Everyone dreams of it; launching a solo attack and riding to glory, while those behind can do nothing. That’s what Connor Swift delivered to become British road race champion, but what did it take?
We delve into Connor’s race file – recorded on his Garmin 1030 and Shimano Dura Ace powermeter – to find out.
Everyone knows nationals start hard to make that first selection – this year it started hard and there was no key selection!
In the opening 15-minutes of the race, Connor delivered 10-minutes at 400-watts – including six surges of over 1000-watts.
Following this and with no definitive split in the peloton, there was an easing of sorts. The race covered 20-minutes at a pedestrian 28.4mph, with Connor’s average power a far more palatable 260-watts.
Now well rested, the peloton was ready to do battle up the Ryals for the first time.
This was the venue for the first and main selection of the race, creating the breakaway from which, the race would be won.
Connor put out a staggering 431-watts for over five minutes and that was enough to make the selection.
The next 90-minutes were covered at a speed of over 26mph, but with an average heart rate of just 147bpm. This was vital for conserving energy for the critical final stage of the race.
At the 100-mile mark, Swift made a move that split the breakaway group in two.
Connor was one of the main contributors to the workload and this shows in his numbers. He put out 382-watts for nearly 11-minutes.
However, the lead bunch didn’t work well enough together – and despite Swift’s efforts the race came back together.
Undeterred, two miles later Connor made a decision that would win him the race.
Accelarating at 1000-watts got him the initial gap but what came next was a meticulously paced, 15-minute effort.
On the downhill run to the finish, Swift averaged 399-watts and nearly 30mph.
In this fascinating graphic, you can see how his lead was always under pressure – first by the chase group of five and then by the attack of Blythe.
Each time the gap came down from 12-seconds to just five.
But Swift stuck resolutely to his task and – as he revealed in his post-race interview – rode to power to deliver a consistent effort.
As the gradient levelled off Swift was able to produce slightly more power – 412-watts for the final seven-minutes of the race.
And that’s how the race was won.