POWERFILE REVIEW: Stages 1-3 Tour of Britain 2012, Chris Opie, Team UK Youth by Stephen Gallagher.

Sep 13, 2012

Rider: Chris Opie

Team: Team UK Youth

DOB: 22.07.87        Height: 179cm        Weight: 72kg

With the 2012 Tour of Britain (TOB) under way which takes in a week of racing over some of the toughest roads in the UK in unpredictable weather we have the opportunity to look at power data from local  rider Chris Opie who races for one of the UK's leading domestic teams, UK Youth.

The standard of this year’s TOB is higher than ever with the inclusion of high profile riders such as Wiggins and Cavendish.  This gives the opportunity for talented young riders such as Opie to put themselves up against some of the top riders in the world on home roads.  This tends to encourage aggressive racing from local teams such as Team UK Youth who have the benefit of having one of the world’s most seasoned professionals in recent years, Magnus Backstedt, heading and advising the team through this year’s Tour of Britain.


Stage 1: Ipswich - Norfolk Showground; 200km, 4hr 51sec, TSS Score 204

Chris Opie finishing position: 13th

In what is the longest of the TOB stages across the Norfolk countryside, the main part of the race was ridden at well below threshold pace which enabled Opie to ride at an average wattage of 176w (217 normalized) for the first 4hrs burning around 2578kj.  A solid 4min effort on the Westleton Cat 3 climb ridden at 4w/kg for 5min being one of the few spikes in the first 4hrs.

The last 45min of the race was a different affair with the bunch ramping up the pace on the twisting roads leading to the finish in Norfolk showgrounds.  With the hectic and chaotic lead into the final, many of Opie’s PEAK powers can be seen in the final 10km as he fights to keep position crucial in placing him in a position to contest the sprint.  The crashes on narrow roads and aggressive racing lead to Opie’s producing his peak 20 & 30sec effort with 7km to go and going on to produce a normalized power of 350w for the last 7km at an average speed of 50kph.  Positioning and bike handling to avoid crashes is the priority at this time and Opie passed this test superbly with an excellent finish of 13th beating many of the experienced Continental Pro's.

2 sec1238W
5 sec1082W
10 sec801 W
12 sec803 W
20 sec765 W
30 sec636 W
1 min482 W
2 min439 W
5 min359 W
6 min359 W

Stage 2: Nottingham – Knowsley; 180km; 4hr 31min; TSS Score 248

Chris Opie finishing position: 17th

Stage 2 has a drastically different profile with 3 Cat 1 climbs in the first 65km with an easier profile in the last 50km as they run into the finish.  Again many of Opie's peak powers were produced in the last 30min of racing as fighting and maintaining position can be both physically demanding and highly stressful whilst concentration focuses on teammates and the plan to keep a presence at the front of the bunch coming into the final.  A last minute crash like the previous stage could see riders lose valuable time in the last 10km therefore using your watts to maintain position is essential but not an easy task.

With a period of 1½ hrs racing in the stage over the 3 categorised climbs, Opie averaged 233watts which included close to 1000meters of climbing. On the climb of Alstonefield Opie produced a consistent effort for 18min at 270w (320w normalized) which saw him gain 252m at a grade of 2.6%.  This period of climbing was a controlled affair with Opie able to ride within himself on these longer climbs while keeping all his matches for the last 10km run into the finish.

With a gradual drag to the finish in the last 6min, a mammoth effort was required to maintain a presence at the front.  Opie produced his biggest effort so far averaging 428w in the last 5km at 5.9w/kg going on to finish it off with a peak of 1134w in the last 100m sprint to the line.  Opie’s ability to make a very hard sustained effort for a 5-6min period along with his ability to 'up' the effort in the final 200m saw him get a top 20 place on the stage.

2 sec1128 W
5 sec944 W
10 sec817 W
12 sec778 W
20 sec726 W
30 sec641 W
1:00m524 W
2:00m470 W
5:00m437 W
6:00m428 W
10:00m347 W
12:00m326 W

Stage 3: Jedburgh – Dumfries; 156km, 3hr 54min, TSS Score 264

Chris Opie finishing position: 12th

Stage 3 had another hard start with 3 categorised climbs in the first 62km as the bunch entered Scotland.  Opie was obviously in good form at the start with aggressive racing saw him produce many of his peak powers for the day (20min/10min/6min) in the first 15km of the race before the hit the Cat 1 climb of Roberton after 22km.  This high wattage early in the stage is not uncommon among riders and teams who are fighting to get into the break of the day that normally plays a major part in how the stage is fought out.

On most of the stage climbs Opie was again riding within his limit normally producing 3.4-4.2w/kg on the climbs lasting from 6min-10min in length.  As with the previous 2 days the real action was to take place in the last 12km as the fight for the bunch sprint was to take place. The last 10km saw the bunch average 56.5kph while averaging 330w (4.5w/kg) during this period, with another  chance of a top placing on the stage up for grabs Opie produced an impressive 1013w average in the last 200m peaking at 1371w and close to 68kph.  When you take into account Opie's aggressive racing at the start of the stage producing many peak powers and containing his effort on the climbs that littered the days stage Opie's ability to peak an effort of over 1000watts for the last 200m is impressive for this local rider fighting against many of the world’s best.



2 sec

1286 W

5 sec

1164 W

10 sec

1013 W

12 sec

979 W

20 sec

805 W

30 sec

763 W

1 min

674 W

2 min

519 W

5 min

444 W

6 min

417 W

10 min

386 W

12 min

359 W

20 min

333 W

Category: Powerfile Reviews

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