24 July 2014

Nibali Locks Up Tour de France!

Vincenzo Nibali essentially won the 2014 Tour de France today with a dominating performance in the race's final mountain stage.  The image below shows the moment with 8 km (5 mi) left when The Shark decided to chomp all his competition by zooming past Team Sky's Mikel Nieve Iturralde (click on the image for a larger view).
Nibali finished more than a minute ahead of the rest of the field in winning today's stage, his fourth stage win in this year's Tour de France.  The image below shows Niabli crossing the finish line with the look of a man who knows he'll be on the podium in Paris on Sunday (click on the image for a larger view).
Below is a comparison between Nibali's winning time and our prediction.
  • Stage 18:  4h 04' 17" (actual), 4h 09' 45" (prediction), 05' 28" slow (2.24% error)
Just 24 riders out of 164 (14.6%) beat our time, so we feel like we did well with this stage.  Nibali's average speed is given below.
  • Stage 18:  9.927 m/s (35.74 kph or 22.21 mph)
Nibali now has an incredible 07' 10" lead over France's Thibaut Pinot, who, with fellow Frenchman Jean-Christophe Péraud, leapfrogged over Spain's Alejandro Valverde Belmonte, who had been in second since Stage 13.

Tomorrow's Stage 19 is a 208.5-km (129.6-mi) flat stage that begins in Maubourguet Pays du Val d'Adour, and takes riders north away from the Pyrenees to the finish in the commune of Bergerac.  Below is our prediction.
  • Stage 19:  4h 46' 18" (prediction)
Of most interest in tomorrow's stage is the fight for the spots behind Nibali.  Cyclists will jockey for position so that they will be able to make their move in Saturday's individual time trial.

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