By Dirk Friel
The overall classification for the top 10 in the Tour de France has not changed since last weekend’s stages in the Pyrenees. Monday was a rest day and stage 10 and 11 have been won in field sprints by Team Columbia-HTC’s Mark Cavendish.
Team Saxo Bank’s Chris Anker Sorensen continues to ride well within his first Tour de France. He is recovering quickly and has been well within his comfort zone the last two stages. However, many others have been, as well, so we should expect some real fireworks as the Tour enters the Alpes in a few days.
This was a fairly easy day for Chris. There wasn’t much to do except fetch bottles and keep watch over his team leader Andy Schleck. With little drama in the stage it ended up almost being a recovery day for him.
If you look at Chris’s maximum 5-minute value, he only averaged 336w. This is a very easy pace for Chris since he could probably maintain that wattage for several hours. He also only averaged 198watts in the final hour of racing, which is quite a lot less than previous stages last week.
The overall intensity factor (IF) for stage 10 was only .68, as compared to Sunday’s .81 rating. Chris also coasted for a lot of stage 10. He pedaled between 0-20 revolutions per minute for 27 percent of the stage. That is quite a lot of coasting!
Stage 11 was almost a complete repeat of stage 10 for Chris. The stage was primarily flat and uneventful since Team Columbia HTC had a confident and very dominant Mark Cavendish. Cavendish’s team took control and chased down a two-man breakaway and sealed the deal on a fourth stage victory for their sprinter in this year’s Tour.
The tactics by Team Columbia HTC also meant Team Saxo Bank riders could focus all of their attention on keeping Andy Schleck safe and sound the past two days. Chris did everything possible to make sure his team leader enters the Alpes as fresh as possible. Including Monday’s rest day, the past three days have been an opportunity to rest up and look toward the upcoming drama in the Alpes.
Sorensen’s SRM data shows he expended the most energy within the first 20 minutes of the stage, where he averaged 297w, which is a very manageable effort for Chris. His average watts for the stage of 218w were also very low considering his threshold power is near 380w.
Dirk Friel raced professionally on the roads of Europe, Asia and the Americas and is a co-founder of TrainingPeaks.com. You can follow Dirk at twitter.com/dirkfriel.