02 July 2013

Top speeds in Nice today!

The Australian Orica-GreenEDGE team dominated today's team time trial.  In time trials, cyclists wear special helmets and use modified bikes so as to reduce drag.  They further reduce air resistance in team time trials by employing the strategy of drafting, which is also used by race cars.  Tucking oneself right behind another cyclist reduces air drag.  The team time trials are fun to watch because of the tight linear formations used by the various teams.  It really is a coordinated thing of beauty as the cyclists take turns leading their teammates.

Below is how our prediction came out against today's result.
  • Stage 4:  25' 56" (actual), 27' 33" (prediction), 01' 37" slow (6.23% error)
After nailing last year's two individual time trials to better than 1%, we had high hopes for this year's time trials.  The athletes once again surprised us!  We now know that our drag coefficient reduction and power increase were not quite enough.  We will never cease being amazed by the quality of the athletes and the technological advancements in equipment made by scientists and engineers.  Well done!

Team Orica-GreenEDGE's average speed is given below.
  • Stage 4:  16.07 m/s (57.84 kph or 35.94 mph)
Wow, that's fast!  I've certainly never been on a bike moving anywhere close to that speed.  Again, kudos to the athletes and their teams for a phenomenal stage.

The Orica-GreenEDGE team put itself in great position today with team member Simon Gerrans now in possession of the yellow jersey.  Two Orica-GreenEDGE members are right behind Gerrans.  With sprinters looking to dominate the next two flat stages, Orica-GreenEDGE and its team of sprinters should keep the yellow jersey for another couple of stages.

Tomorrow's Stage 5 starts cyclists just southwest of Nice in the commune of Cagnes-sur-Mer.  Though designated a flat stage, riders will open the stage with a category-3 climb, and then meet three category-4 climbs throughout the rest of the 228.5-km (142.0-mi) stage.  The stage ends in the southern French city of Marseille.  Below is our prediction.
  • Stage 5:  5h 32' 02" (prediction)
Look for an exciting downhill sprint to finish the stage.

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