Unsung Heroes of Tour de France

July 1st, 2010 · 1 Comment

Tour de France 2010 is about to start and I wanted to share a (work in progress) info visualisation project I’ve been working on (the data used below are the results from TDF 2009).In ‘le grande’ race, there’s a tendency to focus on the top riders, even sometimes only on the top 10-15 riders, and while this sure is what makes for a thrilling race (and good media coverage) I wanted to understand what is going on during the race for the rest of the 100’s of riders. Some struggle, others shine briefly during one or two stages while some decide to call it quits before getting to Paris.tdfviz_crop.jpgThe software I’ve built is to understand the race dynamics of the unsung heroes - all the riders who are NOT heavily covered by media, and who are, in a sense, only there to support the big names. That said, they still perform an outstanding athletic achievement worth exploring and visualising.Screenshot of app showing all riders (most cropped outside the scope of the window).tdfviz_app_all.jpgSample rendering of the top 25 riders (with larger spacing on y-axis to visually enhance the time differences).tdfviz_app_top25.jpgThe software grabs data from all stages and all riders and displays each rider as a line. The main focus is the time difference and the gaps that appear - and what I found fascinating is how this clearly shows when the race hits the mountains (where the lines explode downward as the time difference to the leaders grow) and in other places where a group of riders get away from the leader group and finishes the stage a fair bit ealier than the rest, thus advancing upwards on the graph.The time differences are massive, this shows all the riders vertically spread out by time difference (each yellow horisontal line is 5 minute increments).tdfviz_full_picture.jpgAll the data is being pulled from a Google Docs spreadsheet, manipulated by Processing and the exported as a PDF.This is work in progress, hopefully I can put some more energy into it as TDF 2010 progresses.

Tags: experiments · open source · okdeluxe · processing · code driven graphics

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Alex Nisbett // Jul 2, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Awesome stuff Mikkel, it would be interesting to understand more about the domestiques and their duties; so if they’re slowing down to collect bottles and distributing them to team mates, ie the reasons for their seemingly poor times. Do they for instance actually ride further?

    Also how about adding the profile of the route underneath that way one can see the performance efforts in the mountains.

Leave a Comment

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree