Tomorrow it is time for 99th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. Before the race start let’s take a look at some historical statistics of this race. For now we limit ourselves to the basic statistics that we also considered for the Tour Down Under. Furthermore we consider the years 2012-2018 and exclude the results in team time trials.
In Figure 1 you can find the number of stage wins per rider. The overall stage win leader is without a doubt Alejandro Valverde (8 wins). You can easily see that his - almost 39 year old hero - still has the momentum. Two of the eight wins are from 2018 and another 3 from 2017. We are sure he has quite some plans this edition as well.
The runner-ups in the winner plot are quite diverse rider types. You can see that Nacer Bouhanni, Thomas de Gendt and Luka Mezgec all have 3 stage wins. Bouhanni took the three wins in 2016/2017, Luka Mezgec went on a winning spree in 2014 and De Gendt spread his victories a bit more with wins in 2018, 2016 and 2013.
Besides the wins we also take a closer look at the top 10 classifications in Figure 2. Valverde is still in the lead with 15 top 10 classifications since 2012. However, Dan Martin is not too far behind and ended up 13 times in the top 10. However, Valverde cannot claim the ‘most top 10 classifications in a single year’ prize. This honor goes to Matej Mohorič with 6 top 10 classifications out of 7 stages!. Dan Martin can also receive some extra attention. He is the rider with most years with at least 1 top 10 classification (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017).
In our last analysis, shown in Figure 3, we take a look at how the GC winner moves within the GC as the race matures. The figure is a bit complex, so let’s walk through an example and focus on Richie Porte in 2015 (the grey line). After the first stage Porte is seriously behind. If you hover over the grey dot (perhaps hard on a mobile device) you can see that he is 170 seconds behind the leader Maciej Paterski. After stage 4 Richie gained quite some time and is in second position. However, he is still 21 seconds behind the leader at that point: Bart de Clercq. After stage 5 Porte takes the GC lead and keeps it until the end. In the end he won the GC with a 4 second lead over Valverde.
The figure gives a lot of insights, but we would still like to emphasize the following main points:
- Once the overall GC winner is in the leading position he generally keeps it. Only in 2018 Valverde lost his GC in stage 3.
- All overall winners are in the lead after stage 5.
- Most years the GC is a close call. We see larger differences in 2017 (63 seconds) and 2012 (90 seconds).
If you made it this far, you may also be interested in our Volta Ciclista a Catalunya predictions for 2019.
update 24-3-2019: corrected some mistakes in the top 10 classifications plot.