‘If people saw the speeds we’re climbing, they wouldn’t complain about the lack of attacks,’ says Enric Mas 

The Spaniard has reflected on the first week of the 2020 Tour de France

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

We’re now a week into the Tour de France 2020 and the general classification remains perfectly poised.

After chaotic racing on the opening stage around Nice and two summit finishes, all the favourites for the general classification are separated by just 13 seconds with more mountains on the way this weekend. 

But some fans and pundits have highlighted the lack of stinging attacks from the GC contenders so far in the race, as both mountain finishes ended in a stalemate between the favourites. 

Enric Mas, Movistar’s best placed rider in the overall standings, has said that people wouldn’t be so quick to criticise if they saw the speed on these climbs. 

In an interview with Spanish newspaper (opens in new tab) AS (opens in new tab) Mas, who finished second in the 2018 Vuelta a España, said: “What I’m going to say may be controversial, but I’ll say it. 

“The other day some spectators, commentators and journalists complained that on the way to Privas there was no escape or that in previous stages there were no attacks. 

“I think that if they were on the bike and saw the speeds at which we climb they wouldn’t say these things.” 

Mas said that on the first mountain finish of the race to Orcières-Merlette on stage four, the main group climbed at between 30 and 35km/h, making it impossible to launch an attack without being caught immediately. 

Then on stage six to Mont Aigoul, Mas says that Ineos Grenadiers domestique Jonathan Castroviejo pushed between 5.5 and six watts per kilogram for the climb.

Mas added: “Either you’re riding well, or you get dropped and go backwards.” 

Stage five from Gap to Privas marked a unique moment in the Tour - a full stage with no breakaway.

Riders put the lack of attacks down to a very fast, mostly downhill stage, a headwind start and the almost-guaranteed sprint finish for the line. 

Power data from the stage also suggests it was an easy run before the set-up for the sprint in the final 20km, with most riders averaging under 200w

>>> Why are Jumbo-Visma using unbranded wheels in this year’s Tour de France? 

But after a tough opening week to the Tour and very little racing in the weeks before due to the coronavirus shutdown, the numbers don’t tell all of the story.  

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.