TdF 2022 – How Fast Are The Tour Riders?

We like to think we're fast, be it in the sprint for coffee or dominating the morning crew up Chappies. The pros, though, are real savages.

By Whit Yost |

So you think you’re getting fast? Ever wonder how you’d fare against a Tour de France pro? Now you can see for yourself. We’ve taken a look at some key performance metrics, including a pro’s average speed in the Tour de France (and some other fun ones), to see how you would stack up against the world’s best cyclists.

Average Time Trial Speed

gettyimages-1329338854A Tour pro’s ability to produce more power for longer means that he would complete a 30K time trial about 20 minutes faster than the average rider. In other words, he’s really hammering.

Average Rider: 30-32kph

Tour Pro: 47-50kph

Average Speed on Flat Terrain

gettyimages-1326486377Even on flat land, a pro’s average speed in the Tour de France needs to be way up there in order to stay in the race. In fact, it’s often almost double as fast as that of an average rider.

Average Rider: 25-28kph

Tour Pro: 40-45kph

Maximum Sprint Power

gettyimages-1327845199Sprinters generate incredible amounts of power in the final 15-second dash for the line. A rider like Mark Cavendish might hit 1 500 watts at the end of a flat field sprint.

Average Rider: 600 to 800 watts

Tour Pro: 1 200 to 1 400 watts

Average Cobblestone Speed

gettyimages-999448788The Tour de France often features at least one section of cobblestones, known locally as pavé (though sometimes that’s exchanged for a stretch of gravel). On a tough section, pros can average an incredibly fast 35-40kph.

Average Rider: 20-25kph

Tour Pro: 35-40kph

Average Resting Heart Rate

gettyimages-1325742127Team EF Education-EasyPost utilised WHOOP straps during the 2020 Tour to collect detailed biometric data on the athletes 24/7 over the course of the entire 21-stage race, with remarkable results. The data showed an average resting heart rate of 42 beats per minute for the team before the start of the Tour, and 40 bpm after the first rest day. And in other jaw-dropping heart rate stats, Neilson Powless spent 38 percent of Stage 8 in the 90- to 100-percent zone for his max heart rate. Unbelievable effort.

Average Rider: 60 to 100 bmp

Tour Pro: ~40 bmp

Sandwiches Consumed

gettyimages-1325910633Soigneurs (all-purpose team assistants) make lunches for everyone on the team, including the staff. With about 12 to 15 staffers supporting a given team’s nine riders in France, that’s a lot of bread and a lot of sandwiches consumed over the course of three weeks.

Average Rider: 1 to 3 sandwiches

Tour Pro: ~30 sandwiches

Daily Bottles of Drink Mix Guzzled

gettyimages-1327518765Depending on conditions, you might mix one or two bottles per ride. A Tour de France soigneur might mix between 40 and 120 bottles for the team on each stage, which means an individual rider may throw back up to a dozen bottles or more.

Average Rider: 1 to 2

Tour Pro: 4 to 13

How Long it Takes to Climb the Col du Tourmalet

gettyimages-1006332770A pro The good climber will probably average about 350 to 375 watts on the climb up the Col du Tourmalet. Going fast, an ordinary rider would generate closer to 175 to 200—which means the Tour’s top climbers could ascend the Col nearly twice during your trip to the top. While the Col du Tourmalet isn’t featured in this year’s route, pros will take on major climbs like La Super Planche des Belles Filles and Alpe d’Huez.

Average Rider: 115 minutes

Tour Pro: 60 minutes

Bikes at Your Disposal

average speed in the tour de franceDepending on the rider and the team’s bike sponsor, most pros come to the Tour with an aero road bike for flatter stages, a climbing bike for the mountains, and a time-trial bike—not to mention spares. A general classification contender like Tadej Pogačar might have two or three of each.

Average Rider: 1 to 2 bikes

Tour Pro: 4 to 5 bikes

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