Analytics in Action – Stage 12Blog
Bardet and Aru get the better of Froome
Team Sky's grip on the Tour de France has loosened on Stage 12 in the Pyrenees, with Romain Bardet (ALM) winning on the summit and Fabio Aru (AST) taking the Yellow Jersey.
A single stage was enough to shake a few of the certainties built up over the past five years of the Tour de France. Thrice Tour winner, and wearing the Yellow Jersey for the 51st time of his career, Chris Froome (SKY) just couldn't fend off his rivals on the final climb up to Peyragudes. Romain Bardet (ALM) won the stage with a brutal effort while Fabio Aru (AST) took over the overall leadership.
The two youngsters made the most of a final climb with slopes of up to a 16% gradient. This ended a 214.5km stage that offered six hills, adding up to 45.8km of total climbing. Bardet still had the strength to cover the final kilometre at 20.3km/h, while Froome faded. Team Sky had controlled the race up to the last 400m, where Froome's rivals seized the opportunity.
With 51 points up for grabs in the King of the Mountains classification and an interesting shot at a glorious stage victory, the day saw some intense battles to get into the breakaway. But at speeds of over 50km/h on the flat, the climbers couldn't match the pace from all-rounders such as Steve Cummings (DDD), Thomas De Gendt (LTS) and Michael Matthews (SUN). Cummings (DDD), the British veteran, was the last attacker caught by the favourites in the penultimate climb of the day.
Challenging Marcel Kittel (QST) for the Points Classification, Matthews (SUN) was not done with his display of grit at the front of the race once he’d won the intermediate sprint midway through the stage. The Australian sprinter, defending the Polka-dot Jersey held by his teammate Warren Barguil (SUN), accelerated up to 60.9 km/h atop the Col de Menté. But then it was time to let the lightweight climbers battle it out on the way to the finish.
Key data highlights:
1.) A 19.3 km/h pace on the first slopes of Col de Peyresourde was enough to see Nairo Quintana (MOV) lose contact with his rivals. Chris Froome (SKY) still had three teammates with him at this point.
2.) The Breakaway covered 48km in the first hour of racing and still didn't open a gap larger than 3'30" over that stretch.
3.) Stephen Cummings (DDD) accelerated up to 87.4km/h on a downhill to extend his lead to 2'15” with 15km to go, but couldn't hold off the favourites in the climb that followed.
4.) Bardet (ALM) averaged 20.45km/h on stage 12's climbs to take his third stage win on the Tour de France.
5.) Chris Froome (SKY) kept the Yellow Jersey until the finish on three previous occasions (2013, 2015, and 2016).
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