Analytics in Action – Stage 14Blog
‘Bling’ Matthews lives up to his nickname and Froome is back in Yellow
Also known as ‘Bling’, Michael Matthews (SUN) stormed to an uphill win on Saturday at the end of stage 14. The final ramp to the finish also saw Chris Froome (SKY) reclaim the Yellow Jersey from Fabio Aru (AST).
No need for high mountains to see spectacular defining moments on the Tour de France: a hilly stage 14 to Rodez saw Michael Matthews (SUN) storm to the win … and Chris Froome (SKY) win back the Yellow Jersey he lost to Fabio Aru (AST) two days before in the Pyrenees. ‘Bling’ dominated the bunch on the final climb with an impressive average of 27.3km/h. It was a punishing slope at an average gradient of 9.6% on the last 570m.
The hills didn't make it a day for early attackers, despite the strong pedigree of riders leading the charge. Thomas De Gendt (LTS) is known for his amazing ability to sustain long and hard efforts. And Thomas Voeckler's (DEN) understanding of the race enabled him to use his abilities to the fullest. He’s been wearing the Yellow Jersey for 20 days on the Tour, despite not being a proper contender for the General Classification.
Rather than straight confrontation, De Gendt (LTS) and Voeckler (DEN) tried to fool the peloton with the support of three strong riders. They understood that the bunch wouldn't allow them to build a gap more than 3’, no matter how much effort they put in. So, they saved their strength until the last 50km, and then brought the hammer down.
That strategy, and pure, raw power, got De Gendt (LTS) to hold off the peloton until 12km to go. Impressive, but still not enough to make his sixth breakaway successful on this Tour.
Key data highlights:
1.) Thomas De Gendt (LTS) has now spent 590km at the front of the race.
2.) Marcel Kittel (QST) hit 63.3km/h (on the flat) to win the intermediate sprint and tighten his hold on the Green Jersey. He was left out of contention as the road went uphill.
3.) The attackers covered the first 10km of the stage at 45.7km/h to open a 2'45" gap over the peloton.
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