26 July 2015

Greipel Sprints to #4 on Froome's Big Day!

We've done so well in the past when it comes to predicting the last stage.  It's mostly ceremonial, but there is usually a great sprint for the win.  Today was no different on that front, but rain really dropped speeds.  I've not seen rain in Paris like this on the final stage.  Check out Chris Froome and his Team Sky mates (click on the image for a larger view).
That was not long after the stage began.  Look at those wet streets!  I knew we would be too fast today.  Froome was offered some champagne to toast his victory (click on the image for a larger view).
The poor people running the cameras could barely keep their lenses dry!  Despite the rain, who could possibly complain about weather while riding through Paris (click on the image for a larger view)?
Now I can't wait to get back there!  Because the streets were so slick, race organizers called for all cyclists to get the same time with 68.5 km (42.6 mi) to go.  The screen capture I grabbed below shows the moment when Froome actually won the Tour de France (click on the image for a larger view).
Even though rain really slowed riders, we still got to enjoy a great sprint at the very end.  Who else but André Greipel was going to show the world who the best sprinter is?  He had himself perfectly situated for the final surge and powered his way past France's Bryan Coquard (click on the image for a larger view).
It was close, but the Gorilla always seems to be in first!  He now has four stage wins this year and ten overall.  He's the best sprinter in the world!  Below is a comparison between reality and our prediction.
  • Stage 21:  2h 49' 41" (actual), 2h 35' 06" (prediction), 14' 35" fast (-8.59% error)
More than being annoyed with the weather and how it affected our prediction, I was hoping to see faster racing on the ten loops in Paris.  It was still a wonderful sprint, though.  Greipel's average speed is given below.
  • Stage 21:  10.76 m/s (38.72 kph or 24.06 mph)
That is really slow for the final stage.  Thanks a lot, rain!  The weather didn't dampen the celebration as Chris Froome won his second Tour de France (click on the image for a larger view).
Froome completed the 3360.3-km (2088.0-mi) race in 84h 46' 14", which gives an average speed of 11.01 m/s (39.64 kph or 24.63 mph).  One has to go back to 2010 for an average speed that slow, and this year's race was the shortest since 2002.  Those mountain stages were truly brutal!  Froome was just 72 seconds faster than Nairo Quintana (left in the above image) and 05' 25" faster than Alejandro Valverde (right in the above image).  I loved seeing the kids on the podium!

This has been an incredibly fun Tour de France to watch.  My research student, Chad Hobson, made the science we pursued intellectually stimulating.  Just 342 days until the 2016 Tour de France begins!

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