TdF 2005 - The Pyrenees

- Stage 14 -

A VAM of 1600 m/h on top of the Port de Pailhères, 15 km of climbing at 8.1% average gradient, with 35° C temperature and the T-Mobile team setting a furious pace since the very first km.
The peloton exploded and the race became a sort of individual time trial (45’ for the best ones).

1600 m/h may not seem so exceptional a performance, but we have to consider that the heat reduces performances by about 1% for every degree of temperature above 22° C.

Energies got thin and even on the final ascent to Ax-3 Domaines (22 minutes for 600 m of difference in height), Armstrong couldn’t do more than 1636 m/h.

 - Stage 15 -

It was a little less hot than the previous stage (about 30° C), but the very demanding course with 6 climbs, although not so long ones, selected the best enduring riders, those who didn’t spend too much the day before.
In a stage race, when trying to do the GC, one has to avoid spending 100% of the energy if the next day there is another hard mountain stage.

Ivan Basso and Lance Armstrong on the final climb (10.3 km at 8.3% gradient) got to the top in 30’15” with a VAM of 1700 m/h.
But a great George Hincapie and Pereiro Sio, together for 190 km, made it only 2’30” slower than the Yellow Jersey (1564 m/h).

17 Jul 2005