Stage 1: Porto-Vecchio - Bastia 213km
Rider Profile: Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
Stage Placing: 123rd
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The first stage of the 100th Tour de France got under way with a flat profile route on the Island of Corsica, perfect racing conditions. With the likelihood of a bunch sprint taking place at the end of the 213km stage, early attacks were on the cards for those keen and aggressive riders who wanted to start the Tour with a bang.
Juan Antonia was one of those riders. The break rode a steady effort before the first and only categorised climb of the day, 254w, 3.4 w/kg in the first 44km and this enabled the break to maintain a lead between 2-3min in the first hour of racing. Many of Flecha’s peak powers were on the 1.11km Cote de Sotta. The total time on the climb was 2min long riding the 4.8% gradient at 33.4kph average. His average power was 470w, 6.3 w/kg which was an effort above his threshold and using into his Vo2 ability to maintain the break’s lead as it tried to keep the gap on the main field.
With the yo-yoing of the time gap to the bunch continuing after the climb the break maintained and increased their lead over the next 2 1/4hrs of racing. In this period Juan was able to maintain the 250w average, 279 Normalised Power (NP), as the group worked well to stay out front before the sprinters team took up the charge as they approached the line. The break was able to have one last flurry as they fought out for the only intermediate sprint of the day at San Giuliano 150km mark. Knowing the powerful sprint of breakaway companion Lars Boom, Flecha attempted an early attack to get the jump on his breakaway companions with a 500m maximal effort which averaged 832w, 11.1 w/kg for 36sec and this effort maxed out at 1193w. This effort was not enough to dispel Boom from the win in the intermediated sprint but left Juan second from the breakaway.
The break’s fate was to last another 30km before they were reeled in before the chaotic sprint that was to greet the riders in the last 10km of the stage. Thankfully Flecha managed to finish the stage on the same time as the lead bunch after the many crashes that tore the bunch apart in the last 7km to the line.
With a final Training Stress Score (TSS) score of 242 and an Intensity Factor (IF) of 0.70 this was a solid start for Juan and his team in the Tour. The TSS score is high enough to the stage a big day out but not large enough that would result in Juan unable to recover from the efforts. This seasoned Pro’s ability to hit out TSS scores of 240-270 day after day and still compete is one of the real traits of the biggest riders in the world, this is the reason they are the highest trained endurance athletes in the sport.
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Stage Summary 4:57:56
261 Average Watts
295 Normalized Power
86 Average Cadence
137 bpm Average Heart Rate
20 sec at 988 W
30:00 min at 298 W
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