runners exhausted by a very high average speed despite a record number of climbs

With an average of 41.93km/h before the last stage in Paris, the 2023 Tour de France is one of the fastest in history, while the riders have climbed more passages than in recent editions.

“In the lead group, I was praying for even just a minute’s respite.” Julian Alaphilippe, who often escaped and even regularly caught up with a group at full speed, was the privileged witness of the very high average speed of the 2023 Tour de France. An average of 41.93 km/h before the last stage in Paris, which will not exceed the record of 42.09 km/h dating from 2022, but which is very close to it as the riders climbed seven passes or climbs (2nd category, 1st category or out of category) more the Grande Boucle 2023 ahead of the previous edition.

Upon arrival, faces are marked. Between Moirans and Poligny, on Friday 21 July, the riders broke the predictions of the organizers, who had bet on an average speed between 43 and 47 km/h. With 49.13 km/h, winner Matej Mohoric crossed the finish line 10 minutes ahead of schedule at top speed, despite relative difficulty, with two fourth and third category climbs. This tour is crazy. It’s a very strong group. They were always on fire, even in the car, it goes like a 60 kilometer stage. It’s not easy being a cyclist these days”pointed out Tom Steels, sports director of the Soudal Quick-Step team on the evening of the 20th stage, which became the 3rd fastest stage in the history of the Grande Boucle.

The ancients “seldom knew Towers where they were so weary”

“It’s the third week though”reacted Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), while his teammate Guillaume Martin tried to find an explanation. “It was the last chance for many people to play for the win. There’s always a team restarting the race or a rider trapped in the general classification. So there are always reasons to go fast. Afterwards there was also a tailwind that could explain this speed, and ever faster equipment.”he recalled. Their young teammate Axel Zingle, who is participating in his first Grande Boucle, can’t play the comparison game yet, but he discusses it with the older ones. “They say they have rarely known Tours where they have been so tired”trust.

The peloton swallowed the scheduled 30 2nd-category, 1st-category or non-category moves or climbs, a record, without really slowing down. The multiple attempts before the good breakaway was formed contributed in particular to the increase in average speed. Even on the Col de la Loze, the highest climb of this Tour de France, the leading teams of the general classification imposed a very high pace that the whole peloton couldn’t resist. Simon Geschke, who was still competing in his 11th Grand Boucle, said he had his toughest day on the bike, before giving up, exhausted, the next day. Thibaut Pinot, also an expert, ensured that this stage was not “not far from the Top 5 of the most difficult stages of (his) career”.

David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), who was aiming for the final podium and will have to settle for ninth place in the general standings. “He has evolved to his maximum, he has broken several records on different configurations since Bilbao. It should be at least 105-110% to compete with a Carlos Rodriguez [qui finit 5e]”, explained his trainer David Han, after analyzing his data, in Team, after two weeks of testing. What a wonder on the average speed that he could have achieved this Tour de France with a few less climbs.

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