What these charts can tell us about the second week of the Tour de France

by Matt de Neef


As the riders prepare for the third and final week of the Tour de France, let’s take a look at how the race got to where it is.

If you haven’t already seen the work VeloClub member Cameron Harris has been doing with data from this year’s Tour, well, you should. His charts help tell the stories of the Tour in a way that results sheets, race reports, photos and video footage just can’t.

Taking a look at Cam’s charts after the second week of the Tour, here are some of the themes that become clear.

Richie Porte’s trajectory is a good one.

The Australian was 11th after stage 12, ninth after stage 13 and up into sixth by the end of stage 15. Is he destined for the podium? It’s certainly possible given the trajectory he’s on.

The graph below provides another perspective of Porte’s rise. While most of his GC rivals have lost time to Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar in the past few stages, Porte’s line has remained much flatter — a sign that he’s not losing much time.

The battle for the podium is still close.

It looks like Roglic and Pogacar have the top two spots on GC more or less locked down, but the final spot on the podium is far more open. Porte is a contender, as we’ve discussed, but he’s not the only one. Four riders are within 42 seconds of Rigoberto Uran in fourth place, as the chart below shows.

Egan Bernal dropped way back.

The defending champion was looking good in third place overall … until he wasn’t. On stage 15 the Colombian dropped more than seven minutes, pushing him well outside the top 10. The graph below shows the magnitude of his fall, relative to how close he was to yellow previously.

The gap between the top guys and the rest is significant.

Check out the graph below. The first 14 riders on GC are clustered with 9:02 of one another. From 14th to 15th place, though, is is more than 23 minutes. One explanation is that while there’s a cluster of riders pushing for the top 10 or helping their GC leader late in mountain stages, others are outside that bubble with no real incentive to push for higher places. Saving energy for such riders can be a good strategy; so can losing time, in the hope of being let into a breakaway on a mountain stage.

Alejandro Valverde is improving day by day.

At 40 years old, Valverde is the oldest rider in the race and yet he could well finish inside the top 10 overall. After stage 12 he was 17th and he’s improved his position every day since then: from 17th, to 15th, to 14th and now 12th.

Valverde is 1:40 behind Tom Dumoulin in 10th place and might struggle to pass him by race’s end, but it’s not out of the question. If he manages it, it will be his eighth top-10 finish at the Tour and his 20th Grand Tour top 10. Extraordinary.

Jumbo-Visma is easily winning the battle of the GC heavyweight teams.

Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers went into the Tour as the two best GC teams and the battle between the two was a source of much intrigue. Jumbo-Visma is easily ahead.

Not only is Jumbo-Visma leading the race, and not only have they won three stages vs Ineos’ one, but there are now two Jumbo-Visma riders ahead of Ineos’ first contender on GC. The blue lines below are Ineos riders; the yellow are from Jumbo-Visma.

Benoit Cosnefroy is probably going to lose his KOM jersey.

The Frenchman is the only rider to have worn polka dots at this year’s race, but that could change in the days ahead. Cosnefroy hasn’t taken any more points since stage 8 — not ideal if he wants to be in polka dots come Paris. The GC contenders, meanwhile, have been racking up the points, courtesy of some late climbs in recent stages.

Cosnefroy is currently on 36 points, Pogacar is on 34 and Roglic is on 33. With some more late climbs and uphill finishes on the way, it’s very likely that one of the two Slovenians will take over the KOM lead in the days ahead. In fact, it’ll probably change hands on stage 16.

Sam Bennett should win the green jersey.

After 15 stages Bennett is on 269 points and seven-time green jersey winner Peter Sagan is on 224. More importantly, Sagan hasn’t really looked capable of closing that gap. He hasn’t been taking points on mountain stages like he normally does (it seems as if there are more early intermediate sprints this year), and he hasn’t been able to beat Bennett at stage finishes and in intermediate sprints. And the stages ahead aren’t looking any better for Sagan.

There are no more stages in this year’s race where the intermediate sprint comes after a sizeable climb, meaning Sagan won’t be able to get away from Bennett with his superior climbing and take back points. And based on past form at intermediate sprints, Bennett seems likely to keep extending his lead in the points comp from here.

What other storylines have you seen in Cam’s charts from the 2020 Tour de France?

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