05 July 2014

Kittel Takes Stage 1!

Marcel Kittel won the first stage of this year's Tour de France, finishing ahead of Peter Sagan.  Mark Cavendish crashed near the end of the stage, but managed to finish in obvious pain.  Below is Kittel's winning time and the comparison with our prediction.
  • Stage 1:  4h 44' 07" (actual), 4h 30' 23" (prediction), 13' 44" fast (-4.83% error)
I am surprised we were a bit fast, but I'm always glad to have the first stage prediction come in under 5%.  We never know what strategies teams will employ.  Despite being classified a flat stage, the category-4 climb and the two category-3 climbs seemed to take a bit out of the riders.  We'll see if they were just saving up for the rest of the race.

Kittel, who also won last year's first stage, won today's stage with an average speed a good bit behind where he was last year.
  • Stage 1:  11.175 m/s (40.23 kph or 25.00 mph)
Last year's opening stage was 22.5 km (14.0 mi) longer than this year's first stage, yet Kittel was able to achieve an average speed last year 7% greater than what he did today.  The two category-3 climbs must have held him back a little today.

Tomorrow's Stage 2 begins in the historic city of York and ends in Sheffield, which is where I lived for nearly a year during my last sabbatical.  It would be great to be there tomorrow!  There are nine categorized climbs in tomorrow's 201-km (125-mi) stage.  Cyclists will enjoy wonderful scenery in the Peak District.  Here is our prediction for tomorrow's hill stage:
  • Stage 2:  5h 03' 00" (prediction)
Sneaking in under five hours tomorrow will be tough!

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