Analytics in Action – Stage 15Blog
Mollema takes his first victory, while Froome survives in Yellow
It took Bauke Mollema (TFS) several years of commitment to snatch his first stage victory on the Tour de France; while Chris Froome (SKY) fought as hard as ever to retain his Yellow Jersey.
Medium mountain ranges keep offering the most action this July. Bauke Mollema (TFS) displayed more grit than ever before to finally take his first stage win on the Tour de France. He’d finished 18 times in the top 10 in previous races, but has never taken the top spot. He averaged 47.6km/h in the final 30km to Le Puy-en-Velay and fended off his chasers. Meanwhile, Chris Froome (SKY) was challenged as rarely before.
Legs are the obvious factor when it comes to defending yourself successfully on the Tour. But you also need strong nerves and luck. Chris Froome (SKY) thought he'd lost both with 45km to go. The Yellow Jersey was first caught in splits, with Romain Bardet's (ALM) teammates turning up the heat in a downhill section. Then he suffered a mechanical fault … but still managed to chase his way back to his rivals and preserve a small lead on the General Classification.
The racing was intense all day, with a serious fight between riders willing to drive hard in the breakaway. A group of 12 riders attacked from the start, including King of the Mountains Warren Barguil (SUN). They covered the first 17km at a blazing 53.6km/h … yet, a raging peloton still tackled the first climb of the day right on their heels.
A brutal pace in the Montée de Naves d'Aubrac (8.9km at an average gradient of 6.4%) finally put everyone in their place. There were 28 very strong riders at the front, the Yellow Jersey and his rivals in the main bunch, and the stragglers already suffering behind. And that was even before the race was blown apart with incredible action in the final 50 km.
Key data highlights:
1.) Bauke Mollema (TFS) averaged 20.7km/h across the 22.4km of categorised climbs on stage 15.
2.) Tony Martin (KAT) sustained a speed of 8.6% faster than his breakaway companions for 10' in order to go solo with 50km still ahead.
3.) A Sky rider has worn the Yellow Jersey in 60% of the Tour stages ridden since 2012.
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