20 July 2012

Manx Missile Blasts Stage 18!

Mark Cavendish won his second long flat stage of this year's Tour de France.  We were once again too slow with our prediction.  Cavendish and the other cyclists who finished just inside five hours surprised us!  Below is the comparison with our prediction.
  • Stage 18:  4h 54' 12" (actual), 5h 15' 05" (prediction), 20' 53" slow (7.10% error)
The is our second-to-worst prediction (Stage 10 at 8.16% error is our worst).  We were once again stunned by how much power the top cyclists were outputting.  Below is what Cavendish averaged for today's stage.
  • Stage 18:  12.60 m/s (45.38 km/hr or 28.20 mph)
Cavendish won Stage 2 with an average speed of 11.64 m/s (8.25% faster today), and Stage 2 was 15.0 km (9.32 miles) shorter!  Plus, Stage 2 was was essentially flat, whereas Stage 18 contained three category 4 climbs and one category 3 climb.  To match Cavendish's time today, we would have needed 15% - 20% additional power in our model.  Suffice to say, we are quite impressed with what the Manx Missile did today!

Tomorrow's Stage 19 is the penultimate stage of this year's Tour de France.  It is an individual time trial that runs over 53.5 km (33.2 miles) from Bonneval to Chartres, taking riders north and closer to Paris.  Below is our prediction.
  • Stage 19:  1h 04' 39" (prediction)
Given how fast cyclists were today, we won't be shocked if someone sneaks under an hour.

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