What type of Fitness is Necessary to Finish a Criterium Race?

Criteriums are different from road racing in that they require high amount of repeated power output lap after lap.  Some course might have peak power outputs at multiple corners per lap because of the accordion effect.  The graph below is a 5 min slice from a 60 min P12 criterium.  In the yellow power line, you can see that every minute or so there is an power interval of about 10 to 20 seconds with a spike above the 600-700.  The blue line shows the surge in speed every lap from 21 mph to 34 because this race had a hill and some wind.  The average power output for this race was only 258 for 60 minutes and the average speed was 26.8.  It is not too hard to do ride with any average power output  of 258!  What make a criterium hard is that you accelerate and then you coast or soft pedal, and then you accelerate….over and over.  If you want to get to the end of criterium race, you need to train to be able to do repeated power with a high enough peak.  Having the ability to do repeated power will get you do the end of the race but it will not help you win the race. 

If you want to get to the end, you need look at how to train for criteriums:

Just getting to the end is only part of the game.

Ride Hard,

Steve