The Tour Preparation Puzzle

Nobody knows. You don’t know. I don’t know. Christian Prudhomme doesn’t know. Chris Froome doesn’t know. Even David Brailsford doesn’t know.

Nobody knows who is going to win the 2016 Tour de France.

My day job is in sports betting. Even if you have solid mathematical models taking all of the previous 102 editions of the Tour into account you’d still be nowhere near knowing who will win. If you had the results of every cycling race ever, the performance data from every training ride of every rider, analytics on tactical performances of every team and the biological passport data from every rider in the race, you still wouldn’t know.

You could be confident that you could produce a very good guess. But your degree of certainty will not be approaching 100%.

In spite of all this, it doesn’t stop us all from reading endless previews of the Tour de France pondering who is going to win it and why. And in order to read endless previews we need people to write endless previews.

So, for your perusal, the following is a table of data showing what each Tour contender has done so far this season followed by a few observations:



2016 Tour de France Prep

  • There are only three riders who have nothing but yellow and orange in their column – Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and surprsingly, Thibaut Pinot.
  • Quintana has won the most stage races (3) ahead of Chris Froome (2) and Vincenzo Nibali (2)
  • Fabio Aru, Romain Bardet, Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen have not won a stage race this year. Furthermore, of these four riders only Van Garderen has even led a stage race this year – for one day at the Vuelta a Andalucia.
  • Since the Tour de Romandie it’s all orange and yellow – everyone appears to be finding form. If you find yourself thinking ‘of course it’s all orange and yellow in the build up to the Tour‘, check out the previous two times I’ve produced this chart from 2010 and 2011. It’s not always orange and yellow at this time of year.
  • Froome has raced the least days
  • Nibali, due to riding the Giro, has raced the most days. In terms of distance, he’s raced nearly twice as much as Froome.
  • Alberto Contador has not taken part in any one-day races. Couple that with his decision to skip the defence of his Giro title and it’s quite clear that he only has one goal this year. The only other two times that Contador has foregone one-day races and the Giro in the build-up to the Tour were 2014, when he crashed out with a broken leg but claimed he was in the best form he’s ever been in, and 2009, the last time he won the Tour.
  • The Tour de Suisse had a vastly inferior field to the Dauphiné this year. And all contenders who rode the Dauphiné either finished in the top five overall (Froome, Bardet, Porte, Contador) or won a stage (Aru, Pinot).
  • Nairo Quintana is going to win the Tour de France


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#Aru#Bardet#Contador#Froome#Nibali#Pinot#Porte#Quintana#Van Garderen


  1. Mendip5000 - June 22, 2016 @ 2:25 pm

    At what odds?

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