Bauke Mollema’s Stage 15 Tour de France victory
18 July 2017
“What does it take to win a stage of the Tour de France in a breakaway? After racing 14 intense stages covering almost 2,500 kilometres, read the inside story & insights on Bauke’s fabulous stage 15 victory, as described by Trek-Segafredo’s Head of Performance, Josu Larrazabal. With thanks to Josu & Bauke for sharing this information and explaining how they analyse this data in Today’s Plan.”
It’s stage 15 at the Tour from Laissac-Severac L’Eglise to Le Puy-en-Velay, 189km through the massif central, a terrain where the flat does not exist, 3000 ascent meters with “just” a couple of 8km climbs but many short and sometimes steep climbs.
The Tour has changed for Trek-Segafredo as everyone knows, our leader Alberto is out of GC contention so the goals have been reset to being stage wins the new main goal. At this point of the race many riders are far in GC so they are “control-free” to jump in the breaks and look for the stage win. In many stages the favourites are “clear” and their teams control the stage to bring the race into a desired scenario, the sprinters’ teams in the flat stages, the GC riders’ teams in the key stages for GC. In other stages the favourites are not so clear, the race is not easy to be controlled, different scenarios can happen and as consequence the are more riders with chances to win the stage. Stage 15 was one of the last the break would have a great chance of reaching the finish line so that was the goal, clear pre-race meeting from the Sport Directors; “We have to be in break!”.
Straight from the beginning (189k to go) a group of 10 got away, the first categorised climb of the day (1st. cat climb 8,9km@6,4%) was after 19km, if the break would have too much advantage at that point would had been impossible to jump across, so the team reacted immediately with Markel, Koen and specially Michael pulling to keep the break as close as possible at the bottom of the climb where Jarlinson and Bauke would jump, 20km of furious race over 50km/h.
As soon as the climb started (170k to go) Bauke attacked bringing with him quite a big group, Bauke pulled by himself most of the climb riding 387w for 19’, the chasing group was selected during the climb due to the hard tempo and at the top remained a 23 rider group as chasers of leading group which was also reduced to 5 riders in the fast climb. Bringing such a big group with several strong riders was not ideal but even less not being in the leading group so the main goal at that point was chasing down the leading group.
The collaboration in the chasing group was good and 130k to go the merge in front between the 2 groups happened. The first goal of the day was reached, it was time to share the work in the 28 men group and recover the most before the last and key part of the race.
31km to go there was the 2nd big climb of the day, a 1st cat climb with 8,3km@7,4%. Probably thinking that it would be hard to make the selection over the top Tony Martin anticipated with a solo attack 30km before the climb to try to gain some time and pass the climb with the front group. The group recovered the 1’30’’ gap of Martin and at the top was very decimated with Bauke in there.
It was time to think how to beat the rivals still in the group. Bauke can sprint quite ok against other climbers in a climb, but Gallopin or Ulissi were supposed to be faster than him in a flat final. It was clear he had to give it a try from far and that was 29km to go in the way towards the last climb of the day, a 4th cat. climb 13km to go.
In the 15km until the last climb Bauke rode steady 330-350w opening a gap of 40’’ from the chasers behind. Barguil and Roglic attached in the climb, the passed the top just 17’’ behind Bauke, Gallopin and Ulissi joined them straight in the downhill and in the last 13km we enjoyed a really nice fight between the “tete de la course” and the 4 chasers. Bauke is really strong keeping a small gap in this kind of scenarios as he showed last season winning the Classic San Sebastian with a late attack and having Valverde, Purito Rodriguez and Gallopin chasing few seconds behind.
- The team pulls before the climb to keep the break close enough:17,7km@50,8km/h
- Bauke jumps and creates the chasing group: 386w & 22,6km/h
- The 2 groups come together after 60km
- Time to stay in the group and recover the early effort by eating, drinking and sharing the pulls in front. The gap with the peloton went up slowly to 6’.
- Tony Martin’s solo attack anticipating 1st cat. climb
- Catch Tony Martin and selection in the break in the second part of GPM, 19,3km/h, last km 24,2km/h
- Bauke attacks, he opens a 40’’ gap riding 15km around 330-350w and 56,3km/h.
- Last 4th cat GPM, 1,9km@6,8%, hard tempo, 24,1km/h. Gap comes down to 17’’.
- Last 12km to the finish, fight to keep the gap with the 4 chasers, average values 330w and 49,8km/h.