Rider Profile: Greg Henderson
Height: 1m 81
Tour de France Stage 4: Abbeville - Rouen 214.5km
Greipel wins Tour de France stage in Rouen
The stage was a perfect opportunity for the sprinters and their teams to make a mark on the race as every opportunity to strike out on a result in this extremely hard fought Tour is not one to be missed. So the nervousness and anxiety of a swelling and erratic peloton in the last 20km of a Tour de France stage is not a place for the faint hearted, cue the lead out men who have the job to not only chaperone their team leader but also put their limbs on the line in the process. Who better to do this job than prolific winner in his own right, Greg Henderson, who is partaking in his first Tour de France in the service of André Greipel of Germany. Greg has been racing at the top level of the sport for many years and has the tag of one of the best lead out men in the business and we now have the power files to confirm his strengths along with the results this formidable Lotto-Belisol team have gained so far in this years Tour.
The data shows that for the first three hours of the stage Greg had an average power of 146 watts which is below his endurance range, proving that the initial 100km on the stage was a conservative affair for this lead out man whose mindset was on the race final and making sure had all his bullets left to use come 10km to go. So for these reasons we can see that he has done a perfect job to conserve his energy for the final kilometres. The fireworks really started in the last 25km of the stage and fighting for position is the priority and keeping your sprinter and GC riders out of harm's way, this is seen by Greg’s average speed of 49kph in the section from 25km to 10km to go approximately - with an average power of 231w (260w Normalized) and 3.3w/kg, the effort was starting to ramp up as you would be expected coming into the final of this stage.
With an increase of nearly 2 watts per kilo difference between those two sections you can see that a major concerted effort was made by the Lotto-Belisol team to keep Greipel out of danger and using the initial lead out men to keep the pace high at or near the front. This proved to be a excellent move to take the reins at the front of the bunch as a major crash just 15 riders back from the front at 2.7km to go caused major chaos for some of Greipel’s main adversaries, but this left Greg and his team in a excellent position to finish the job as the pace was at a level that no one was going to take over there dominant position at the head of the bunch while the chaos of the crash behind was casing havoc to the other lead out trains and sprint favourites. At this point Greg was still sitting on the wheel of his fellow lead out men sitting at a cool 60kph.
From this you can see an average close to 60km per hour in this last kilometre with Greipel having to come off his teammate's wheel and starting his own sprint as Greg was hitting close to 68kph.... Amazing to say the least having to start a winning sprint while your lead out man is sitting at 68kph! Greg’s cadence averaged 109rpm which shows his ability to hold a high sustained cadence producing a maximal effort, an early career schooling on the track showing it’s benefits here. A max effort of 1150w for a guy of 70kg is a power to weight of 16.5 w/kg at the tip of this text book lead out. A very high anaerobic effort produced after a solid previous 20min gradual rise in speed and power.
Aurthor: Dan Fleeman - Director Forme Coaching
Sometimes watching a bike race doesn’t do justice to how hard a sport cycling really is.
In football and other pitch-played sports, if a player falls over or is injured, they simply substitute him and bring on a replacement.
But when a bike rider hits the deck at 50+kph he is expected to jump straight back on, chase after the bunch, rejoin the race and in some
cases contest the finish, no matter what injuries they’ve incurred.
In a lot of cases the true nature of the injuries will not be fully understood until the rider has finished the race and gone off to
hospital. It’s hard to imagine a footballer finishing a game before going to hospital to see if his leg is broken.
It’s even been known for riders not to go to hospital because they think they have a broken bone; but don’t want it to be confirmed because it would mean they may not be able to start the next day. They feel it’s better to cope with the pain, finish the race and then get it treated once the race is over. Stage six of this year’s Tour saw the riders cover 207.5 km from Epernay to Metz.
It was the last flat stage before the riders headed into the mountains and with it being a flat parcours, many would expect a
straightforward stage which would end with a bunch sprint - but this is the Tour de France - and there was nothing straightforward about the stage.
A massive crash 25 km from the finish saw the GC hopes of some top contenders like Ryder Hesjedal ended and those of others such as Frank Schleck and Robert Geslink, severely damaged. As the break was still ahead of the bunch when the big pile up happened, the bunch could not afford to slow and wait, with a lot of GC contenders and some sprinters left behind.
In fact only 60 riders were left to contest the bunch sprint in Metz. One rider who had made his way back after crashing was Andre Greipel; he was in a lot pain due to a dislocated shoulder and sprained wrist sustained in the crash and didn’t want to contest the sprint.
But his Lotto-Belisol teammates, including loyal lead-out man Greg Henderson - who had done so much work for his team leader all week – talked the German into contesting the finish. It was business as usual as the Lotto-Belisol boys hit the front in the closing kilometres to form their famous sprint train.
Even with such severe injuries, the German power house almost pulled off his third stage win; but this time he had to settle for second
behind the very much in form Peter Sagan. The first three hours were relatively easy for Greg, with an average power of 179 watts and a normalized power of 244 watts he was effectively riding in zone 1/2 the entire time.
The low average speed of 37.7kph shows that the peloton was prepared to take it easy while the breakaway got on with the job at hand.
Into the fourth hour things started to get serious with the speed up to 46kph average and a few rises in altitude giving an
average watts of 230 and a normalized power of 285 watts; for Greg with an FTP of 375 watts this is right in his zone three, so in other words a fast sustained tempo.
The final hour saw the pace pick up to a rapid 52kph average with the final 30 minutes average over 55kph. All Greg’s peak powers for the stage came in this final hour with Greg performing six efforts of over 900w inside the final 2.5 kilometres with his team taking control of the front of the bunch.
Greg hit the front inside the final 500m and averaged 66kph for 300m before dropping Greipel off with 200m to go - and
getting so close to win number three.
960w for 18 seconds and a max speed of 67.6kph and max power of 1230w after 5.25 hours racing is seriously impressive power. See the full file here.
Final Lead-out: 18" 960 W Avg, 1230 W max
5:15:24 - 5:15:42
MIN AVG MAX
Power (Watts): 443 960 1230
Speed (km/h): 61.0 66.0 67.6
Pace (min/km): 00:59 00:55 00:53
Cadence (rpm): 104 109 111
Elev (m): 247 248 249
Temp (C): 24 24 24
Greg Henderson’s Race data
Tour de France Stage 9: Arc-et-Senans - Besançon (ITT) 41.5km
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 0:51:24
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:35
3 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:57
137 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team 0:07:40
Greg has a threshold of 375w currently and you can see from the file that he averaged 338w which is around 90% of his FTP and 4.8w/kg for the duration of the 59min it took Greg to complete the 41km course.