There are in Belgium the famous “Kermesse”, races which are not part of the UCI category, but which enjoy a truly extraordinary level. For many, they represent the races at the highest level of the European continent.
Who can participate
These are races in which all licensed professional riders can participate.In addition to the continental teams of the country, you can find teams in the Pro Continental category and riders and even complete World Tour teams (Lotto Soudal or Etixx Quik Step) .
Difficulty of these races
These are the circuits in which we find sections of paved roads, hard roads, complicated bends, narrowings. The peloton is found in single file. These are courses with a lot of wind. The races last between 160 and 170 km and in which normally only between 30 and 60 runners manage to finish.
Course of the race
These are races that have no organization on the part of the teams, they are attack races from minute 1 to the end. It is therefore very different from the control that can be found in UCI races with Pro Continental and World Tour teams. They are run at maximum capacity from the first moment. The ability of the rider and his placement in the peloton is essential to be able to be successful there.
These are races so specialized that for riders who come from another country, and with a very different style of cycling, it is difficult to judge their abilities. In Spain or Italy, the riders have a more climber profile and this means that they go at a more moderate pace and that on the climb they go on the offensive. This cannot happen in Belgium and the Netherlands because the terrain is completely flat and the profile of the runner is also totally opposite to that found elsewhere.
These races are perfect for foreign teams as well as for Belgian runners, they are perfect training races (there are between 2-3 “Kermesses” per week) But they must be measured because they are races with so much stress and so much speed that it can quickly exhaust you both physically and mentally.
They are ideal for preparing priority events that arrive in the following weeks.
We just saw how these types of races are so special and how they are contested. For numbers lovers you will find below the power data and the types of efforts that are made in these races. As a general rule the races last around 3h-3h45 ‘duration approximately. This data comes from a rider in a small group of 50 riders capable of reaching the main peloton.
- 50 kilometers
- 32 sprints lasting between 5 and 10 seconds over
- 900w, power on sprints with a maximum peak of 1280w, in addition to a peak of 1144w for 5 seconds.
That means he worked on neuromuscular power every time he came out of a turn, or every time he needed to close a gap in the peloton.
- close to 46km / h average speed,
- 291w but a standardized power of 340w (almost 4.5w / kg for this runner).
- 165 beats per minute on average, but with a maximum of 195 beats
The amount of work done in the neuromuscular power zone and the anaerobic zone is significant. Obviously, this work in such high areas decreases over the km even if the pace remains strong.
The conclusion that can be drawn from this is that it takes a great neuromuscular capacity and a great anaerobic capacity to cope with these rhythm changes at the start of competition.
The great power that most of these riders have means that they have an incredible ability to ride on the flat.
As we can see in this race, the placement factor at the start of the race played a particularly important role. If we compare the power data at the start of the stroke with those at the end of the stroke.
The most striking detail is the power peaks achieved during the race.
The 32 sprints performed in the 1st hour of the first race have nothing to do with the 25 sprints performed on the 750w (around 10w / kg) in this race. Obviously, being a runner with great neuromuscular power and great anaerobic capacity is still an essential factor in excelling in these races. This shows us that the placement factor and the skill factor play a very important role.