and went over it in the final kilometer. She finished the piece half a minute faster than the fastest record time in 2019. The icing on the cake is also the QOM of the final climb to the square in Siena now in the name of Van Vleuten. In total we count eight QOM’s during this day. Van Vleuten thus delivered a world performance in the heat.

Van Vleuten went like a rocket in the final …

Van Aert has wonder legs on third attempt

Every year Van Aert gets a little better and the Strade Bianche is the ultimate example. In 2018, he finished third, but did not finish the final climb in Siena without thumping his bike with fatigue. In 2019, a better and fitter third place followed, although he still had to give in places one and two. Everything came together in 2020. Van Aert was the best, from start to finish, and the Strava file also speaks volumes for him.

Van Aert registered 185.94 kilometers in 5:01:50 hours. He covered the course, with more than three thousand vertical meters, with an astonishing average of 37.0 kilometers per hour and a maximum speed of 89.3. At 39 degrees, it was barely cooler on average than with the ladies. Van Aert drank a lot, kept himself cool all day and let his turbo thighs speak twelve kilometers from the finish. First a descent, then a climb and Van Aert had flown.

Van Aert already drove his third Strade Bianche and the fact that he had already set eighteen personal records until the final, indicates how fast it all went. But Van Aert could go even faster, it turned out in that final. Like Van Vleuten, Van Aert had a record time on the segment ‘Le Tolfe to Via Fiorentina’, actually the phase prior to his attack. The Belgian recorded an average of 40.4 kilometers per hour on this stretch. He was seventeen seconds faster than Daniel Lloyd in 2009, the record time in this segment for years.

And then the segment ‘Ulitimi 10km GF strade Bianche’ among the men. Van Aert had left one and a half kilometers before the start of this segment and he pushed up and down an average of 40.4 kilometers per hour on his heavy slopes. He cut the last ten kilometers in 15:32 minutes and was 38 seconds faster than anyone else on Strava ever was. Until Van Aert’s performance, Lloyd was also the record holder here since 2009. The final climb in Siena never drove Van Aert faster than this year, he really had some left over. Three KOMs in the decisive phase. Although not every rider uploads his data on Strava, it should be clear: Van Aert was clearly the best on this sweltering day. (photo courtesy: Sirotti)

For more Spotted on Strava, click here.

Bram van der Ploeg (Twitter: @BvdPloegg | e-mail: [email protected])


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