wattage of pro cyclist

What is the Wattage of a Pro Cylist

The Tour de France is without doubt the toughest cycling race in the world where the top riders give their all. Over the course of the Tour de France, riders ride roughly the distance from Tbilisi in Georgia to London England about 3,328 km. 

They also complete about 500,000 pedal revolutions and produce about 150 liters of sweat which is enough to completely fill a bathtub. To successfully complete the ride, riders have extraordinary fit bodies. 

Thanks to the growth in speedometers, fitness trackers and sports science data, it is now possible to determine what superhuman fitness pro cyclists at the Tour de France have. 

What is the Wattage of a Pro Cylist

cycling speed sensor

During a normal stage of the Tour de France, professional cyclists produce an average of 230–250 watts which is equal to burning about 900 calories over the course of an hour. However, this number significantly goes higher on the harder stages where the pros average about 300 watts over an hour. 

Looking at the numbers of pro cyclist Tadej Pogacar he achieved a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) of about 415 watts over an hour. However some riders on the Tour de France have been known to top 500 watts. 

Some of the top pro cyclists at the tour de France have been known to go higher than 500 watts  while in the final stages many of the sprinters usually hit higher than 1500 watts when they hit maximal effort. 

How Many Watts is an Olympic Cyclist?

Similar to a car engine, pro cyclist muscles produce a maximum amount of power depending on the cadence or revolutions per minute attained. The average human will usually average between 115-130 rotations a minute.

When pedaling at such a cadence, pro cyclists can usually produce a lot of power at more than 2200 watts for men and more than 1400 watts for women sprint track cyclists. Most average cyclists would struggle to produce more than 600 watts for women or 800 watts for women even if they push themselves to their limits. 

Which Pro Cyclist has the Highest FTP?

Most pro cyclists jealously guard their FTPs and hence most numbers that are out there need to be taken with a pinch of salt much like cyclist salaries. Many cyclists tend to go deep into the red which is sometimes what makes them star riders.

For cyclists that have over the years uploaded their stats onto apps such as Strava, the following are some of their FTP numbers

FTP of men pro cyclists

RiderFTP (w)Weight (kg)W/KGYear
Ben Wolfe490865.702018
Magnus Backstedt486955.122012
Mathieu van der Poel485756.462020
Will Clarke471815.812014
Connor Dunne470885.342017

Cycling Wattage Chart

Pro Cyclist Versus Ordinary Rider

The average cyclist that is not trained for competitive cycling will usually produce about 2.34 W/kg while riding at their limits on flat surface with no wind for about 20 minutes. On the other hand, the average Tour de France cyclist riding in a Peloton will produce about 6.15 W/kg under similar conditions. 

However, it is important to note that we are making the assumption of a rider weighing in at 70kg. Under such circumstance the average cyclist will attain power output of 163.8 watts over twenty minutes as compared to a pro cyclist that may go as high as 429.8 watts. 

Looking at a rel life example, Thomas de Gendt Strava data following his win of the Twelfth stage of the Tour de France showed that he attained peak power output of 1046 watts.

This was over a ride of about 195 kilometers which took just over five hours and include 2585 meters of climbing while riding at about 80% peak power which resulted in average power output of about 319 watts. 

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