Rigoberto Urán wins the jersey yawn
Watching cycling on TV is an interesting sight in the UK, and perhaps it’s similar elsewhere in the world.
During ITV’s Tour de France coverage, viewers are inundated with adverts begging you to donate money to shrines housing very sad donkeys placed amongst advertisements for various end-of-life products and services that remind you in a break four minutes for every 20km of racing that one day you too will come out of your mortal envelope and will no longer be able to watch the Tour de France.
On Eurosport this season, we’ve been taken into the lives of EF Education EasyPost riders as they promote Whoop’s wearable technology, with Esteban Chaves, Hugh Carthy and Alex Howes telling us how it’s helping them recovering from an injury or balancing their professional life with having children. In addition, data on the heart rate of the runners during the race was broadcast on screen during the progress of the stages. Newsflash – they are often quite high.
While also measuring things like the physical exertion runners go through in races, as well as calories burned, there is one aspect that is easiest for non-professional Muggles to understand with WorldTour runners and c is sleep.
Whoop tells you about the quality of your sleep, how much you need, and also tracks things like how many times you wake up per night, which will be more than expected and also make you wonder if you have some sort of sleepwalking problem. do not know.
Try to think of something that would make getting a good night’s sleep as difficult as possible. Have a baby? Yeah. Having two babies? Sure. How about running the Tour de France?
You drive fast for more than 150 km a day, you have to travel in a big slow bus between departures and arrivals of each day, staying in different qualities of French regional hotels to rest your tired head and legs.
Finally, thanks to the EF Education EasyPost riders wearing Whoops during the Men’s and Women’s Tour, we can find out how they sleep – which, after reading this sentence, makes it all a whole lot scarier than expected.
But first, before the sleep stats, let’s find out what runners were doing to their bodies while they were awake.
Overall effort is a measure of your cardiovascular load and the time you spend in different heart rate zones and therefore tells you how hard your heart and body are working. The daily exertion you put on your body, which is supposed to tell you when to strain and when to rest and help you avoid overtraining, is scored from 0 to 21.
Unsurprisingly, while the women covered 1,029 kilometers in eight race stages without any rest days, their average effort for the entire race was 20.4. It’s not much more difficult than that.
Compare that to the men, who never ran more than six consecutive days. Take this midsection of six consecutive days in the second week of July 12-17 and their average strain score was 19.5, but add in the rest day of Monday July 18 in Carcassonne and that average comes down to 18, 1.
Now let’s move on to the nap stats.
There are a few different measurements here. Sleep performance is calculated by comparing how much sleep the rider gets on a given night versus how much sleep they need.
Sleep need is calculated based on the individual’s baseline sleep need while taking into account how tired they have been during the day and whether they have accumulated a sleep debt.
The team’s best Tour de France sleeper, which you’ll no doubt have guessed from the headline above, was Rigoberto Urán who scored 86%, spending an average of 8 hours and 44 minutes in bed each day. and achieving an average of 7 hours and 17 minutes of eye closure each night.
In the graph below, you can see his peak sleep performance during and around rest days. Urán’s worst night’s sleep came after teammate Magnus Cort won Stage 10, getting just 6 hours and 24 minutes. Let’s assume it was because of the excitement and celebration surrounding the team’s victory on a coveted Tour stage and not because he shared a room with the Dane.
While Urán was the best of the eight-man team, the fact that he needed 9 hours and 5 minutes of sleep per night, on average, and only got 7 hours and 17 minutes not only shows the physical effort that the Colombian had to face, but accentuates the suffering of his teammates who have slept even less than that.
The Women’s Tour de France followed the men’s race and the EF Education-Tibco-SVB riders were much better at getting the necessary rest.
Magdeleine Vallières was the team’s best sleeper, spending an average of 9 hours and 58 minutes in bed (what a life), and on average the team went to bed and slept longer than the men’s team.
Vallieres managed an average sleep performance of 96%, getting exactly the amount of sleep she needed over three days and only missing 16 minutes of sleep per night.
Insights like this from inside the peloton are scarce, and the data helps us all understand what these riders put themselves through at the biggest bike races on the planet.
Even before EF Education-EasyPost and Whoop collected all the data, they must have known that Urán was one of the team’s best in bed, judging by the photo shoot the team had during the three weeks in France.