The Tour de France peloton returned to the legendary Orcières-Merlette climb for the first time since 1989.
With the likes of Egan Bernal and Primož Roglič in the peloton, we were almost guaranteed to see some rapid times up the 7.1km-long, 6.7 per cent climb.
The last time the ascent featured in the Tour, it was Dutchman Steven Rooks who victory at the summit after a 39km time trial from Gap, while Greg Lemond moved into the race lead.
But the most famous race on this climb was back in 1971, when Luis Ocaña put Eddy Merckx to the sword with a 177km-long attack which saw him finish more than eight minutes up on the Belgian cycling legend and take the yellow jersey.
In recent times Orcières-Merlette hasn’t featured in any many races, with the Strava record being held by AG2R La Mondiale rider Clément Chevrier, who set the KoM time on the segment during a training ride in 2013.
But unsurprisingly that record has now fallen, as the best climbers in the world hit the ramps during the first mountain finish of the 2020 Tour de France on stage four.
Primoz Roglic took the stage victory, but did not post his data on Strava after the race.
The previous time set by Chevrier was 19-56, but the Frenchman has now been bumped down to 20th place on the Strava segment.
His team-mate Romain Bardet now tops the leaderboard with a time of 16-50 and an average speed of 26.4km/h, followed by Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) in second place, just one second off the pace. Rigoberto Urán (EF Pro Cycling) matched Pinot’s time.
Bardet actually finished 16th on the stage, while Pinot finished further up in eighth. Urán actually 15th in the official rankings.
None of the top four riders on Strava shared their power data, but luckily some of those further down in the rankings did.
Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), who finished 17th on the stage and set the fifth fastest time on Strava, held an average power of 357 watts (6.05 watts per kilogram) for his 16.56 effort on the climb.
Jumbo-Visma’s Sepp Kuss, who put in a phenomenal ride to support Roglič to the victory, set the sixth fastest Strava time and was 19th on the stage.
The American pushed an enormous 382w for 16-57, which for a 61kg rider equates to 6.2 w/kg.
It was actually Sunweb’s Nicolas Roche who put out the highest power on Strava, as the Irishman held 411w for 17-1 to finish 22nd on the stage.
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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.
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