What does it take to be ‘King Of The Mountain’ in Le Tour de France?
The excitement of Le Tour de France really picks up when the riders hit the mountain stages, both for the Pros and spectators alike. We can all watch in awe as the Pros ascend and accelerate up the steep grades, blowing past the crowds, hot on the wheels of the motorcade. But we can only imagine what it is like to be on a bike, at the front of the peloton as the speed kicks up towards the finish line.
Fifth in the Tour and Strava King of the Mountain (KOM) on the famous Mont Ventoux climb. Who would have thought that before the race?
Unfortunately, I am not the “real” king of this climb as exactly eight guys went up faster than I did Sunday. Still, I am happy with my result and Bauke and I are sitting in 2nd and 5th on the GC (General Classification) with less than a week to go.
The stage started off crazy, and when I say crazy, I mean CRAZY! The parcours (course) was rolling hills and we had a really fast first hour, averaging almost 50 kilometers per hour (km/hr). What happened in the second hour however was something I haven’t seen much before: we averaged over 52 km/hr on an up-and-down course. Belkin managed to stay out of trouble and we came to the final climb near the front. The team did an AMAZING job and we had our guys helping me and Bauke until the steep part of the Mont Ventoux. I felt great, but when Richie Porte accelerated for Froome like a motorbike, we couldn’t follow and kept our steady pace up until the finish. Once we reached the windy part out of the woods, I hit the front and tried to minimize the time loss. We arrived close to Alberto Contador. If there would have been more cooperation in our group, we could have come even closer to the fastest climbers.
I am satisfied with this result. Really tired, but satisfied. I was actually four minutes faster than the number two ranked rider on the Strava Segment (Mt. Ventoux via Bedoin) and fifteen minutes faster than when I explored the mountain in April. My average speed was about 21 km/hr up the Ventoux climb. Not that bad huh?
Now we are really looking forward to Alpe d’Huez. I hope we will get a lot of support on the “Dutch Mountain” and maybe Bauke, myself and our strong team can make something happen.
The Tour isn’t over and of course we will try to defend and even improve our standing!