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The 100th Tour de France has been an exciting one, with so many different stage winners and overall leaders. With a break from the traditional format for the first week of racing and some other unexpected events, even what would normally be “predictable” finishes have been filled with surprises and thrilling finishes.
Stage 10 was a day marked for the sprinters and they did not disappoint, with Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) just edging out fellow German Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) at the line. Greipel had a perfect leadout from teammate Greg Henderson but Kittel was just a little faster.
Stage 10 results
1. Marcel Kittel, Argos-Shimano
2. André Greipel, Lotto-Belisol
3. Mark Cavendish, Omega Pharma-Quick Step
12. Greg Henderson, Lotto-Belisol
176. David Lopez Garcia, Sky
Today, we compare Henderson’s data with that of another domestique, David Lopez from Sky. While both are considered domestiques, the similarities end there as both have vastly different responsibilities when it comes to protecting their team leaders. Henderson is a top sprinter and is one of the best leadout men on the UCI ProTour, while Lopez is a climbing specialist who will be guiding race leader Chris Froome through the upcoming mountain stages.
Lopez was clearly conserving energy throughout the stage, knowing that his time to help Froome will come when the Tour hits the mountain stages. With a 30-minute peak power of 249 watts (3.7 w/kg), Lopez was nowhere near his threshold power of 395 watts (5.8 w/kg). 392 watts was his 2-minute peak power for the stage, so this was the longest he rode at his threshold or 60-minute maximum power.
Lopez’s stage summary
211 Average Watts
258 Normalized Power
Henderson stage summary
203 Average Watts
271 Normalized Power
The first four hours were actually pretty similar for the two racers, as Lopez was just conserving in general and Henderson was conserving for the final minutes of the stage. Henderson needs to have as much explosive power as possible at the end of the race in order to help Greipel win the stage.
At the four-hour mark, we can see the numbers are pretty similar between the two riders, with Henderson possibly conserving just a little more than Lopez:
211 Average Watts (3.1 w/kg)
38.5 kph Average Speed
187 Average Watts (2.7 w/kg)
38.4 kph Average Speed
In the last hour, everything changes and Henderson steps up to the plate. Henderson set his 30-minute peak power for the stage in the final 30 minutes, averaging 309 watts (4.4 w/kg) and 372 normalized power at an average speed of 49 kph. In contrast, Lopez’s 30-minute peak power for the stage occurred in the last hour of the race, but not within the final 30 minutes. For his 30-minute peak power, Lopez averaged 249 watts (3.7 w/kg) and 291np at 42.7 kph. Digging in a little deeper, we see that Henderson set his 2-minute peak power on the final leadout averaging 511 watts (7.3 w/kg) and 63.2 kph! Lopez set his 2 -minute peak power about a half hour earlier and averaged 392 watts (5.8 w/kg) averaging 49 kph.
Henderson found the strength to kick again and set his 30-second peak power for the stage to get Greipel as close to the line as possible, going a bit longer than usual — 500 meters (leadouts are typically 200-300 meters) and averaging 712 watts (10.2 w/kg) and 65kph!
It was interesting to see just how similar the two racers were in effort for the first four hours of the stage, but then in the closing kilometers, leadout specialist Henderson was called into action and did everything in his power (literally) to deliver Greipel 200 meters from the line. Henderson gave Greipel a textbook leadout but Kittel had just a little bit more in the tank to come around him at the line.
This is one of the many aspects of racing that makes it such an exciting sport to watch. A team can execute its plan perfectly and another rider or team can foil it at the last minute, stealing the show and the win.
Editor’s note: Thanks to TrainingPeaks.com, we are looking at power data from the 2013 Tour de France. Today, Shawn Heidgen, a USA Cycling certified coach, former professional cyclist, and Education Specialist at TrainingPeaks, recaps the data from stage 10 of the three-week race. For more, follow Shawn on Twitter.