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July 2, Passage du Gois La Barre-de-Monts - Mont des Alouettes Les Herbiers, 191km
The Tour starts with a road stage rather than the traditional prologue time trial and with an uphill finish too. The day started in unusual fashion as well, with the riders parading over the Passage du Gois, which disappears under the high tide.
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 4:41:31
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:00:06
134 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling 2:36
For the first stage of the Tour De France, this was really a pretty easy day. It only was in the final 30 minutes or so when the pace picked up and there was a large crash that held up many riders which created the time gaps at the finish. With many of the favorites losing time (including Contador), Flecha made the front group. Unfortunately for him, he thought he heard on the team radio to wait for Bradley Wiggins so he waited and dropped back a couple of groups, only to find out that Wiggins had made the front group.
A solid stage in and of itself though with 117 miles covered in a little less than 5 hours, makes for an average speed of 24.4 mph. Flecha burned roughly 3,500 kilo calories today, so let the feasting begin, as it's only going to get worse from here. His Training Stress Score (TSS)* was 187 with an Intensity Factor (IF)* of .62, making this an 'active rest' day overall, but clearly, the last hour and 45 minute were not rest. The pace picked up and Flecha put out a Normalized Power (NP)* of 318 watts for this time period, which included a short Category 4 climb. It was here, and then during the final push home that Flecha was pushed to the edge. Meaning, in the last 24 minutes, Flecha was at or close to his Functional Threshold Power (FTP)* of 385 watts and his normalized power for that time was indeed 382 watts. It's too bad that he dropped back to help or potentially help Bradley Wiggins as it cost him in terms of energy for the finish and for upcoming days, although his job is clear as a support role for Wiggins in the overall.
Team Sky Race Coach Bobby Julich said, "Flecha felt good today and stayed out of the crashes. He was in the front group after the crash, but thought he heard to "wait for Bradley" over the radio, so he went back only to find out later that Bradley was in the front. It was chaos back there and it was a simple mistake, but proves that he is as loyal as they come while working for a leader."
* Click here to learn what TSS, IF, NP and FTP are, and how you can use these metrics along with a power meter to optimize your own training and racing just like pro's. Click here if you don't have a power meter but still want the benefits some of the same metrics in your training and rackng.
File Analysis by Hunter Allen, Co-Author of "Training and Racing with a Power Meter" and Co-Developer of TrainingPeaks WKO+ analysis software.
Data captured by SRM Powercontrol 7.
Thank you to Team Sky Pro Cycling and Juan Antonio Flecha for allowing us to share race data and provide analysis on today's stage.
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