The first stage of the competition took place in Mallorca on November 12 and saw records broken with impressive heart rate and power data revealing just how demanding the sport really is. The German Pauline Grabosch, four-time UCI world champion, saw her numbers skyrocket in the first round of the keirin, reaching a new personal high of 200 bpm (her previous record was 198 bpm.) Unfortunately, even with this immense effort it still wasn’t enough to take her through to the next round as she placed fourth in the first heat.
The American Gavin Hoover also felt the demands of the sport in this stage, finishing 15th in the Scratch. But his redemption came in the form of the Elimination race, of which he is the reigning champion after being crowned in the maiden edition of the UCI Track Champions League last year. He dug deep and pushed himself to the limit, reaching a top heart rate of 188 bpm (his potential maximum is 190 bpm). Despite his great effort he was eventually beaten by the Canadian Mathias Guillemette and awarded second place.
The second stage in Berlin on November 19 was no less thrilling, with even more records broken. The Olympic Champion Kelsey Mitchell’s power record was 1500 watts until the Berlin sprint semi-final where she maxed out at 1525 watts! Her power of 1346 watts was enough to earn her first place in the keirin, but this Canadian star was overtaken in the sprint by the Frenchwoman Mathilde Gros, who also set a new personal best of 204 bpm. Both women’s data shows just how much energy, strength and physical exertion this sport really demands.
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Matthijs Büchli took on the immense challenge of transitioning from an elite sprint cyclist to an endurance cyclist, let alone battling it out with the world’s best. The elimination round saw him exhibit his raw power, reaching a maximum of 1385 watts, and outdoing his rivals in this area (for comparison Scartezzini reached a maximum power of 1186 watts). Although the Dutchman did well, he couldn’t keep up with the competition’s six best endurance cyclists. His top heart rate of 186 bpm was far from his record of 201 bpm, but this change in maximum beats per minute shows the difference in exertion demand between the two races.
For more information about the UCI Track Champions League see here
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