What speeds do cycling peloton travel at?

What speeds do cycling peloton travel at?
La Vuelta - 2nd stage - 's-Hertogenbosch - Utrecht

If you've just broached into the wide world of cycling you may not realize just how fast that riders in the peloton are actually moving. Rider's often state how they have to get used to riding in "the bunch", as the peloton is also known, again in the early season races because of how zoned in they have to be to ride at such high speeds for so long.

In terms of watching races though, it's sometimes helpful to know how long you have to take a washroom break or run to the shop before a critical juncture in the race.

Generally, on a flat road, the peloton will be travelling at around approximately 50km/h in the early stages of the race (before the 70k mark). Potentially slower if there's headwinds, but most likely not faster as they'll try to conserve energy prior to the critical story points near the end of the race. Most aero aspects of their setup (think helmet or jerseys) are tested at this 50km/h marker for this exact reason.

However after the 70km to go mark, and definitely after the 50km to go marker, they'll most likely be inching closer to the 60-70km/h marker on the flat. Especially if they're trying to claw back a breakaway.

Going up long climbs you'll generally see the peloton travelling between 35-45km/h depending on the height of the climb. Which means you can add an extra 20-30% onto your allotted time if there's a really long climb that isn't later in the stage (otherwise it may very well be used as a key breakaway point for the stage).

And going down a hill? Well. You should probably just stay seated. Riders generally will be going 70km/h, but if there's no turns or curves most may be cracking 80km/h.