A day in the break, then second place on one of the toughest Tour de France mountain stages in recent years... Warren Barguil's Strava file tells the story
The 25-year-old Frenchman of Team Sunweb put himself into the day’s escape group as the riders tackled a succession of punishing climbs and tricky descents.
Then, as he was caught by the group of overall contenders that included race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky), Fabio Aru (Astana), Romain Bardet (Ag2r) and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) after the fearsome Mont du Chat, he managed to stay with them.
Somehow he still found the energy at the end of the day to contest the final sprint in Chambéry. It looked for a few minutes as though he’d won it, but a photofinish showed that Uran had heart-breakingly pipped him to the line.
Nevertheless, Barguil came away with the polka-dot King of the Mountains jersey for his efforts, having crested the hors categorie climbs of the Grand Colombier and Mont du Chat first.
Barguil’s Strava file shows his remarkable day with great clarity. His total recorded distance of 182.8km was ridden at an average of 34.5kmh, an eye-watering maximum speed of 92.5kmh and total ascent of 4,661 metres.
The first half of the stage is punctuated by impressive climbing efforts on the Col de Bérentin and the Col de la Biche, both of which he has now the Strava KOM for.
What is also impressive is Barguil’s descending speed on roads that he knows well. He was the quickest rider logged by Strava on the descent of Col de Bérentin and Col de la Biche as part of the escape group.
Then, perhaps more impressively, the long descent of Mont du Chat (named DH Relais TV – ch. du Petit Caton on Strava) at the end of the stage when he was solo. Again, Barguil is the new owner of the KOMs for all.
In total, Barguil came away with 15 Strava KOMs during the day. Sadly, he recorded no power output on the ride, so we’re denied seeing how many watts be was putting out.
Another rider who posted an impressive record of their work during the stage was Team Sky’s superdomestique Michal Kwiatkowski.
The Pole is in absolutely top form this season, having won Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche earlier this year he’s switched to supporting Froome at the Tour. That’s the kind of guy you want on your team.
Kwiatkowski sat at the front of the bunch in pursuit of the break for huge tracts of time, churning out a steady cadence as riders were shelled out relentlesly behind.
His pace up the Grand Colombier on the long climb’s steepest parts – 14 and 16 per cent gradient – are amazing as he swept up the KOMs.