Tour de France 2020

Power Analysis: Sorensen tapering into the rest day

You may be surprised by the Tour stage that required a 7.0 watts per kilogram power output for Chris Anker Sørensen in the race's second week

Editor’s Note: Thanks to, throughout the Tour de France we are looking at Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider Chris Anker Sørensen’s power data. Today, Jon Tarkington, senior coach at FasCat Coaching and Performance Cycling Center in Boulder, Colorado, recaps Sørensen’s data from the race’s second week. For questions or comments please email Jon.

The 2012 Tour de France is Chris Anker Sørensen’s fourth and his eighth grand tour overall. In short, this isn’t Sørensen’s (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) first rodeo and he knows how to survive a three-week tour while making the most of his opportunities. The Dane had a good first two weeks at the Tour, finding his way into multiple breakaways. As the race approached the second rest day, Sørensen’s power files showed a mild taper, perhaps part of an experienced plan for the final week. It paid off Wednesday when Sørensen finished second to Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in Luchon (more on that stage in a later power analysis).

Stage 12 Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne — Annonay Davezieux 226km

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After a long day off the front during stage 11, Sorensen was again ready for action on stage 12. He joined a group of riders attacking on the Col du Granier where his normalized power was 350 watts (5.45 w/kg) for just over 30 minutes. With green jersey Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) in the move, the group was doomed, however. An early group of escapees went to the line and Sørensen rode in with the peloton. That didn’t mean the Dane’s work was over for the day. The final six minutes of the stage saw Sørensen put out 411W (6.42 w/kg) after six hours and over 300 TSS, anything but a cruise to the line.

Stage 13 Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux — Le Cap d’Agde 217km

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Stage 13 provided a dynamic final hour of racing for the entire field, and Sørensen was no exception. As the peloton was fully entrenched in the second week of race, in his final hour, Sørensen had a normalized power of 360W (5.6 w/kg). The five-minute climb of Mont Saint Claire came during that final hour. Sørensen put out a 450W (7.0 w/kg) effort to stay in contact with the bunch. The windswept plains to the finish that followed saw the field torn apart by crosswinds and a driving Lotto-Belisol team. This stretch saw Sørensen finish this great hour of racing with a normalized power of 373W (5.82 w/kg) after yet another five hours of racing, and a TSS of 280.

Stage 14 Limoux — Foix 191km

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As the race approached the second rest day it also entered the foothills of the Pyrénées. With the previous days taking their toll, Sørensen was clearly set on conserving during this stage. The first climb of the day saw the early break become established in a very fast first hour of racing. During that hour, Sørensen put out 410W (6.4 w/kg) on the 11-minute Col du Portel climb. As the day wore on, he managed to climb the 36-minute Port de Lers at 314W (4.96 w/kg), a relatively easy effort compared to what lay ahead. The final climb of the day, the Mur de Péguère, saw Sorensen’s peak 20 minutes of power for the day at 370W (5.78 w/kg) after four hours and 211 TSS. The remainder of this stage was marred by a near neutralized, “tacky” finish for the peloton that wreaked havoc on riders and team cars alike.

Stage 15 Samatan — Pau 158.5km

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A hilly profile and nervous peloton made stage 15 an incredibly difficult intermediate stage that opened with an hour of the peloton averaging more than 45 kph. The terrain also made for an interesting first 90 minutes of racing. The pace was fast and power outputs high as various groups attempted to establish themselves with the right mix for the day. During this time Sørensen put out an impressive 320W (5.0 w/kg). With the right mix finally off the front for the day, Sørensen had relatively easy trip to the finish and, at last, the second rest day. This stage provided the easiest day yet for Sørensen at four hours and a TSS of 240.

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