Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Riding to Victory: Paris-Roubaix 2002-2011

As analysis nerds and classics dorks, we are intensely interested in learning how races are won and how victories are earned. While we realize that the route of Paris-Roubaix has changed a bit over time, we think that a narrative graphic of how recent editions have been won is insightful.

In the following, we show how the winner of each edition progresses to victory as each race is run: the height of the bar goes up as the winner's chance of victory is increased with each move. Without further ado, we offer the following graphic (download for better viewing).

The cobbled road to victory.
Unlike the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the ways to win Paris-Roubaix appear more diverse. Museeuw's long-range sortie in 2002 was nearly equaled by Cancellara's epic win in 2010. When the stars didn't shine in 2011 the winning move was made from far away, aided by discord in the team captains' chasing group.

What do you think will happen in this year's Paris-Roubaix? Will lieutenants steal the show?

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