What does it take to win Paris-Roubaix? The numbers behind Dylan van Baarle's victory

We looked at Dylan van Baarle's Strava numbers to understand what kind of effort he produced on Sunday to win the Hell of the North

Ineos-Grenadiers' Dylan van Baarle won Paris-Roubaix in a convincing and powerful style. He capitalised on his team's hard work in the first part of the race and attacked multiple times in the crucial, closing stages. The final, decisive move from the Dutch rider came with 19 km to go, on the four-star cobble sector of Camphin-en-Pevèle.

But what did it take for Van Baarle to win Paris-Roubaix, from a physiological point of view?

Related: What cobbles do to the human body?

We can find the answer if we look at Van Baarle's own Strava activity for Sunday March 17th...

Photo: Zac Williams/SWpix.com

Van Baarle covered the 262.81 km between Compiègne and Roubaix in 5 hours, 52 minutes and 21 seconds at an average speed of 44.8 km/h (and a max of 75.8). That time is the fastest time in which a Paris-Roubaix has ever been won in the history of the race. It's fair to say, it was an extraordinary performance.

First and foremost, the weather was perfect for racing hard with temperatures ranging from 12-22°C with 50% humidity, according to Van Baarle's Garmin Edge 1030 Plus. The race report also highlights the easterly wind that broke the race apart early on. It is shown as 14.4 km/h, but we're sure that it must have been a bit more when Ineos put the hammer down.

Photo: Dylan van Baarle/Strava

Secondly, despite what we usually think (i.e. Flanders is hilly and Roubaix is flat), the overall vertical elevation of the Hell of the North is still a pretty hefty 1,495 metres – not at all a pan-flat cobbles bonanza.

Related: Paris-Roubaix 2022 Debrief

Van Baarle's average power for the entire race was 307 watts, with a peak power of 1126w, most likely when he attacked on the Camphin-en-Pevèle sector, or when he bridged across to the breakaway (he didn't have to sprint at the end, coming solo in to the velodrome). However, his normalised power (NP), which reflects the physiological stress of the various power surges during the effort, was 341W. 

Photo: Dylan van Baarle/Strava

Van Baarle didn't hide anything from his exploit and included his average heart rate (147 bpm, max 176) and his cadence (88rpm average with an astonishing 172 rpm maximum). 

Through a different numbers filter, Van Baarle used 6483 kJ of energy, or 7071 kcal on his way to Roubaix victory. That amount of calories would equal 14 Big Macs – an unhealthy but gratifying post-Roubaix recovery snack – if he wanted to hit a zero-calorie deficit after a long and strenuous day in France. These numbers give an idea of the sheer effort he had to endure to win what some call the most important Monument of the season.

Related: Paris-Roubaix 2022 in pictures

Finally, on Strava he even got a couple of KOMs along the way, these were: "is this cobble love part 2 (35:16 at 358W and 45.3 km/h", "Pavé de Vertain à Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon (3:02 at 456 watts and 45 km/h)" and in Auchy-lez-Orchies à Bersée - secteur pavé (3:54 at 430W adn 41,2 km/h). We have a feeling that Van Baarle's cobblestone trophy might have meant a bit more to him than those Strava crowns, though.

Cover Photo: Zac Williams/SWpix.com

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