Strava stats: what does a rider get up to on a Tour de France rest day?

Lakeside vistas, mountain climbs and coffee breaks from the Strava pros at the Tour de France

After an intense week at the Tour de France, including the high-stress of the crosswinds en route to Montpellier and the chaotic climb to Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux, the second and final rest day in Bern allowed for some much needed recovery.

But what exactly do Tour de France riders get up to on a rest day? Luckily, with Strava becoming more and more popular in the professional peloton, we get to find out.

Bern enjoys an ideal location in Switzerland, with plenty of scenic options for stretching the legs and exploring the local roads. And stopping for a coffee, of course.

Giant-Alpecin, who we joined for part of their rest day ride in Andorra after the first week, headed out to Lac de Morat, for example, while Lotto-Soudal picked a route following the Aare river.

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Movistar, with Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde bidding to dethrone yellow jersey Chris Froome in the Alps, chose to head into the Freiburg Alps for a low-intensity climb.

Let’s take a closer look at the Strava stats from some of the Tour de France rest day rides.

Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal)

Thomas de Gendt will resume his battle with Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka for the polka dot jersey in the final week of the Tour, having already been victorious on the stage to Chalet Reynard.

Lotto-Soudal opted for a light ride to keep the legs spinning on their second rest day, with both De Gendt and team-mate Greg Henderson uploading their efforts to Strava.

Easy riding for Lotto-Soudal to Bern Airport and back (pic: Strava)

The Belgian’s SRM PowerControl 8 power meter recorded an average cadence of 65rpm and average power of 102 watts (Strava’s weighted average gives 142 watts) for their 20km ride. The total time for the ride is just shy of two hours, but that includes an hour’s coffee stop in Bern.

Henderson’s Garmin Fenix 3 gives similar results – an average power output of 100 watts – with the team choosing a largely flat route.

On the Flughafenstrasse climb – a short 1.2km rise at an average gradient of five per cent just outside of Bern Airport, hence its name – De Gendt put out a maximum of 363 watts. To put that into context, his average on Mont Ventoux was more than that at 390 watts for half-and-hour, and his race-winning burst for the finishing line saw him register more than 900 watts.

Laurens ten Dam (Giant-Alpecin)

Laurens ten Dam had already taken to Twitter to show how his Giant-Alpecin team-mates were kicking back on the second rest day.

The Dutchman posted a picture of team-mate Simon Geschke drinking alkoholfrei (alcohol-free) beer in response to race leader Chris Froome’s picture of his rest day breakfast.

No need for big efforts on a rest day (pic: Strava)

Nevertheless, the team still set out for a 41.5km ride to Lac de Morat and back with a couple of hills on the route – including the ominously-named ‘Route of Misery’ segment – to keep the climbing legs in check.

Ten Dam’s Pioneer power meter shows an average output of 154 watts, with 72 per cent of the ride done in zone one – his active recovery zone of between one and 220 watts.

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Geschke’s stats tell a similar story, with the 1.6km Misery Climb, just short of their coffee (and alcohol-free beer) stop at the lake, the only section where the German’s power really ramped up.

Geschke was a stage winner in the Alps at last year’s Tour de France, and will no doubt be bidding for similar success again this time out.

Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing)

BMC Racing, with Tejay van Garderen and Richie Porte both sat in the top ten overall and looking to get themselves on the podium in the final week, chose a scenic route for their rest day ride.

Marcus Burghardt commented that the ride around the Thunersee Lake reminded him how lucky he was to be a pro cyclist – perhaps much-needed after the pain and suffering of the Tour de France!

BMC Racing, who were joined on part of their ride by Team Sky, took the scenic route (pic: Strava)

Team Sky also chose to head to the lake, according to one Strava user who joined them on their rest day ride, but did not complete the full loop.

The largely flat ride 47.2km ride saw BMC Racing’s Damiano Caruso register an average speed of 33.3km/h on a route which had just 296m of elevation, but neither he nor Burghardt uploaded their power data.

Winner Anacona (Movistar)

Not all teams chose a flat ride for the second rest day, however, with Movistar’s team of mountain men heading to their favoured terrain.

With the Tour de France restarting on Colombia’s Independence Day, the onus is on Nairo Quintana to make things happen on the hors categorie finish to Finhaut-Emosson, and fellow Colombian Winner Anacona’s Strava stats reveal how they prepared.

A new Strava KOM for Winner Anacona after Movistar headed into the mountains (pic: Strava)

The Movistar rest day ride headed into the Freiburg Alps – or at least the lower slopes – for the ascent of Plasselb, a Strava category-three climb, 4.7km in length with an average gradient of six per cent.

Anacona is the new Stava KOM holder on the climb too, with a time of 14.06 at an average speed of 20.3km/h.

Anacona’s power files show an average power of 328 watts for the climb, which peaked at 520 watts, and an average heart rate of 152bpm. Not quite the intensity of the Alpine climbs to come, but hardly a easy spin either, with Movistar keen to keep the blood pumping so they’re primed for the mountain stages to come.

Much of Anacona’s ride, according to his heart rate analysis, was in zone two but the climb nudged him into the zone three (tempo) as he prepares to support Quintana’s bid to recapture his climbing form and dethrone Chris Froome in the final week.

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