28 June 2013

Tour de France Time!

The 100th Tour de France is set to begin tomorrow (29 June) on the island nation of Corsica.  Instead of a short prologue stage, riders will encounter a full 213-km (132-mi) flat stage.  Beginning in the commune of Porto-Vecchio, Stage 1 takes cyclists north along the eastern edge of Corsica toward the finish at the commune of Bastia.  Testing the competitors early will be a category-4 climb as they reach the 45.5-km (28.3-mi) point.  Most of the rest of the stage is quite flat.

As I've done the past two years, I will post predictions for each stage's winning time.  Working with me again this year is Lynchburg College physics major Brian Ramsey.  Our goal, as always, is to predict the winning time, not the person who will win the stage.  The basic model we employ is described in Chapter 4 of my book (click here or on the image of my book's cover on the right side of the blog).  We have modified our model this year and we are anxious to see how well it does.  If it works well, we'll obviously be thrilled.  If not, we'll have to tweak a little here and there and, hopefully, learn a bit more about how the world works.  That's what's great about doing science -- learning something!

So, without further ado, here is our prediction for stage 1:
  • Stage 1:  4h 59' 17" (prediction)
This prediction is a bit of a challenge to the athletes:  finish the first stage in less than five hours!  Will they hold back a little, knowing they've got 20 more stages?  Or will some bold rider set a fast pace?

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