2012 Tour de France Wrap-Up

Monday, July 23, 2012 | By Gloria Liu
 
 
 
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Over the past three weeks, TrainingPeaks has presented Tour de France power data from Team Sky, Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, ORICA-GreenEDGE, Jani Brajkovic (Astana) and Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol) at trainingpeaks.com/TDF. Here are some of our favorite highlights from the Tour, as captured on TrainingPeaks.

Total riders profiled on TrainingPeaks: 9

The following riders and teams were gracious enough to provide us with their race data -

  • Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky) 
  • Kanstantsin Siutsou (Team Sky) 
  • Simon Gerrans (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 
  • Janez Brajkovic (Astana) 
  • Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol) 
  • Pieter Weening (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 
  • Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) 
  • Daryl Impey (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 
  • Sebastien Langeveld (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 

Total Race Files Analyzed: 54

…and counting! We’re still in the process of adding final stages!

Most Deserving of a Post-Tour Burger (or Ten...)

Easily, this goes to Bernie Eisel of Team Sky for burning 31,003 kJ in the first week of the Tour! As kilojoules translate to calories roughly on a 1:1 basis (see our note below on kJ:kCal translation), Bernie burned 31,000 calories that week. His biggest day that week? Stage 7, where he burned over 5400 kJ/kCal. That’s the equivalent of nearly 10 McDonald’s Big Macs!

Fan Favorite (Most Popular Stage)

When Jani Brajkovic (Astana) tweeted his Stage 11 TrainingPeaks data, it had the Twittersphere buzzing! Brajkovic had finished 8th that day and moved from 13th to 8th overall in the GC standings. To date, the activity viewer has been shared nearly 600 times on Facebook and Tweeted over 1600 times! If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s what everyone was talking about.

Best Lead-Out Effort

Hands down, the best lead-out captured on TrainingPeaks for the Tour was Greg Henderson’s picture perfect lead-out for Andre Greipel during Stage 4. Henderson’s final 1-min sprint averaged 663W and maxed out at 1150W!

A close runner-up for best lead-out shown on TrainingPeaks is ORICA-GreenEDGE rider Daryl “The Incredible” Impey’s lead-outs for teammate Matt Goss during Stage 2. Goss won the intermediate sprint thanks to Impey’s 1284W max lead-out. Then, Impey made a huge effort in the final 10 km, averaging 460W for six minutes to keep Goss well-positioned for the sprint. Impey cranked out up to 1388W during the final lead-out, which carried Goss to his third place finish that day.

Best Display of Teamwork

Team Sky’s excellent teamwork was demonstrated throughout the Stage 15 race data, not just from Bernie Eisel but also Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and Pieter Weening’s (ORICA-GreenEDGE) numbers. The first hour and a half of Stage 15, Weening and Sorensen jostled for position to make the winning breakaway, with Sky repeatedly neutralizing attempts by various riders until the right mix of riders who represented little threat to the yellow jersey was allowed to go up the road. Check out Weening’s 15+ attacks over 500W in the first hour a half.

Hard Man

He may have won “Most Aggressive Rider” in the Tour, but we’re going to give Chris Anker Sorensen (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) our own award for “Hard Man” of the riders we profiled for the Tour. During Stage 17, Sorensen suffered injuries to several fingers as he tried to extract a newspaper from his front wheel. Sorensen received treatment from the doctor and still managed to finish 24th that day - not to mention set his Peak 60-Min, 90-Min, and 120-Min Power sessions for the day AFTER the injury! The next day, Sorensen came back to ride Stage 18, bring back the sprint finish, and completed the Tour to be awarded “Most Aggressive Rider”.

Best Blast from the Past

Back in September 2011, Chris Froome from Team Sky made his name known during the Vuelta a Espana. We were lucky enough then to get to analyze the data from his Vuelta Time Trial, and the day after Froome placed second at the Stage 9 ITT at the Tour this year, @scienceofsport dug up and shared our analysis of his Vuelta TT file on Twitter. Dig into Froome’s TrainingPeaks Activity Viewer from the Vuelta ITT, during which he took the overall lead at the race and finished top 3 with Bradley Wiggins (sound familiar?). Check out what Froome’s Functional Threshold Power (FTP) was back then during this 1-hour TT - approximately 400 W (5.8w/kg). Our full analysis is on TeamSky.com.

Toughest Stage

To determine the toughest stage among the data we captured, we assessed each of the riders for whom we had several stages of Tour data. We looked at when each rider’s maximum daily Training Stress Score (TSS), Peak 1-hour Power, and Peak 3-hour Power values occurred (TSS quantifies the “workload” performed based on intensity and duration of the workout. You earn 100 TSS for a 1-hour workout at 100% effort).

Based on the summary data below and for the riders we profiled, Stage 16 is the clear-cut winner for toughest stage, where Jani Brajkovic (Astana), Bernie Eisel (Team Sky) and Chris Anker Sorensen all set their max daily TSS of over 400 points. Given that Stage 16 was the stage that included the “Circle of Death” of two Cat 1 climbs and 2 uncategorized climbs, as well as the highest point in the Tour...this is not a surprise.

A final note on just how hard the Tour de France really is...

The 99th Tour de France finished by making history - we congratulate Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky on being the first British rider to win the Tour de France! However, simply finishing the Tour is an incredible feat of its own. We looked at Bernie Eisel’s data to give us a sense of how much work it takes to finish the Tour de France.

In the past 3 weeks, Bernie Eisel racked up over 5400 TSS points (TSS shown on the blue bars above), meaning he was averaging approximately 1800 TSS/week for 3 weeks, with only two rest days! To put that into perspective, in his article “How Hard is the Tour de France” Joe Friel (author of The Cyclist’s Training Bible) considers 150 TSS to be the threshold for one “hard workout” - near race effort. Another way he puts it is that the daily TSS for a Tour rider is about double what most of us do in a road race. Imagine racing or riding hard 6 days in a row...as inconceivable as that is, you’d still likely only be putting in half the work the TDF riders do!

As cyclists and athletes ourselves here at TrainingPeaks, it’s been an honor to be able to present race analysis from the Tour de France, and cover the achievements of some of the best athletes in the world. It’s also been a ton of fun. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Note: We have had a few readers comment that 1 kCal =4.18jK. However, kJ roughly converts to kCal for our purposes. Here's why: The kJ is a measure of work, and your powermeter measures that work. So, if you did 1500kJ ride, you did 1500/4.18=359kCals of work at your power meter. However, to say you burned 359 kCals to do this work would require 100% conversion of energy used by your body to the 359 kCals measured at the powermeter. This is not the case, as your body is only 22-25% efficient (the rest of that energy is lost as heat leaving the body). So, let's say you are 23% efficient. That means to get those 1500kJ or 359 kCals of work, you actually used 1560kCals (359/0.23=1560). Another way to say it is that if you take 4.18 kJ/kCal x 23%, you get .9614kJ/kCal or about 1kJ of work (measured at the powermeter) for each kCal burned.

Analysis by TrainingPeaks Education Specialist Shawn Heidgen (@sheidgen). Article by TrainingPeaks Content Editor Gloria Liu (@thats_my_line).

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