With Training Peaks publishing the power profiles for some of the professionals riding the Tour de France this year, I’ve taken some time to look over their profiles to break it down and give you a bit more understanding of it. Here are my analysis of both Jay Thomson (Dimension Data) and Nils Politt (Team Katusha) during the 201km Stage 1.
Stage 1 is a 201km flat stage into Fontenay-le-comte there are two sprint primes at 120 & 188km marks with the Category 4 Cot de Vix a 700m 30m climb between them at the 173km mark.
Jay Thomson – Dimension Data
First up is Jay Thomson 32 year old in Dimension Data. He is one of two South African’s in the team. Currently ranked 2,142nd on the UCI rankings. This is his first tour de France after he turned it down a couple of years ago so he could attend his daughters birth. This year he will miss her second birthday. His main role in the team is as a lead-out rider for Mark Cavendish and the Team website refers to him as a Super Domestique.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Quickstep-Floors controlled the race, setting the pace behind a 3-rider breakaway which jumped from the start. Jay Thomson, in his debut Tour de France, lead the main field for the majority of the stage.
As the line approached, there were a few crashes and mechanical’s. Defending champion, Chris Froome (Team Sky) went down, but so too did a number of his GC rivals, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Richie Porte (BMC Racing) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) all losing time together with Froome in the end.
At the front of the race, Dimension Data stayed out of trouble and were ready to go with 5km to go, for the final sprint showdown. Their sprint train didn’t really get together, with a lot of road furniture on the route. Mark Cavendish ended up finishing in 8th place, with Jay Thomson having done his job rolling in 169th place 4:04 behind the winner.
With an FTP of ~399 Watts, the longest Jay spent above his FTP was 6 minutes leading in towards the finish line. His Normalised Power (NP) was 299 Watts, a good 100 Watts below his FTP and he had a Variability Index (VI) of 1.09, which is pretty low for a road race stage, but aligns with the fact he spent most of the stage on the front of the bunch. As he was riding tempo most of the day his Intensity Factor (IF) was 0.75. When it comes to his Peak Power it was 1,100 Watts towards the end of the stage. It was probable that Jay had to close a gap to a wheel in the closing kilometres of the race, as not long afterwards once his job of getting Mark Cavendish to be in a good position for the final kilometres, his power dropped as he cruised to the finish line to finish well down the rankings, but successfully having done his job.
Nils Politt – Team Katusha
Nils Politt is a 24 year old German in Team Katusha. This is his 2nd Tour de France having finished 95th last year. He is an all rounder and TT specialist.
With Team Dimension Data and Quickstep-Floors doing most of the work controlling the race behind the three man breakaway. Team Katusha rode well in the final stages of the race for Marcel Kittel to take 3rd and leader Ilnur Zakarin to finish with the same time whilst some of his main rivals lost time due to crashes or a flat tyre. Froome, Yates, and Porte lost 51 seconds; with Quintana losing a 1:15. Nils Politt came in 51st place with the same time as the stage winner.
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With an FTP of ~416 Watts, Nils spent about 6 minutes very close to his FTP, also in the very closing stages of the race, as he no doubt rode hard in support of Marcel Kittel. Contrasting to Jay Thomson’s ride Nils had a VI of 1.35 indicating his power fluctuated a lot more than Jay’s, and his Intensity Factor (IF) was only 0.65 which indicates that he spent a large part of ride cruising along. He had a Peak Power of 1,253 Watts which occurred in the run in to the finish line.
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