22 July 2012

Great Tour de France Finish!

My suggestion yesterday that Mark Cavendish would help give Team Sky a wonderful day just came to fruition.  As he did last year and the two years before that, the Manx Missile won the final stage of the Tour de France.  Below is the comparison between his time and our prediction.
  • Stage 20:  3h 08' 07" (actual), 3h 05' 49" (prediction), 02' 34" fast (-1.22%)
Given how difficult it is to model the final stage of the Tour de France, I am extremely pleased with our prediction.  Cavendish's average speed is given below.
  • Stage 20:  10.63 m/s (38.27 km/hr or 23.78 mph)
It was a foregone conclusion at the start of today's stage that Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain would win this year's Tour de France.  Wiggins claimed victory with an overall time of 87h 34' 47", 03' 21" ahead of Team Sky mate Chris Froome.  A total of our predicted times gives 87h 32' 22", just 02' 25" faster than Wiggins' time, or -0.046% off.

Because we were after each stage's winner, it is better to sum the stage-winning times.  The sum of all stage-winning times is 86h 44' 14", which means we were 48' 08" slower than that time, which amounts to an error of 0.92%.  On the surface, we did a much better job determining the overall winner's time than we did the sum of stage-winning times.  The power outputs we used appear to represent an individual athlete's performance instead of the collective performances of the top athlete in each stage.

I will write a summary post for this year's Tour de France sometime tomorrow.  For now, set science aside and marvel at the wonderful feat Bradley Wiggins just completed.  As if Great Britain didn't already have enough to celebrate in the sports world right now!

On the US side, I note the wonderful effort of Tejay van Garderen, who finished 5th at 11' 04" behind Wiggins.  The soon-to-be 24-year-old easily won the white jersey as the top youth cyclist in this year's race.  Well done!

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