Le Tour 2019 - Stage 16

Speed Merchants

The day after the rest day, with an extremely hard set of days in the Alps on the horizon, was likely only going to result in a sprint finish between the speed merchants Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani. Of course, there was a break away, which only got caught just inside of the final kilometres. Hopefully, riders have started to recover and regain their energy after their exertions to Prat d’Albis.

Caleb Ewan, looked to be much faster than the others, and with a better lead out that launched him at the right time. He took a great second win of this years Tour.

With an early break going, and only being caught just shy of the finish, you really wanted them to stay away for the win, especially as they’d been working flat out in the ‘canicule’ (heatwave). Fluid losses would have been high today.

It’s important for all the riders, every day, but even more so during extreme heat to drink plenty to maintain their fluid levels. Riders will typically consume a variety of drinks, from carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks (to maintain fluid balance) as well as plain water (it can be quite refreshing after the energy drinks), flavoured ice teas, and even Coke (and other similar soft drinks). Coke, has plenty of sugar for energy, and caffeine to keep the riders going. Plus, most people will also say it tastes nice, and flavour fatigue is a real issue at the Tour de France (and something you don’t want as you’ll eat or drink less, which would be disastrous).

In terms of a long breakaway, there’s a variety of ways to train for this, but someone who specialises in such breaks such as De Gendt or Rossetto (who was away today) will need to focus on doing lots of tempo type training. We’d recommend for amateur racers completing somewhere between 45-minutes and 2-hours at MIET (around 90% of FTP) from one to three or more times per week. This can help increase your fatigue resistance and keep you going. Of course there are other aspects of well of training that need to be increased (such as increasing FTP and MAP).

Tomorrow’s stage is in Gap, which is the gateway to the Alps. There’s a toughish, short climb and a descent down to the finish, which normally would have been ideal for Alaphilippe. However, this Tour is somewhat different from previous editions… so who knows what will happen tomorrow? (Maybe Alaphilippe will try to get away on the climb and gain a few more seconds prior to big, big mountains…).

Richard Stern