07 July 2016

Cavendish gets #3 this year!

Mark Cavendish picked up his third stage win in this year's Tour de France.  Cycling was a bit slow today.  The peloton took it easy at times and cyclists seemed to be affected by the heat.  Temperatures got to about 30 C (86 F), which is hot enough to be bothered when one's cycling competitively for nearly five hours.  Below is Cavendish's winning time and a comparison with our prediction.
  • Stage 6:  4h 43' 48" (actual), 4h 21' 26", 22' 22" fast (-7.88% error)
We were a bit fast today, though I think the heat played a role in slowing cyclists down a little.  Below is Cavendish's average speed.
  • Stage 6:   11.19 m/s (40.27 kph or 25.03 mph)
Had we know about the heat, we might have pulled the power down a little.  But our model has done really well on four of the six stages so far, although we messed up one of those four when we cut the power too much.  We were under 8% today, which was something we thought of as good a decade ago.  Now we want to do better!

Stage 7 is 162.5-km (101.0-mi) long medium-mountain stage that begins in the commune of L'Isle-Jourdain.  A category-1 climb to the 1490-m (4888-ft) summit of Col d'Aspin near the end of the stage will introduce the riders to the French Pyrenees.  I can't wait to see that climb!  After the summit will be a downhill sprint to Lac de Payolle.  Our prediction is below.
  • Stage 7:   4h 11' 35" (prediction)
Did cyclists save some energy today for tomorrow's big climb?  If so, we could be a little slow.  But we'll see how the model performs tomorrow.

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