15 Mar 2009
A spectacular show by Alberto Contador on the Montagne de Lure (13.5 km at 6.7%): he dropped everybody with a steady progression and in the last 6 km of the climb gave 58" to Frank Schleck and Luis Leon Sanchez and 1'27" to Cadel Evans.
His VAM in the last 6km at 7.3% was 1752 m/h (6.48w/kg), at an altitude comprised between 1200 and 1600m.
Schleck and Sanchez did 1642 m/h (6.08w/kg), a performance that was 6.6% inferior to the young spaniard's,
Evans was further back at 1592 m/h (5.89w/kg), about 10% less performing.
The whole climb was done in 33'42" at and average speed of 26.7 km/h, with Alberto's VAM of 1629m/h, corresponding to 6.26 w/kg.
Excellent performances which confirm his status as the strongest climber of the moment.
Indeed it was his performance in the flat prologue that impressed and surprised me the most: his square of velocity resulted 9.5% superior than Evans' and 11% superior than Schleck's, both riders of similar size to Contador's, but also 2.7% better than Sanchez, a strong rouleur-climber of 74 kg.
Remarkably superior to his rivals, then.
But the worst enemy of every cyclist, even of Champions, the hunger crisis, is always behind the corner and this time it was Contador to pay the price in yesterday's stage (191 km, with 3000m of total climbing).
Probably also due to a tactical mistake (he should have cooperated with Luis Leon and Colom when they were in the front at 15km from the finish), the Astana rider suddenly was running empty when he had to respond to attacks from riders who caught up from the peloton, giving in almost 3' in the last 5km.