What’s the Average Speed of Tour de France Riders in MPH?

How fast do pro cyclists ride? What's a pro rider's average speed?

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tour de france speeds in mph | how fast do pro cyclists ride

Reese: “I’ve been watching the pro cyclists in the Tour de France this year, and I’ve heard some speeds thrown out here and there, but I can’t seem to figure out how fast they’re really going. What is a rider’s average speed in miles per hour?”

This is a popular question, Reese. In fact, you’re one of about 30 people to ask us this since the beginning of this year’s Tour de France. While there’s not a simple answer to your question, we can break it down into a few generalities here.

FLATS

In 2015, Rohan Dennis broke a record for the fastest average speed in a time trial at 34.5 miles per hour (55.446kmph). As a rule, the pack can hammer on flats at around 26-29mph. That certainly varies, and you’ll often hear Paul and Phil talk about how the peloton is moving at well over 30mph.

SPRINTS

When the pack hits a sprint finish, it can often stamp out speeds of over 40mph. In fact, Andre Greipel’s uploaded Strava data from Stage 5 showed that he had to hit 43.5mph (70km) in order to win.

tour de france speeds in mph | how fast do pro cyclists ride
Photo by Pete Kavanagh

CLIMBS

Yesterday, Dan Martin was reported as climbing the Pyrenees at 12mph. THE PYRENEES. Based on my research, it seems that most climbs are done at around 12-14mph–and we’re talking about some serious gradients and after several hours in the saddle for days on end. Of course, many of us could probably climb pretty well with all those hours put in. Except for we sprinters, amiright?

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WINNING SPEED

Over the last several years, the winner of the tour has posted an overall average speed of right around 25mph (40kmph)–but that encompasses an entire tour. Uphill, downhill, time trial, flatland, it’s all averaged at 25mph. A little faster than us. A little.

But that’s us. How do you stack up?

About Bek 301 Articles
SLO Cyclist's former chief editor and recovering road snob, Bek made sure everything ran smoothly around here. She was also the one who reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously--unless it involves black socks. Black socks are always serious.

11 Comments

  1. I have held 32 mph for a couple miles aided by a tailwind.

    Yesterday, Cavendish posted a photo of his Garmin showing a max speed of nearly 102 kph. He said he reached that speed descending Tormelet. My highest is 54.5 mph.

    • I average 14+ On solo rides. Unless, of course, there is another rider in my peripheral. Just keep them looking ass and elbows, I haven’t had the very closest outside of the block.

    • With an average speed of 14mph, no serious cyclist is going to be on your wheel. They are going to leave you in the dust…

  2. Can anyone please tell us what the approximate number of pedals (each leg) were per kilometer for Chris Froome and the group who completed the 2017 TdF?
    We are trying to get an estimate of the number of pedals (per leg) for the full 3.500 km. Eg if the pedals per km was, say, 1.000 then the total number of pedals was 3.500.000. We cannot believe there is any accurate record of the actual figures. Thank you

    • Simple math can give you that. Take Froome’s average cadence and multiply it by his total hours ridden to get the units, you can also do the inverse with speed divided by distance to get the time.

      i.e. if the total distance of race ‘x’ was 2500 km and he averaged 50km/h we know it took him 50 hours exactly to finish the race and lets say his average cadence was 100 RPMs – then we can conclude 50x60x100 = 300,000 rotations to finish the race. From that and the distance, along with all the other data – you can basically extrapolate F1 type numbers on the power, wattage, gearing, etc. etc. To say ‘We cannot believe there is any accurate record of the actual figures’ is absurd – they know the temperature of the air, ground, psi in both tires, L/R balance of power, coefficient of drag of the bike and the person, head and crosswinds, etc. etc.

      Heck, I am super amatuer and have a garmin bike computer with more data than I know what to do with.

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