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TSGABU GRMAY - A Champion in the Making
November 21, 2012  

Supplied by Coach from ActiveWorx

By Trevor Court, Activeworx Coach


Tsgabu Grmay (21yrs) from Ethiopia is one of the young, up-and-coming talents racing for Team MTN-Qhubeka. During 2012 he has developed significantly through power-based training and the international racing experiences offered to him by the team. He ends the year as a high achieving rising star. He has shown his value to the team team in all racing conditions and formats, from one-day to stage racing.In November he achieved his final annual goal when was crowned the 2012 U23 African Continental Time Trial Champion.


Tsgabu started riding in 2008 with his brother in Ethiopia. For 2012 he signed with team MTN-Qhubeka, a continental cycling team that is based in South Africa. His long-term goal is to race the Tour de France.  Tsgabu understands that to be a grand tour rider he must be able to climb and time trial amongst the best riders in each category.  


During 2012 we have seen Tsgabu grow from strength to strength and have been able to track his progress through the use of his team SRM powermeter system. The SRM provides us with valuable information on how the athlete is improving and how they are responding to the training and racing demands. It also allows us to prescribe very specific training intervals relevant to race specific efforts. Tsgabu has - amongst other things- focused on developing his time trial performance.


In early February we estimated Tsgabu’s Threshold Power to be 320W at a body weight of 65kg i.e. his power to weight ratio would be at 4.9W/kg. Since then he has been developing his time trial abilities through focussed power-based threshold and VO2max interval training.


In June, he raced the Le Coq Sportif tour in South Africa, which included a 34km rolling course time trial. Tsgabu managed to hold an average power of 328W for 50min 30s over the course finishing 6th on the stage. This performance inspired Tsgabu further, and it was then that he set his sights on the World Championships and African Continental Championships as key 2012 Goals.


Specific time trial training began in earnest and when we retested Tsgabu 6-weeks later his estimated threshold power had increased by 14% to be 365W.i.e. a power to weight ratio of 5.6W/kg.


In late August he competed in the Volta Portugal, which included a 33km individual TT (stage 9). He was clearly fatigued by the preceeding days of hard racing but still managed to average 337W over the course.


In early September, Tsgabu’s timetrial setup was fine tuned in an aerodynamics training camp held at the Buttgen Velodrome with Uli Schoberer (SRM Training Systems). Improvements in his position resulted in a 15W saving on his already superfast Trek Speed Concept TT bike.


In September Tsgabu represented Ethiopia at World Championships in  both the individual Time Trial and Road Race. He had a blinder of a time trial holding an average power of 363W for 35.5km at an average speed of 45.3kmph (Fig 1). He had a perfect peak for World Champs and was able to hold just under his estimated threshold power.


Figure 1: Tsgabu Grmay SRM File from  U23 World Championships Time Trial, Limburg, Netherlands


This performance inspired Tsgabu to go for gold in the African Continental Championships Individual Time Trial.  He trained very specifically for the event during October, and he won the gold medal in U23 African Continental TT Championship in Burkina Faso. Tsgabu was notably only 3 seconds off first place overall Elite winner Daniel Teklehaimanot who races for the protour team, Orica GreenEdge.


Training without power is like doing archery in the dark. You don’t know what you’re aiming for, or where the target is. With the help of SRM, it is as if someone has switched the lights on and we can identify where the target is and what Tsgabu needs to aim for in the future. Tsgbau Grmay is definitely a name that one needs to look out for in the near future. Greatness awaits....