Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tour de France 2012 : Permitted Stage Finish Times

Hello everyone! Its that time again of the Tour de France, and I for one am quite thrilled by this year's route and the open field we have in 198 riders.
I've been quite curious lately as to how the Tour organizers calculate their "permitted" finish times for each stage. Obviously, if a racer finished outside of this time, they will unfortunately be eliminated from the entire Tour (unless special circumstances kick in, where the riders will be docked points or things like that). This brings to mind the famous incident last year at the Tour where our 'fastest man on wheels', boy Cavendish himself narrowly escaped elimination when he finished 35 minutes clear of the winner of Stage 18. 

Anyway, here's how the Tour organizers decide what the elimination cutoff will be : on each stage, the cutoff time will be the winner's time + % of the winner's time. The % of the winner's time is based on a co-efficient as follows : 

Where :

Today, Cancellara bested everyone in the 6.8K prologue in 7:13. That's an average speed of 34.33 mph!  If by some stroke of luck, you got to test yourself in the prologue against the best in the world. You better be in shape to finish this TT in around 9 minutes and change. Hence, you need an average speed of atleast 45.33 kmph or 28.16 mph to be considered for dead last. That puts a bit of perspective into this whole thing. 

More interesting things as the Tour rolls will come soon. Stay tuned.


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