The general classification was turned on its head on Stage 2 after the opening time trial. Annemiek van Vleuten attacks and went hard. That distanced everyone else in the peloton and she now leads the race by almost 2 minutes. A few riders were able to keep up initially but then as the Dutch star put the hurt on, they slipped off the back of her wheel. Unfortunately, we don’t have the power available for Van Vleuten but we do for riders like Demi Vollering, Brodie Chapman, Juliette Labous and Veronica Ewers.
The first break of the day was formed by Lucinda Brand, Sarah Roy, Maaike Coljé, Sophie Wright and Marta Lach. This was before the TV coverage started and by the time the TV did start, only Lucinda Brand and Sarah Roy were still out front. Despite making the break, Maaike Coljé said on her Strava that she didn’t feel great – maybe a hint that she didn’t get to go as deep into the stage as she had wished. She’s a rider always up for going in the break and it’s rare to see a race where the Dutch rider for Massi-Tactic doesn’t try and get out in front.
It’s hard to know exactly when Coljé dropped off as it wasn’t live but it was certainly on the first major climb of the day. Starting with a kick of 530w, Coljé responded to the move as the break formed and played a role in the rotation of the break after that point. Her involvement in the break from start to the top of the first climb saw Coljé sit at 4w/kg exactly, averaging 250w at 267w. You can see from the data below where the climb begins, it’s where there are no more drops in the pink cadence line. After a big surge in power at the start of the climb, Coljé very quickly settles in, with the power declining noticeably in the second half, probably as a result of no longer following the wheels of the stronger Brand/Roy. Coljé averaged 277w for 18 minutes at 4.5w/kg (284w normalised).
The difference to Brand on the same stretch of the first climb isn’t huge, with just 0.1 w/kg difference between the two riders. The shape of the power line is rather different, however. Compared to Coljé’s declining line, Brand is almost perfectly level in comparison. That’s borne out in the difference between the average and normalised power numbers too. Whilst Coljé is 277/284, Brand is 267/269. That indicates a steadier effort from Brand with fewer peaks and troughs in her effort.
The slim difference in w/kg may also be a result of Brand getting more of a draft from Roy all the way to the summit. Without the coverage, we can’t confirm whether Coljé was able to join up with Wright or Lach and if that affects her figures. The drafting effect would allow the power numbers to be slightly decreased compared to a solo effort. Also, Brand is a heavier rider than Coljé, so when the w/kg are equal, the outright higher watts Brand is able to put out would be a difference maker.
Interestingly, this first climb is the same climb as the decisive one later on, just coming from the other direction.
The decisive climb – Fuente las Vara (from the South)
Aude Biannic’s role in setting up Annemiek van Vleuten’s attack needs to be mentioned. She’s initially at the front with her teammates, coming off a long effort at the base of the previous climb. There’s a period where she rotates with her teammates before being the last rider available to set up Van Vleuten. From the base of the climb, she sat at 3.9w/kg, which strung out the peloton and reduced it to just the GC contenders. When Biannic closed the gap to Brand/Roy, who were still in the break at this point, Van Vleuten launched her own attack.
We’ve got the power data available for Demi Vollering, the only rider from what would become the front group of the race. Vollering did a lot of work on the very first part of the climb, whilst Movistar was 3 strong on the front gunning it. At this point, SD Worx are not organised and all over the peloton. The rider on Annemiek van Vleuten’s wheel is, strangely, Lotte Kopecky. Blanka Vas is in the middle and then we see Niamh Fisher-Black bringing up Demi Vollering on the left-hand side at 31.4km to go. All this effort means that in the 2 minutes before Van Vleuten attacks, Vollering has averaged 355w, including a stint at a max of 544 watts. This effort will have repercussions later on.
By the time Annemiek van Vleuten attacks, Vollering is in the perfect position on her wheel but still has to put out between 400-500w to keep pace. The power of Van Vleuten on the front, slightly moto-paced coming off the hairpin means that Demi Vollering has to sit at around 360w on what is an ‘easier’ part of the climb. When Annemiek gets out of the saddle and attacks a long left-hander, it distances Lippert and Garcia but Demi Vollering is still on the wheel. Responding to this attack took Demi back into that 400-500w zone. The move that finally sees distance demands another 400w+ effort but it’s just one too many.
From there, the power dips a tiny bit for the first time, but it’s the last 1km of the climb that’s truly brutal coming off a flatter part. From there it’s harder to put the power back down a lot of the time was lost to Van Vleuten. Over the whole climb, Vollering averaged 325w (329 normalised). There’s a point to be made about the extra efforts made at the early part of the climb but Van Vleuten distanced her so far from the summit that it’s hard to say that Demi Vollering would’ve been able to hang on. Where the difference probably could have been made was that Longo Borghini and Lippert may not have recaught the Dutch rider and Vollering potentially could be sat 2nd in GC after Stage 2.
Power chart of leading riders (w/kg where known)
|Rider||Team||Watts Avg||Watts Normalised||w/kg|
|Demi Vollering||SD Worx||325||329||?|
|Floortje Mackaij||Team DSM||286||287||?|
|Blanka Vas||SD Worx||256||262||5.1|
|Juliette Labous||Team DSM||278||284||5.0|
|Eri Yonamine||Human Powered Health||246||251||4.9|
Main photo credit: https://twitter.com/LinoEscuris