06 July 2013

Great stage for Froome ... bad stage for us ...

Chris Froome of the Sky Procycling Team, one of the world's best climbers in the mountains, won today's Stage 8.  He also took hold of the yellow jersey; he holds a 51" lead over Sky teammate Richie Porte of Australia.  Below is Froome's time and the comparison with our prediction.
  • Stage 8:  5h 03' 18" (actual), 5h 30' 55" (prediction), 27' 37" slow (9.11% error)
When I began modeling the Tour de France in 2003 with Ben Hannas, we were happy that the majority of our predictions came in under 10%.  That's not true today.  Our prediction for this stage was just BAD -- no other way around it.  We'll have to look carefully at this stage and determine where the flaw in our model for this stage is lurking.  We note that 94 cyclists, which represent half the field, finished in a time greater than our prediction.  What our prediction pegged was the average Tour de France cyclist, not the day's best.

Froome's average speed is given below.
  • Stage 8:  10.72 m/s (38.58 kph or 23.97 mph)
That's a great average considering the two big climbs cyclists traversed today.  Well done, Froomey!

Tomorrow's Stage 9 is a full-fledged mountain stage in the Pyrenees.  The commune of Saint-Girons is the starting point of the 168.5-km (104.7-mi) stage, which ends to the west in Bagnères-de-Bigorre.  Riders contend with a category-2 climb early on, and then face four category-1 climbs before the 30-km (19-mi) descent to the finish line.  A stage like this requires incredible athletes and well-planned strategy.  Below is our prediction.
  • Stage 9:  4h 56' 40" (prediction)
We've been just a bit slow on each stage, until today when were much too slow.  We love our predictions for the first seven stages; we hope to take a mulligan on today.  Monday, 8 July is a rest day.  After tomorrow's stage, riders will need a day off!

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