After all the brouhaha that has recently surrounded the subject of power data – and what it may or may not reveal about the credibility of a cyclist’s performance – Tom Dumoulin has taken the step of releasing his data from the recent Vuelta a Espana.
The Dutch rider was the revelation of the race; few expected him to launch a serious bid for the general classification but he hung with the bigger names throughout and was only deprived of his race lead on the penultimate stage. Primarly known for his capabilities as a rouleur, the way Dumoulin was able to limit his losses against the likes of Fabio Aru and Joaquim Rodríguez in a mountainous Vuelta was remarkable – particularly so since he came into the race with the humble aim of easing himself back after crashing out of the Tour de France.
Such is the nature of modern cycling, outstanding performances can often lead to scrutiny and raised eyebrows. Chris Froome certainly found that at this year’s Tour de France and while data estimates contributed to a murky and unsavoury debate in July, Dumoulin is keen to quell any speculation with a show of transparency.
"It’s only the data from my time trial that I'd rather not make public – it can reveal other things about my aerodynamics. The rest everyone should know."
The data, published and visualised above by AD.nl, shows Dumoulin’s power output across the Vuelta’s key climbs.
On the first road stage on day two, he rode to second on the short sharp uphill finish to Caminito del Rey, putting out 459.6 watts over 8:29 minutes for an average of 6.6 watts per kilogram. On the similar climb of the Sierra de Cazorla on stage 6 he put out a mighty 7 watts/kg as he set off in pursuit of Esteban Chaves in an attempt to defend his red jersey.
The Dutchman then averaged 6.6 watts/kg en route to beating Chris Froome to the stage win at Cumbre del Sol on stage 9, figures that his coach Adrian Helmantel describes as "incredibly high, but still below the record of his training".
His averages on the longer climbs thereafter stayed mostly under 6 watts/kg but were still impressive as the pure climbers failed to put clear daylight between themselves and him. When Dumoulin was finally dropped for good on the Puerto de Cotos on the penultimate stage, he recorded his joint lowest average for a Vuelta climb, with 5.2 watts/kg.
"We can look at Tom’s development with the figures that we have, and that we share with others. We did not initially expect him to participate for the overall win in the Vuelta but it is not strange that it happened," said Helmantel.
"In the winter we asked ourselves when Tom would be able to win a Grand Tour. His performance data showed that he is capable of that."