July 23, Stage 18: Salies-de-Bearn - Bordeaux 198km
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team HTC - Columbia 4:37:09
2 Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Transitions
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha
103 Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
3rd Easiest day in the Tour!
After all the mountains, definitely a nicer easier day. Chris only scored 202 TSS today with an intensity factor of .65. Similar to earlier flat stages in what seems like a lifetime ago for Chris I would imagine. The power profile of today's stage is nearly identical to stage 4 and 11. Fast at the start until the break goes away, then cruise for a few hours and finally a fast finish in the last 30 minutes.
A fast start of course as the break of the day got reeled in multiple times before the 'break' finally got the seperation that was needed. Chris' normalized power(381) for that 15 minutes was near his threshold(395) and that really lets us know how fast it was and that it was full of attacks and counterattacks. Afterwards, the pace eased a bit, but many teams were not too keen on allowing a break to steal the day from the sprinters, so the break's maximum time gap was kept in check. This, along with nearly 2 hours of slight crosswinds forced Chris to pedal more than he normally would in a flat stage. He only managed to NOT pedal 9 % of the time which is much less than his normal 15-20% of NOT pedaling on previous stages. However, the pedaling he did do was almost all in his recovery zone with 59% in that zone.
In the last 33 minutes as the breakaway was being reeled in, Chris' power went up a bit from his recovery pace and his normalized power for this was 308 watts, so in the lower side of his Tempo pace. This section was quite quick though and contained numerous wattage bursts up to 1000 watts as Chris was jumping from wheel to wheel as needed. With no one to lead out for the finish and Andy Schleck safe in the peloton, Chris' goal was to finish in the peloton and stay out of trouble, which he did perfectly.
Chris is almost to Paris with only a Time Trial to go. You can do it Chris!