POWERFILE ANALYSIS: Greg Henderson Stage 4 of Tour de France by Stephen Gallagher

Jul 05, 2012

greghenderson.jpgStage 4: Abbeville - Rouen 214.5km

Rider Profile - Greg Henderson


Height - 1m 81


Weight - 70kg

Greipel wins Tour de France stage in Rouen.

Today’s stage was a perfect opportunity for the sprinters and their teams to make a mark on the race.  So nervousness and anxiety of a swelling and erratic peloton in the last 20km of a Tour de France stage is not a place for the faint hearted.  Cue the lead out men who have the job to not only chaperone their team leader but also put their limbs and skins on the line in the process. Who better to do this job than prolific winner in his own right Kiwi, Greg Henderson, who is partaking in his first Tour de France in service of André Greipel of Germany.

Greg has been racing at the top level of the sport for many years and has the tag of one of the finest lead out men in the business and we now have the powerfiles to confirm his strengths, along with the results this formidable Lotto-Belisol team have gained so far in this years Tour.

The data shows that for the first 3hrs of the stage Henderson had an average power of 146w which is below his endurance range. Proving the initial 100km was conservative for this lead out man who’s mindset was on making sure he had all his bullets left come 10km to go

The fireworks really started in the last 25km of the stage when the bunch jostling and fighting for position is a priority, keeping your sprinter and GC riders out of harm’s way is paramount. Henderson’s average speed of 49kph in the section from 25km to 10km with an average power of 231w (260w Normalized) and 3.3w/kg, the effort was starting to ramp up as you would expect coming into the final of this stage.

What is really interesting to see is the last 10km, where the heat was really on to keep positioned near the front, Henderson was riding at or above his threshold with wattage of a normalized power of 391w and increasing his ratio to 5.1w/kg, all this after 5 ½ hr of racing.  With an increase of nearly 2 watts per kilo difference between the two sections you can see a major concerted effort was made by the Lotto-Belisol team to keep Greipel out of danger using the initial lead out men to keep the pace high.

This proved to be a excellent move to take the reins at the front of the bunch as a major crash just 15 riders back from the front at 2.7km to go caused major chaos for some of Greipel’s main adversaries, but this left Henderson and his team in a excellent position to finish the job as the pace was at a level that no one was going to take over there dominant position at the head of the bunch while the chaos of the crash behind was casing havoc to the other lead out trains and sprint favourites. At this point Henderson was still sitting on the wheel of his fellow lead out men sitting at 60kph.

The last kilometre is an impressive show of strength and velocity from both Henderson and Greipel as they dominated the sprint. The stats for the final 1km are below-

Total Time:0:01:00

Distance:0.99 km

Energy:40 kJ






Power (Watts):




Speed (km/h):




Pace (min/km):




Cadence (rpm):




Elev (m):




Temp (C):




From this you can see an average close to 60kph in this last kilometre with Griepel having to come off his team mates wheel and start his own sprint as Henderson was hitting close to 68kph.  Henderson’s cadence averaged 109rpm which shows his ability to hold a high sustained cadence producing a maximal effort, an early career schooling on the track showing it’s benefits here. A max effort of 1150w for a rider of 70kg is a power to weight of 16.5 w/kg at the tip of this text book lead out. A very high anaerobic effort produced after a solid previous 20min gradual rise in speed and power.

Henderson’s final lead out lasted approx 300m (17sec) and you can see on the file the interval snap shot of this explosive effort - 893w average touching a sustained speed of 66kph. All this produced after 5hr 40min in the saddle and avoiding the havoc of a massing peloton in the last 10km of this beautiful and prestigious event. With 3 Lotto-Belisol riders in the top 12 of the stage you can see they played their cards to perfection.

Henderson’s first participation in the 2012 Tour de France has already got off to a good start and I think we will be seeing a lot more of his 300m lead out’s in the next 2 weeks.

Category: Powerfile Reviews

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