Strava stats reveal how tough Galibier and Col d’Izoard really were on Tour de France stage 18

It was a brutal return to the mountains in the Alps

(Image credit: Tim de Waele)

The 2019 Tour de France is still balanced on a knife edge with just two more mountain stages left before Paris.

Stage 18 to Valloire included some of the most daunting climbs in the Tour, the Col d’Izoard which then ran into the Col du Galibier, before a long descent to the line.

Movistar’s Nairo Quintana returned to his best with a huge attack 7km from the summit of the final climb, riding away from Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) to take stage glory.

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But how tough was the 208km stage? Strava stats give us an insight into the demands of a key mountain stage.

Stage winner Nairo Quintana doesn’t use the social media for athletes so we can’t see what it takes to win the stage, but runner-up Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) does share his ride data.

Bardet spent 5-35-58 in the saddle, covering 4,543 metres of altitude gain, with an average speed of 36.6km/h.

The penultimate climb of the day was the 14.1km-long Col d’Izoard, which averages 7.3 per cent.

Frenchman Bardet averaged 19.4km/h on the climb, hitting a maximum speed of 66.2km/h and reached the summit in 42-39.

His pace was only fast enough for the ninth fastest ride on the Stava segment this year.

The fastest rider over the climb was Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), in 40-18 with an average speed of 20.5km/h.

Bardet’s compatriot Warren Barguil holds the Stava KoM for the Izoard, setting a time of 37-35 on his way to a summit stage victory in the 2017 Tour de France.

The day’s final climb was the Col du Galibier, with the peloton riding up the longer but shallower side, at 23km and 5.1 per cent average.

Bardet rode up the Galibier at an average of 25km/h, with a time of 50-02, good enough for fight on the segment.

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Overall favourites Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) set a new KoM on the 20km Galibier segment, with a time of 48-54 and an average speed of 25.6km/h.

The descent from the Galibier into Valloire was another key moment on the stage, with Riche Porte (Trek-Segafredo) the fastest downhill, covering the 16.83km segment in 16-06, with an average speed of 62km/h.

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Alex Ballinger
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.