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Morzine-Avoriaz - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, 204 km
6.4 Watts per kilo for Chris Anker!!!
Huge day in the mountains today for Chris Anker. He played a big role in Andy Schleck's attack up the Madeleine and Bjarne Riis commented, "The plan was to put on huge pressure if Andy [Schleck] was feeling alright and thankfully, he was flying," said Riis. "Jens [Voigt], Chris [Anker Sorensen] and Jakob [Fuglsang] put in a world class effort and they actually started the massacre on our opponents."
Chris was very attentive up the Columbiere and rode near the front, riding right at his functional threshold power(390-400watts) before the little downhill near the middle of the climb. Afterward, he rode below his threshold around 350 watts to finish the Columbiere. Luckily for him the Aravis climb was much easier as was the Col de Saisies.
All that resting was needed for the big showdown on the Madeleine though. Chris went right to the front at the base of the climb and began setting the highest pace he could set for the climb in order to burn off as many riders as possible, thus launching Andy Schleck in a breakaway. Chris' effort was highly effective as when he did pull over from the pace making at the front, there were hardly 15 riders left in the front group. In that 10 minutes that he was on the front, he averaged 410 watts, or 6.4 watts per kilogram! This pace was clearly above his FTP, as he could only maintain it for 10 minutes and when he pulled over, he rode at 358 watts for the next ten minutes in order to recover. For Chris, the entire Madeleine climb was 1:16 minutes long at an average normalized power of 334 watts.
Hardest day in the Tour so far!
Will it be the hardest day in the Tour?
So far in the Tour, this has been the hardest stage. At 6 hours long, Chris burned 5233 kilo joules, or about 5500 kilo calories and he needs to eat tonight! His Training Stress Score for the ride was 358 points which means that today's ride had the equivalent training stress as 3 1/2 back to back 1 hour long time trials! He is going to be sore tomorrow! His normalized power(the power he would have averaged had he pedaled smoothly the entire time) was 301 watts or an average of 4.7 watts per kilogram. For 6 hours. Yes. Average normalized power was 4.7w/kg for 6 HOURS. That is absolutely incredible and remember that he isn't even the team leader!
All in all, an outstanding performance by Chris Anker. We have seen this from him in last year's Tour as well, when he did roughly the same effort on Stage 20, leading out the Schleck's at the base of Mt. Ventoux. Chris has the ability to climb with the worlds best for sure and today was one of them. Had he been on his own, I would venture to guess that he could have climbed with Levi Leipheimer in that group and finished in the top 15. Team Saxo bank has one of the strongest well rounded teams in the tour this year and Chris Anker is without a doubt one of the most important riders to help Andy in the mountains.