Yesterday, I offered some perspective on riders I thought made strides this season (just scroll down a bit if you haven’t read my thoughts yet). Much of that analysis was driven by my own observations, but I did a fair bit of data work to add a level of comprehensiveness that I would not have otherwise achieved. I work a lot with data analysis at my day job, and I couldn’t help myself when I started thinking about tools I might use to analyze rider performance! I figured I might as well share that data with anyone who is interested.
I took Cycling Quotient’s top 200 riders and gathered various ranking data on them, namely: rider name, birthdate, nationality, 2013 team, 2012 CQ rank and points, 2013 CQ rank and points, 2012 UCI rank and points, and 2013 UCI rank and points. I calculated the changes in rank and points for both systems, and also the absolute values of points changes for both systems, and ended up with a table that was sortable based on many different factors. For those of you who are also bored and starving for cycling info this offseason, I hope my work will offer some solace!
Here is the file, for download at your convenience:
If you know your way around Excel, you can sort and filter this info to your heart’s content. Want to examine the top-ranked British riders under the age of 28? Open in Excel, go to the data tab and apply filters, filter date of birth and nationality as you like, sort on CQ rank (or WorldTour rank if that’s what you’re looking for) and voila! I found sorting on absolute value of points deltas to be quite enlightening in terms of visualizing which riders saw the most emphatic changes from 2012 to 2013. Here are the top 25 biggest swings in CQ points out of that list of 200 in a handy bar chart from Datawrapper:
You can visualize all kinds of info if you know what you’re doing. And no matter how you feel about the UCI WorldTour system, the WT points swings you’ll see in the file actually do a pretty darn good job of tracking rider performance at the highest level from one year to the next; one of Cycling Quotient’s most valuable features is that it assigns a meticulously plotted points value to every pro (and national/world championship) race on the calendar. Thusly, young up-and-comers who have a lot of success on lower circuits make their way onto the CQ radar well before they make their way onto the world stage. At the same time, this means that it can be a bit harder to use CQ ranking to visualize which riders made big statements with top-level victories, which is essentially the point of the WorldTour ranking system. However, don’t forget the Pro Continental riders do not score WT points, meaning that those who rode for Europcar in 2013 will be absent from the WT rankings, etc.
Some interesting top-level tidbits: how amazing was Chris Froome’s 2013? Even after a very successful 2012, Froome raised the bar to an unprecedented degree with his 2013. Meanwhile, nobody came close to Froome’s compatriot Bradley Wiggins in terms of sheer dropoff in results. Joaquim Rodriguez is an interesting case: even with another Monument victory, 2nd place at the World Champs, a podium finish in the Tour, and a host of other successes leading to his second straight WT number 1, he saw a pretty steep points decline on both the CQ and WT scale. The data also remind us that despite a Tour filled with interview focused on his apparent demise, Mark Cavendish still had one heck of a season; don’t forget his 5 Giro victories on route to that race’s points classification victory. And for a final note, remember that this list includes those riders in Cycling Quotient’s top 200 for the year: that means that one of the biggest performance drop-offs of the season isn’t reflected anywhere, because Ryder Hesjedal is not one of CQ’s top 200 this year!
I hope my data compiling allows you to crystalize your own opinions about rider performance trends. And don’t get too down if you’re an Edvald Boasson Hagen or Simon Gerrans fan: remember how big an impact injury can have on a rider’s performance in any given year. And with that, I’ll leave you to your analysis! Enjoy.
Rider data from cqranking.com and uciprotour.com, data visualization from datawrapper.de.