Analytics in Action – Stage 6Blog
Kittel is back and making the most of his raw power
Proving to be the most powerful rider so far on the 2017 Tour de France, Marcel Kittel (QST) delivered another impressive result in the streets of Troyes at the end of stage 6.
With Mark Cavendish (DDD) and Peter Sagan (BOH) both out of contention, the field may have opened up a little when it comes to sprint finishes on this year's Tour. Except that Marcel Kittel (QST) seems untouchable so far. The German rider delivered another display of devastating power at the end of stage 6, hitting a top speed of 71.17km/h only 90m from the finish line.
Already the winner of Sunday’s first bunch sprint, Kittel (QST) saw stage 4 slip away from him only due to the crashes that affected the late-stage sprints. Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (DDD) saw another scary moment in the final 200m, when Démare had barely enough space to move past the speeding Boasson Hagen (DDD) on the right. He was forced to slow down fast to avoid making contact at 65 km/h. Luckily, his evasive action paid off and no rider went down, while cool-as-a-cucumber Chris Froome (SKY) safely preserved his lead on the overall classification.
The peloton maintains a tight leash on the attackers
Breaking away from the peloton on flat stages isn’t a very hard task. When you reach the competitive level of these pedalling machines, it's more a question of willpower: who's ready to give it his all at the front of the race with a small chance of success? At the start of stage 6, we even saw two teammates decide their fate with a game of ‘rock-paper-scissors’: who should go into the break? Frederik Backaert (WGG) won the draw and went for a 213km joy ride leading out in front.
But, as we've seen since the start of the 2017 Tour de France, sprinters' teams aren’t taking any chances so far. A committed peloton has both the power and the strategic insights to make sure a bunch gallop will decide the winner. No matter how hard the attackers go, the peloton just needs to set a matching pace before committing fresh men to the chase in the second part of the day. This tactic should work in most cases, as we're likely to see again on stage 7 before we head for the mountains this weekend.
Key data highlights:
1.) Marcel Kittel (QST) now matches André Greipel's (LTS) record of 11 stage wins on the Tour de France.
2.) With 75.04km/h 400m from the line, Démare (FDJ) reached a higher speed than Kittel (QST) in the final sprint, but couldn’t find a way through his rivals and had to settle for second place.
3.) The breakaway's lead was never more than 4'22”, a gap reached 43km into the stage.
4.) The heat is up on the Tour! Temperatures rose to 35°C today.
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