Tour de France 2020

Power Analysis: Sørensen on the attack

TrainingPeaks co-founder looks at Chris Anker Sørensen’s power numbers from his days in the breaks and the Tour’s first time trial

Editor’s Note: Dirk Friel, co-founder and chief evangelist at Peaksware and, will join us throughout the Tour de France to look at the power numbers the sport’s top riders are laying down in France. Up today is Chris Anker Sørensen.

In the first 11 days of racing the Tour de France, Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) raced over 49 hours and made the day’s long breakaway on multiple occasions. While he didn’t come away from the Jura and the Alps with a stage win for Saxo Bank, the Dane put out some impressive power numbers during the first half of the race.

So, what was the hardest day of the Tour de France so far for Sørensen? Without a doubt it was stage 11, where he climbed 15,144 feet and racked up a Training Stress Score (TSS) value of 380. (An athlete earns 100 TSS for an all-out, 60-minute workout.) Stages 7 and 8 both required TSS values of 365 and were the second and third most difficult, respectively. In stage 7, Sørensen was on the attack and tried in vain to keep away from the chasing group on the final La Planche de Belles Filles climb.

Here’s a review of Sørensen’s the data collected through TrainingPeaks and his SRM power meter in stages 7-11.

Stage 11 Albertville — La Toussuire-Les Sybelles 148km

View this stage in TrainingPeaks Activity Viewer.

Stage Results
1. Pierre Rolland, Europcar 4:43:54
2. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ-Big Mat at :55
3. Christopher Froome, Sky at s.t.
7. Chris Anker Sørensen, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at 01:08

Data Summary:
Training Stress Score: 380 TSS
Average Watts: 292 Watts
Energy: 4973 Kilojoules
Average heart rate: 158 bpm
Average speed: 30.6 kph

Sørensen was very aggressive, spending most of the day in a breakaway. A large group of riders, including the Dane, separated itself early on in this mountainous stage, which covered 148km and four major climbs. On the top of Col de la Croix de Fer, Sørensen bridged a small gap to the front group, which included Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) and Chris Horner (Radioshack-Nissan). The front group was reduced down to three riders on the penultimate climb while Sørensen was chasing from behind, maintaining 5.3 w/kg for 16 minutes.

On the final climb of the day, Sørensen fought hard, but kept getting gapped on the steep slopes of the La Toussuire climb. He maintained 326W (5.1 w/kg) for 47 minutes here, after nearly four hours of racing, averaging 21.5 kph while he ascended 1,024 meters. He lost ground to stage winner Rolland, but the GC group of Froome and Wiggins only caught Sørensen in the final few hundred meters and he placed seventh on the stage, moving up to 20th overall.

Following the stage, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s director, Nick Gates, commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone fight the way Chris did throughout the entire stage. It really shows how much heart Chris is putting into his ambitions and how intensely courageous this guy is. Unfortunately, he finished seventh and he deserved so much more today.”

Stage 10 Macon — Bellegarde-sur-Valserine 194.5km

View this stage in TrainingPeaks Activity Viewer.

Stage Results
1. Thomas Voeckler, Europcar 4:46:26
2, Michele Scarponi, Lampre-ISD at :03
3. Jens Voigt, RadioShack-Nissan at :07
38. Chris Anker Sørensen, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at :07

Data Summary:
Training Stress Score: 306 TSS
Average Watts: 234 Watts
Energy: 4139 Kilojoules
Average heart rate: 140 bpm
Max heart rate: 177 bpm
Average speed: 39 kph

The hors categorie Col du Grand Colombier came approximately 151km into the race, and was the toughest climb of the Tour to that point, at 17.4km long with an average grade of 7.1 percent. This was the first time the climb featured in the Tour and Sørensen averaged 331W (5.2 w/kg) and 20.6 kph for 50-plus minutes.

Stage 9 Arc-et-Senans — Besancon (ITT) 41.5km

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Stage Results:
1. Bradley Wiggins, Sky 0:51:24
2. Christopher Froome, Sky at :35
3. Fabian Cancellara, RadioShack-Nissan at :57
56. Chris Anker Sörensen, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at 02:10

Data Summary:
Training Stress Score: 85 TSS
Average Watts: 338 Watts (350np)
Energy: 1197 Kilojoules
Average speed: 41 kph

With his eyes aimed at stage wins and not an overall placing, it is safe to say that Sørensen was not going 100 percent in the stage 9 TT, so his Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is higher than the average power output shown here of 330W. Estimating that his effort was approximately 90 percent of threshold, this would imply an FTP of around 363W (5.7 w/kg). FTP represents a rider’s maximum sustainable power output for a one-hour maximum effort.

Sørensen paced the time trial very steadily, averaging nearly the same power output over the first half (330W) and second half (326W) of the stage.

Stage 8 Belfort — Porrentruy 157.5km

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Stage Results
1. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ-BigMat 3:56:10
2. Cadel Evans, BMC Racing at :26
3. Tony Gallopin, RadioShack-Nissan at s.t.
14 Chris Anker Sørensen, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at 1:25

Data Summary:
Training Stress Score: 341 TSS
Average Watts: 283 Watts (334np)
Energy: 4039 Kilojoules
Average heart rate: 154 bpm
Average speed: 38 kph

Stage 8 produced the highest power values for stages 1-8 between 10 minutes and three hours. In other words, no other stage was as hard beyond the 10-minute mark as what we saw in stage 8.

Sørensen’s peak power values for this stage were:
416W for 10 minutes
375W for 20 minutes
336W for 60 minutes
323W for 90 minutes
289W for 3 hours

Stage 7 Tomblaine — La Planche des Belles Filles 199km

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Stage Results:
1. Chis Froome, Sky 4:58:35
2. Cadel Evans, BMC Racing at :02
3. Bradley Wiggins, Sky at s.t.
50. Chris Anker Sørensen, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at 3:41

Sørensen was in a long breakaway for 180km and 4.5 hours and he averaged 272 watts and 148 bpm heart rate. The real test of the day, though, came on the final 6km climb to La Planche de Belles Filles in the Vosgues Mountains. Sørensen was the last of the breakaway to get caught and the climb took him 20 minutes, during which time he averaged 338W and 166 bpm heart rate.

Editor’s Note: For more Tour de France race files and analysis visit