Judging by their power data and TSS numbers, we know the Tour de France riders will be relieved to get their rest day today. As for us here at TrainingPeaks, we think it's a perfect opportunity to take a breather too from cranking out the race data analysis we've been publishing at TrainingPeaks.com/TDF, and do a little recap of our favorite race of the year.
So without further ado, here are the highlights of the past week and a half of the Tour, as seen through the lens of TrainingPeaks data from the pros.
#1 Stage 11 gives us the rare opportunity to see and analyze power data from GC leaders.
Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) fights for the win all day during Stage 11, averaging 4.6 w/kg for the entire stage and climbing 4617 m (15,144 ft). Sorensen ended up in 7th.
Then, watch the power line jump as Jani Brajkovic, who placed 8th right behind Sorensen, attacks with 12 kms to go as he attempts to gain time in the overall standings. Brajkovic maxes out for the day at 715W and spends 90 minutes at or above threshold during the stage, spending most of that time on the final climb of the day, the above-category La Touissuire.
#2 Bernie Eisel of Team Sky is, in his words, "turning into a mountain goat".
Eisel hasn't been known as a climber in the past, but is still killing it on the climbs during this Tour. Case in point: Eisel averages 35.4 kph (21.7 mph) for Stage 8...while climbing a staggering 2688 m (8819 ft)! During Stage 11, Eisel fights his way up the Category HC Col de la Madeleine (25.3 km, 6.2% grade) at 20 kph (12.4 mph).
#3 We assess and compare Functional Threshold Power (FTP) of the pros through the Stage 9 Individual Time Trial data.
FTP, the maximum power output a rider can sustain for a 1 hour TT, is the most fundamental metric used to assess a rider's fitness. Stage 9 allowed us to compare the FTP of:
- Chris Anker Sorensen of Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at 363W (5.7 w/kg)
- Janez Brajkovic of Astana at 358W (5.6 w/kg)
- Greg Henderson of Lotto-Belisol at 370W (5 w/kg)
- Sebastian Langeveld of ORICA-GreenEDGE at 326W (4.8 w/kg)
Note that for Henderson and Langeveld, our estimated FTP was based off an assumed effort of 90% during the TT. Neither of these riders were going full-out as their role is to assist the GC leaders during the Tour.
#4 On a weekly basis, the Tour riders may be working up to 7-8x as hard as you or I on the bike.
We measure the workload of an athlete based upon Training Stress Score (TSS). TSS measures the "physical cost" of a ride based upon duration and intensity. A 1-hour, all-out ride = 100 TSS.
Based on his Stages 3-15 files, Bernie Eisel of Team Sky has accumulated over 3700 TSS in 2 weeks of racing, or an average of 1850 TSS/week! Talk about ready for a rest day! By comparison, a recreational cyclist might accumulate 250 TSS points per week, riding about 6 hours at an easy to moderate pace (1 hour of easy riding = 35 TSS).
#5 Again and again, Bernie Eisel shows his dedication to helping out his team.
In the first 90 minutes of Stage 15, Eisel and his Sky teammates worked hard to reel in each attempted breakaway until finally the right mix of riders who wouldn't threaten Bradley Wiggins' overall lead was allowed to get up the road. During this hour and a half, Eisel racked up 147 TSS points...100 TSS indicates an-out, 1 hour effort. Eisel held nothing back to help Wiggins stay in yellow.
During Stage 6, Mark Cavendish crashed near the end of the stage and Eisel had some leeway to go for a top placing in the finish for himself. Eisel cranked out 796W for his Peak 30 Second Power at the end of Stage 6. In the previous day, when he was leading out Cav for the sprint finish, Eisel's Peak 30 seconds Power was 844W. Bernie showed that he actually pushes himself HARDER when he is riding for Cavendish than when he rides for himself!
Want the full scoop?
Visit trainingpeaks.com/TDF, where our full race data for the Tour de France is published! You can also check out our related article, the Top 5 Tour de France Moments to Date as Captured on TrainingPeaks. Stay tuned for more exciting insights into racing for the last several stages of the Tour!