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A look inside the pro peloton's race-day data screens - Part 1

WorldTour head units
WorldTour head units (Image credit: Cyclingnews)

When it comes to racing, the data displayed on a cycling computer can make or break a rider's day. Used correctly, the data can be a valuable asset, but the very data that can help a rider tailor their effort and make informed decisions can just as easily lead to second-guessing or over-exertion. 

Power, heart rate, speed and cadence are commonly discussed metrics in all cycling circles, but it's kilojoules that stands out as the all-important number inside the WorldTour peloton. The effort ahead - any effort in fact - will need to be fuelled correctly and measuring energy expenditure is the preferred way to calculate required intake. 

The saying 'different strokes for different folks' applies. Some riders like to have the data from their power meters on-screen at all times, whereas others try to avoid it altogether, favouring little more than a map and a timer.

Nathan Haas explained to us that on race day, his threshold isn't considered important as it can lead to over-expectation of ability on a given day. Fluctuations in fatigue and freshness can affect a rider's threshold power, so where a rider might be able to hit the numbers on one day, a seven-hour mountain day is likely to affect it for the next. 

For Luke Rowe, a map is all he needs on his Garmin Edge 1030 to perform dutifully, whereas a climber such as George Bennett's home screen displays his power pride of place. 

Scroll down to take a look at the data on the cycling computers of George Bennett, Adam Hansen, Luke Rowe and more.

George Bennett

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WorldTour Cycling Computers

George Bennett's main screen displays his watts along with speed, heart rate and cadence (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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WorldTour Cycling Computers

Bennett's second screen is similar, but totals are tailored to the current lap only (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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WorldTour Cycling Computers

Similar data but even more simplified - perfect for efforts in training (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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WorldTour Cycling Computers

A lap review screen gives Bennett an overview of his last interval effort (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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WorldTour Cycling Computers

Pedalling-efficiency is important to Bennett, who's been working on his pedalling smoothness and left-right balance (Image credit: Josh Croxton)

George Bennett admits his GPS computer isn't quite race-ready yet, as we caught him a few days before the start of the Santos Tour Down Under, but he's put a lot of consideration into his screen setup. 

With no less than eight screens available to him, Bennett's data is tailored depending on the type of session ahead. The gallery above walks you through some of his different screens, which consist of training, racing, intervals, a lap review, a map, elevation, an overall ride review, and a screen dedicated to pedalling efficiency. 

Bennett's current setup delivers:

  • Lap distance
  • Power
  • Lap time
  • Heart rate
  • Cadence

Nathan Haas

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WorldTour Cycling Computers

Haas has a different profile set up for training, racing, time trials (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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WorldTour Cycling Computers

Haas' main page displays all the common metrics such as power, cadence, heart rate and speed (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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WorldTour Cycling Computers

Energy is important to Haas, who likes to have an understanding of KJ expended vs how he feels (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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WorldTour Cycling Computers

A third data screen displays altitude data for the hillier days (Image credit: Josh Croxton)

Cofidis' French-speaking Australian is well in tune with the data on his head unit and he has a screen dedicated to each of his bikes. The SRM PC8 doesn't provide maps, but Haas is content with the following numbers, which are displayed on his primary screen:

  • Distance
  • Ride time
  • Ascent
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Heart rate
  • Normalised power
  • Cadence

However, Haas went on to explain he also holds kilojoules in high regard. "It's about building a relationship between KJ expended and how I'm feeling," Haas explained. "If I'm feeling bad, but we've been burning 1000kjs an hour for four hours, I know that everyone else is feeling the same," before adding "cadence is also really important to me, I know there's a certain amount of muscle damage below 70rpm, so I like to keep it high."

Adam Hansen

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WorldTour Cycling Computers

According to Hansen, his primary screen shows "pretty standard" data (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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WorldTour Cycling Computers

Average power and normalised power are two important factors for the Australian grand tour veteran (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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WorldTour Cycling Computers

Kilojoules is another important metric, so the days efforts can be fuelled correctly (Image credit: Josh Croxton)

Hansen has a reputation for being hands-on with his tech, yet surprisingly, the Australian, who manufactures his own carbon shoes and wears realtime bike-fit technology, leaves things as "pretty standard" when it comes to the numbers. The main screen on Hansen's SRM PC8 provides the following:

  • Distance
  • Ride time
  • Ascent
  • Power
  • Heart rate
  • Speed
  • Cadence

On his SRM screens dedicated to averages and maximums, Hansen has fields for normalised power and kilojoules respectively, which are helpful when gauging the day's effort. Normalised power can provide a more accurate representation of the physiological cost of the fluctuating effort common in a road race. It is representative of what a rider would've been able to hold as an average if the effort was steady and constant. Paired with kilojoules, this can help Hansen fuel correctly.

Luke Rowe

WorldTour Cycling Computers

All Luke Rowe needs is a map, which is displayed on his Garmin Edge 1030 (Image credit: Josh Croxton)

Team Ineos' road-captain, Luke Rowe, needs little more than a map and a weather forecast to do his job effectively. "Maps is the most important thing. It's important for descending, but more for which direction you're going and the wind." Rowe explained.

Prior research of the roadbook will inform him of the terrain ahead, so with the route loaded, his Garmin Edge 1030 will forewarn Rowe of what's around the corner so he can protect his leader. 

"Total ascent is also interesting," Rowe added. "You know before the stage, how much climbing the stage contains, so that gives you a pretty good gauge to how much you've got left. You know you've got 1000 and you've done 800 after 20km, you know the rest of the stage is flat."

Mikkel Bjerg

WorldTour Cycling Computers

Mikkel Bjerg has plenty of quantitative data on his head unit (Image credit: Josh Croxton)

As a three-time under-23 time trial world champion, it's perhaps unsurprising that Mikkel Bjerg is interested in quantitative data such as power and heart rate. Bjerg's data is unsurprisingly in his native tongue of Danish, but he kindly walked us through the translations, before explaining "I don't use the map because we have the radio, so we always get told what's coming."

On race days, the information Bjerg sees on his Stages Dash screen is:

  • Three-second power average
  • Total duration
  • Total distance (km)
  • Three-second heart rate average
  • Three-second cadence average
  • Average power

Stay tuned, part two is on its way.