15 July 2013

Stage 16 Prediction

The Tour de France picks up tomorrow in the southeastern French commune of Vaison-la-Romaine.  The medium mountain stage takes riders 168 km (104 mi) east and slightly north to the commune of Gap.   Riders meet a category-3 climb early, followed quickly by a category-2 climb.  A second category-2 climb in the Alps awaits riders near the stage's end as they'll ascend the 1268-m (4160-ft) peak of Col de Manse.  The stage should end with a great downhill sprint.  Cyclists will meet Col de Manse again on Thursday in this year's much-anticipated Stage 18.  Below is our Stage 16 prediction.
  • Stage 16:  4h 12' 20" (prediction)
I fully expect our prediction to be slow once again.  The temptation to tweak our model in the middle of the race is strong, but I resist that because such a tweak at this point is not scientific.  We need more time to explore motivations for needed changes.  If I were betting on tomorrow's stage, I might go with a time of 3h 45' 00", given how fast the cyclists were in the past week.  As I've already noted, our model that worked well in 2012 worked well during the first week of this year's race, but did not work well last week.  There is much to learn this week!

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