Cobbles Races & Seated Power

Cobbles Races & Seated Power
Paris-Roubaix - VAN AVERMAET Greg (AG2R CITROEN TEAM) - Trouée d'Arenberg - Roubaix

As we wrap up this years' spring classics - it's worth touching on that when it comes to the "cobbled" classics - the key indicator of a rider's ability to do well is seated power.

Rider's need to be able to retain their stability over the cobbles, and it's why Pogačar joked that he needed to gain a few pounds before attempting the race. Keeping your butt firmly planted in the saddle ensures you won't be taking a tumble as you (hopefully) glide through the Arenberg forest.

So while Buitrago has looked incredibly strong during out of the saddle attacks at this week's Tour of the Alps (none of them have stuck unfortunately) - he wouldn't be performing well at Roubaix.

How does this affect betting?

Rider's who are usually counted out at other major races or grand tours, or relegated to be domestiques may make surprise appearances. Think heavier, but also potentially older riders, who aren't the sticks they used to be in their twenties (your hips naturally widen with age).

We went with John Degenkolb (34) this year in Paris-Roubaix, who performed remarkably well despite his age and weight.

It's also the reason why riders such as Wout van Aert do so well. Have you seen him pump out 400 watts over hours on end in the grand tours on domestique duties? It's always with his butt planted firmly in the saddle.

The heuristic can be translated to races other than cobbles as well. For example, Strade Bianche, known for it's numerous gravel sections, will have rider's who have better seated power with an edge over those who don't.

Gravel is still an uneven surface, and while pro rider's bike handling is much better than the average Joe's and Jill's, they'll still be wanting to stay firmly planted in the saddle.

More and more races these days seem to be integrating gravel sections into their stage design (despite a number of riders not being huge fans) and it's worth taking note of those riders that excel at pumping out the watts while in the saddle (and why it helps to have a cyclecross background where seated power is king - or queen!).

Paris-Roubaix - 2023 - VAN DER POEL Mathieu (ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK)