# Saxo-Tinkoff invade the podium

You probably think that podiums (podia?) are there to be clambered onto. You’re wrong. They’re there to be invaded. Just ask Team Saxo-Tinkoff *directeur sportif, *Fabrizio Guidi, now that the team has riders in second and third place.

“I’m very happy to see that both Roman Kreuziger and Alberto Contador are doing such a stunning time trial and we have now conquered the two lower spots of the podium.”

Take that, the podium. Consider two-thirds of you to have been conquered.

### Foreshadowing

A mountain time trial is a good way to start a tough stint in the Alps. We get to see each rider operating independently and this gives us a decent idea who’ll be strong and who won’t over the next few days.

Chris Froome won, but we expected that. Alberto Contador was nine seconds behind him and Joaquim Rodriguez was one second behind Contador. Rodriguez is known for being a godawful time trialist and while the inclines will certainly have offset that significantly, he does seem to be in really good form for this last week. Bit late, but he’s surging up the general classification.

Of course one rider’s rise means another must be falling and here we have to look at the Dutch pair of Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam. Mollema is actually still ahead of Rodriguez, but he’s the one to have suffered as a result of Saxo-Tinkoff’s podium invasion.

### Stage 18

Alpe d’Huez. Twice. 13.8km at 8.1%. Here’s the profile.

### Playing the percentages

Pierre Rolland wants to win the Alpe d’Huez stage.

“There’s a 90% chance that I won’t win but I’m going to exploit that remaining 10% by giving 1,000%.”

He didn’t say whether the 1,000% effort would improve the 10% chance of winning to something like 11 or 12%. It could be that 1,000% effort ensures the 10% chance and a mere 990% effort would compromise his chances further.

There’s a real lack of clarity here and I for one am incensed about this.

These profiles are disappointing. I would like them if the vertical and horizontal scales were the same. Make them cycle up 80% inclines, I say. That’ll sort the men from the boys.

Is getting off and pushing a legal option? I’ve definitely got to points going uphill when it’s quicker.

Yeah, getting off and pushing is pretty common in the Tour of Flanders. However, it’s usually because the peloton constricts when it hits a sudden steep hill and so it’s impossible to cycle quickly enough to stay upright because there’s no room.

If anything, won’t 1000% effort on a 10% chance of winning (at 100% effort) produce a 100% chance of winning? This is assuming a correlation coefficient of 1; but to determine a meaningful linear relationship we need more data from Rolland.

Somebody should alert the French bookies.

Let’s monitor where he ACTUALLY finishes and then take the evidence to the authorities or his team manager, depending on how things pan out.

I could be wrong, but I’m guessing he’ll deliver something less than 1,000%.

I think it’s now time that all teams should submit all of their ‘perceived chance of winning’ and ‘intended effort as a potentially infinite percentage’ data to a UCI panel of statistical experts. Then, and only then, will cycling fans be able to trust what they see on the road, and perform simple linear regressions.

It’s just that there are so many ill-informed armchair analysts who would misinterpret the data and reach incorrect effort percentage conclusions.