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Analytics in Action – Stage 2

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Kittel wins stage 2 with a thrilling, brutal sprint

Marcel Kittel (QST) dominated the first bunch gallop of the 2017 Tour de France in Liège on Sunday. The early attackers saw the win slip through their fingers when the peloton caught up with less than two kilometres to go.

Meanwhile, the Yellow Jersey, Geraint Thomas (SKY), managed to survive a stressful day, thanks to the help of his teammates. After his display of raw power in stage 1, the Welshman had a different goal: avoiding the many crashes that plagued the early days of racing on the Tour. These crashes included when Chris Froome (SKY) and Romain Bardet (ALM) both hit the deck at 30.8km from the finish. The peloton was travelling at 48.5km/h when the winner of the 2016 Tour and the runner-up tasted tarmac – not too seriously, though, as both recovered speedily and rejoined the peloton to finish the stage.

How the peloton prepared for the bunch sprint

Sprinters' teams had to make sure a determined gallop would ensue after 203.5km of effort. Flat stages during the first days of the Tour all tend to follow a similar pattern:

1.) A group of three to six riders gets away early and builds the break. This Sunday, it was Thomas Boudat (DEN), Taylor Phinney (CDT), Yoann Offredo (WGG), and Laurent Pichon (TFO) attacking right from the first kilometre and quickly building a 3’ lead.

2.) The faster men's teammates usually control the peloton's pace to make sure the gap doesn't get out of hand. However, they seemed pretty nervous on their first Tour outing during stage 2: their delay didn't even reach 4'. These gaps are sure to get much bigger in the coming days. 
3.) The peloton accelerates in the final part of the stage and sets the sprinters up for the big go. The bunch covered the last 50km to Liège in less than 63' (48.26km/h) to get back to the attackers in the final 2km.

Key data highlights:

1.) Marcel Kittel (QST) is now the third German rider with at least 10 stage wins on the Tour.
2.) The attackers covered 202km at the front of the race out of the stage’s 203.5km.
3.) Taylor Phinney (CDT) made the most of the day’s two climbs to become the first US leader of the King of the Mountains classification since Tejay van Garderen in 2011.
4.) Luke Durbridge (ORS) was the third rider to drop out of the 2017 Tour de France, after Alejandro Valverde (MOV) and Ion Izaguirre (TBM) were involved in crashes during the opening time-trial on Saturday.

How data analytics creates real-time race predictions

Here’s how we use data in new and exciting ways to revolutionise your viewing experience this year. Read blog.

Previous Article: Analytics in Action – Stage 3 Next Article: Analytics in Action - Stage 1

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