19 July 2012

Valverde Takes Final Mountain Stage!

Alejandro Valverde of Spain won the last mountain stage in this year's Tour de France with an impressive final climb to cross the finish line all by himself.  Christopher Froome and Bradley Wiggins were just 19 seconds behind, which may just lock up this year's race for Wiggins.  Below is the comparison between our prediction and Valverde's winning time.
  • Stage 17:  4h 12' 11" (actual), 4h 01' 29" (prediction), 10' 42" fast (-4.24% error)
I challenged riders yesterday to finish in under four hours, but the final climbs were just too brutal and we were a little more than 4% too fast.  I don't mind the size of the error too much; what's mainly important for me is learning how to better model stages like today's grueling mountain stage.  Below is Valverde's average speed.
  • Stage 17:  9.484 m/s (34.14 km/hr or 21.21 mph)
It was slower than I thought, but still quite impressive for such a challenging stage.

Tomorrow's 222.5-km (138.3-mile) flat Stage 18 takes riders almost due north from the commune of Blagnac to the commune of Brive-la-Gaillarde.  There are three category 4 climbs and one category 3 climb.  Below is our prediction.
  • Stage 18:  5h 15' 05" (prediction)
Bradley Wiggins, Christopher Froome, and Team Sky look too strong this year.

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