The final 50km of stage three of the Tour de France 2019 was a full gas Classics-style spectacle on tight and undulating roads as the race left Belgium.
An unstoppable solo attack from Julian Alaphilippe 16km from the finish took the Frenchman to a huge stage win and put him into the yellow jersey.
The punchy final 50km of the stage were well suited to fast climbers and one-day specialists, with Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White saying the course looked as if it had been designed by Alaphilippe.
But how tough was the final of stage three at the Tour de France 2019? We delved into the Strava stats to find out.
Sadly Julian Alaphilippe doesn’t post his rides on Strava so we’ll never now what it took for the 27-year-old to sail away from the peloton, but we can get a picture from other riders in the bunch.
CCC Team leader Greg Van Avermaet was amongst the best of the rest as the race barrelled up the final climb in Épernay, finishing with the main group to take fourth on the stage, 26 seconds behind Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
Despite his talent over short and sharp climbs, Van Avermaet was only the ninth fastest on the Côte de Mutigny segment – the 920m, 12 per cent climb that Alaphillippe used to launch his attack – with a time of 2-59.
Van Avermaet topped the climb with an average speed of 18.7km/h and a maximum of 40.3km/h.
EF Education First rider Mike Woods was the fastest over the Mutigny, taking the Strava KoM in a time of 2-50, averaging 488 watts and hitting a max of 739.
Canadian Woods, riding his first Tour de France, was a full kilometre per hour faster than Van Avermaet, averaging 19.7km/h.
General classification contender Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) was the second fastest rider on the Mutigny, with a time of 2-57, with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) a second slower, and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) not far behind in 2-59.
Van Avermaet clearly saving his effort for the final climb, the ‘rue des coteaux Epernay (arrive tour de france 2019)’, as he took the Strava KoM with a time of 34 seconds on the 340m, eight per cent average climb. The Belgian averaged 36km/h in the uphill sprint.
World champion Alejandro Valverde was joint second on the segment, with his new trimmed down look, one second slower than Van Avermaet with an average power of 547w.
Romain Bardet once again made it into the top-10 on a Strava segment, finishing on the same time as Valverde and a handful of other strong climbers including Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic).
The stage overall was long, fast and hard, according to Strava.
Mike Woods averaged 44.5km/h over the 218km, spending almost five hours in the saddle.
He hit a max speed of 93.6km/h and put out a weighted average power of 244w, climbing 2,568m.
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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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