Vuelta a España Stage 18

Stage 18 of Vuelta a España was a hilly 186.5 kilometers through the mountains of Cantabria. Vasil Kiryienka of Team Sky took the stage win while RadioShack Leopard's Chris Horner moved within 3 seconds of red jersey holder, Vincenzo Nibali, in the General Classification.

Horner, the 41 year old American professional, distanced himself from Nibali on the steepest section of the final climb, Peña Cabarga, and finished 6th for the day. Chris's SRM race file below illustrates the physical demands of the day along with the power and endurance demanded in a Grand Tour.

Vuelta a España Stage 18: Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard)

Click on SRM Race File to Enlarge

Chris Horner, racing at approximately 65kg, crossed the line sixth in just under four hours fifty minutes with an average power of 221 watts. Horner's average speed was 38.5kph with a 70rpm average cadence. Total altitude gain for the day was 2,973 meters and throughout the race he burned over 3,800 kilocalories.

Alto estacas de Trueba: The early break of 15 riders held a maximum gap of 10 minutes after the feed zone at kilometer 91 as Movistar Team began pulling for Team Classification and riders battled for position before the long, narrow downhill.

Horner averaged 266 watts in this 11km section with an average cadence of 82rpm at 32kph average speed.

Puerto de la Braguia: The gap decreased to 5 minutes as Horner and the breakaway group climbed the steep ascent to Puerto de la Braguia.

Chris pushed 342 average watts in this challenging 6 km segment with his consistent 82rpm average cadence.

Alto del Caracol: On the Alto del Caracol the attacks began in the break and Chris delivered over 325 average watts for over twenty minutes after riding nearly 140 kilometers.

Final Climb - Peña Cabarga: After a long downhill and just before the final ascent, RadioShack Leopard took the lead in the peloton to ensure a safe position for Chris Horner and pulled hard into the climb. RSLT's Ben Hermans and Matthew Busche delivered expert pace making skills in these last difficult and crucial kilometers. The hard-fast pace was also set by Saxo Bank and Movistar Team riders driving a very fast climb from the begining. A clear "peak" in speed and "valley" in power is evident due to the 800m flat-downhill section of the climb just before the last steep section.

Chris averaged 425 watts in the final 6 kilometers uphill with a 744 watt maximum output.

"I can’t stress on three seconds right now," notes Horner. "I made up a lot of time today and the gap is smaller; that’s what is important to me. The team is fantastic, I just can’t thank them enough."

Race Averages

Time 4:52:09 min
AVG Power 220.9 watts
AVG Heart rate not available
AVG Speed 38.5 kph
AVG Cadence 70.0 rpm
ALT Gain 2,973.0 meters
Distance 186.5 kilometers
Energy 3,872.16 kilojoules
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