TdF 2013 - Part I
Chris Froome's uphill performance on the climb towards Ax-3-Domaines spurred the usual schizophrenic comments from "experts" who claim to identify the limits of human performance and to divide the "Good Boys from the Bad Apples."
Those same commentators who have recently stated that "climbing performances are now reduced by 20% (!) compared to 10 years ago", today are forced to revise their self-interested calculations.
On the 8 km 8% gradient ascent, Froome climbed in 21'30", 30" faster than Armstrong (2005) and 10" faster than the Contador - Andy Schleck duo (2010), with a VAM = 1786 m/h = 6.37w/kg.
An extrapolated performance, of course, that does not take account of the drafting and the wind, but that is in line with the efforts expressed in training from Froome and Porte on the climb of the Col de la Madone, a week before the start of the Tour: a reported time of "under 31min", with 6.6 w/kg.
<i>"The race is already over, team Sky is the strongest, there is nothing we can do"</i>, was the chorus of comments, Marc Madiot at the helm.
Instead, the following morning there were those who decided to move the challenge from power to resistance: team Garmin, heavily defeated the day before, set the race on fire since the beginning and already on the first climb ALL of team Sky (except Froome) got into serious trouble (too much turbo-trainer before the start, perhaps...?).
Attacks and and counter-attacks followed one another: the race was burning, like the legs of the riders: 80 km from the finish, with Peyresourde, Val Louron and La Hourquette still to climb, Froome was hopelessly alone, surrounded by 6 Movistar and 5 Saxo, all of whom incredibly failed to take advantage of this unique opportunity to put the English rider in the wind, eventually chasing each other, with Froome on their wheel.
The five ascents of the day (total of 3500m of climbing) were all well done above 5 w/kg, for a total of about 2h30min of M-S effort, resulting in an hourly consumption of more than 1200 Kcal, a pace that only those with the best endurance were able to maintain.