29 June 2012

It's Tour de France time!

One of my favorite times of the year is at this very moment.  We are but a single day away from the start of the Tour de France.  This year's race begins with a Prologue stage in the Belgian city of Liège.  The 6.4-km (4.0-mile) individual time trail will whet our appetites for the 3496.9 km (2172.9 miles) that will be completed by the time cyclists hit the Champs-Élysées on Sunday, 22 July.

I wrote a guest post for The Johns Hopkins University Press blog that concerns my Tour de France modeling.  Click here for the direct link to the post.  As I state there, I plan to stick my neck out again this year and offer predictions for each stage's winning time.  My student, Brian Ramsey, and I incorporate real stage data into a model that employs the unalterable laws of physics and published human-performance research to come up with our predictions (see chapter 4 of my book).  We never know in advance, of course, if there will be poor weather, crashes, or some other impediment to great racing.  We do the best science we can, and have a lot of fun in the process.  So, without further ado, below is our prediction for this year's Prologue.
  • Prologue:  7' 35" (prediction)
My best guess is that a cyclist will beat our time, but that's what makes this so enjoyable!

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