Tour de France 2014, Part II
At 29 years of age Vincenzo Nibali deservedly won by a wide margin an edition of the TdF deprived of the two main favorites at the start of the race, both forced to abandon early (crashes).
Impossible to say how it would have turned out with them in the end, but with his absolute domination of the competition Nibali has left the impression that the Sicilian would have won anyway.
Apparently without ever engaging in a full on effort, he seemed to play with his opponents on the climbs, often expressing powers between 6.00 and 6.3 w/kg (378-397 watts, assuming a weight of 63kg), never showing a decline in performance in the three-week race.
An interesting analysis of the 17th stage, 3h35' for about 124 km, arriving in Pla d 'Adet:
- on the Portillon (590m at 7%) Nibali's group climbed in 22' at 5.94 w/kg
- on the Peyresourde (925m at 7%) he climbed in 40' at 5.13 w/kg
- the Val-Louron Azet (614m at 8.3%) was done by the best riders in 22'50" at 5.77 w/kg
- on the Pla d 'Adet (846m at 8.3%) Nibali climbed in 30'30" - 1664 m/h - 5.94 w/kg
Considering only the KOM climbs, the total climbing was nearly 3000m, done in about 115min.
The average power developed by Nibali on the 4 ascents was 5.63 w/kg = 355 watts (63kg).
An average power of 355W requires an expenditure of 1280 Kcal/h; therefore in those 115min of 4 KOM alone, the caloric request is 2450 Kcal.
Considering the expressed intensities, normally this energy demand could be met only by CHO: it would require about 612g.
If we imagine the rest of the stage, about 1h40', to be done at an average of 220 watts, it required approximately an additional 1400 kcal, of which at least 50% were provided by another 175g of CHO...
Almost 800g of CHO is an amount that far exceeds the maximum capacity of saturation of glycogen stores and therefore confirms the extraordinary ability of Nibali to use fat as fuel, saving the CHO for the final stage, where he made the difference over the rivals.
On the ascent to Hautacam (13.6 km at 7.8%) Vincenzo rode alone "in the wind" for 11 km, climbing in 37'30", VAM = 1696 m/h = 6.28 w/kg = 395w.