TdF 2009 - Epilogue

27 Jul 2009

In the 17th stage, the hardest of the whole Tour, the best riders got to the top of Col du Romme (800m at an average gradient of 9%) with a VAM = 1798 m/h, equal to 6.20 w/kg, a demanding pace for every rider, except Contador.
In fact in the time trial the following day, all the main contenders (especially Armstrong and Nibali) lost important time from Alberto.

Two day later the first 5 km at 9.5% of Mt Ventoux were tackled at 1850 m/h (6.27 w/kg); followed by a slowing down in the following 5 km (7.8%) with a VAM= 1450m/h, while the last 5km at 8.6% were done at VAM = 1755 m/h, equal to 6.13 w/kg.
The latter being a remarkable performance considering the altitude and the headwind.

ALBERTO CONTADOR dominated the TdF 2009, winning both on the climbs and in time trials, confirming his recent supremacy in stage races.

Antoine Vayer on Liberation and Greg Lemond on LeMonde proposed the usual rancid suspicions on his performances, quoting an average power output of 490w on the Verbier uphill finish: 8.5 km at 7.5% done in 20'55", at the average speed of 24.3 km/h.
An absolutely false valuation: a cyclist weighing 62 kg develops less than 420w at such speed on that gradient.
All it takes is to try and ride 5 minutes on a 7.5% climb at 24.3 km/h with a properly calibrated power-meter on the bike... but evidently the two "experts" did not have the time to do it.

LANCE ARMSTRONG had a good Tour, with excellent uphill performances in the last week, showing us that his outstanding recovery skills are still there.

I read that during the "Grand Boucle" he had to raise the saddle of his bike, putting 2-4 mm higher than his usual measure in the past.
This may be due to a hip anteversion caused by his running practice in the last couple of years and/or a lower fat mass in the buttocks area.

BRADLEY WIGGINS was the surprise of this Tour: he was impressive in the 20' ascent to Verbier, while he still has to improve on longer climbs.
We've noticed the usual unjustified suspects on him too, but what probably struck more was the "license of virginity" he was promptly credited with by Pat McQuaid: I wouldn't want that this transformed into a "license of impunity"...