11 July 2014

Photo Finish in Stage 7!

Italian Matteo Trentin just barely edged out Peter Sagan of Slovakia in a thrilling sprint to end today's Stage 7 of the Tour de France.  Check out the image below that I cropped from my video feed (click on the image for a larger view).
The red line on the left is the finish line.  Could it get any closer than that?!?  Both Trentin and Sagan were among a fortunate few who managed to avoid the crashes that took place near the end of the stage, including one that happened not too far back from the finish line when the above photo was taken.

There were crosswinds during most of the first half of the stage, and then some tailwind components over the second half.  Wind speeds never really got more than about 15 kph (9.3 mph), so though riders were marginally helped by the wind, it didn't play nearly the role it did in the past three stages.  Below is Trentin's time and a comparison with our prediction.
  • Stage 7:  5h 18' 39" (actual), 5h 27' 13" (prediction), 08' 34" slow (2.69% error)
Now that the wind didn't kill our prediction, we are happy with the above comparison!  Trentin's average speed is given below.
  • Stage 7:  12.27 m/s (44.16 kph or 27.44 mph)
Think about how impressive that average speed is.  Cyclists spent nearly five-and-a-half hours in the saddle today, and the leaders still managed better than 44 kph.  On one of the final steep downhill streets, my video feed claimed speeds reached 85 kph (53 mph).  Now that's flying!

Cyclists continue heading essentially south tomorrow in a 161-km (100-mi) Stage 8, which begins in the French commune of Tomblaine.  Stage 8 is classified medium-mountain because of two big category-2 climbs and the category-3 climb that ends the stage in Gérardmer in the Vosges Mountains.  Below is our prediction.
  • Stage 8:  3h 59' 54" (prediction)
We think the best of the best will surely come in under four hours.  It's time to see what the climbers can do!

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