This was my second Tour and seventh Grand Tour. I didn’t have the ideal preparations for racing on Tour because, after my crash in Giro, there was a big question mark over my race calendar and my physical condition. Due to the different illnesses and injuries of my teammates, I got my place on the team for the Tour. And I’m very grateful and proud of it. However, I’m not particularly happy with my performance because I wasn’t there in any of the winning breakaways and I only managed a solid result on the ITT. I’m still looking for answers to questions like “what did I do wrong”. Tour is the biggest race and preparations for it start as early as in May (or even earlier). I found I will race very last minute, and I didn’t have the right time to prepare for it. Also, because of my Giro injury, I couldn’t do any altitude training camp, which (I found later on) is an absolute must for me to be well prepared for a Grand Tour. I also had very little time to prepare myself mentally for the biggest race of the season. Before the Tour started, I believed everything can go smoothly but I soon realized then the race was extremely tough, and it won’t get any easier. Without the right preparation, bad days keep happening, affecting your motivation and focus. For illustration and out of my own curiosity I gathered some data which describe the circumstances we raced in. Enjoy 😊
6. stage: Binche – Longwy: Very tough stages. Breakaway after breakaway for 1h45min (or 87 km), average speed 49 km/h, average watts 279, 360/NP (avg.).
12. stage: Briançon – L’Alpe d’Huez: Crazy! What an atmosphere. Sweat and alcohol in the air. Vive le Tour 😊
15. stage: Rodez – Carcassonne: Extremely hot stage. Average temperature 40°C, max. temperature 45°C.
16. stage: Carcassonne – Foix: Another hot stage with high humidity too (average temperature 37 ° C, max. temperature 41°C.
18. etapa: Lourdes – Hautacam: 4036 vertical meters. The winner needed 4 hours to finish the stage. I rode 4h 35min. Average watts for the disco group that day were 254/ 299 NP (avg). The time limit was 40 min.
21. stage: Paris La Defense – Paris (Champs-Elysees): Coffee ride to Champs-Elysees. For the first hour and 50 minutes (or first 50 km), we had an average speed of 27,8 km/h.
The highest speed achieved on stage 9: 96 km/h.
Below is a graph of my max. heart rate during all stages. As you can see, rest days are much needed/wanted 😊
Photo: Sprint Cycling, Poci’s Pix, Personal Archive