Week In Review: Friday July 30th

What’s have you missed this week?  Read on and I’ll tell you…

  • We wrapped up some of the Tour de France graphs, even the fancy animated ones.
  • I demonstrated that there’s nothing special about the Tour de France, graphically anyway.
  • I’ve started putting my crazy contraption, Distributed Sprint Points to good use, looking at the most improved men and women in sprinting last season.
  • FasterSkier published a short piece of mine looking at what happens to skiers who’ve performed at different levels at World Juniors or U23s, and I followed that up with similar graphs for Canada and Germany (and more to come!).
  • Finally, we’re nearing the end of the list of retiring skiers, this week learning about the career of Milan Sperl.

Holy crap, I didn’t realize I posted this much stuff this week.

Post-WJC/U23 Development: Germany

Another installment looking at how athletes have faired following WJC/U23 racing.

This time we’re looking at Germany, a country that gained some notoriety over the last 10-15 years for a dramatic turnaround in athlete development.  At least, that’s what I remember the conventional wisdom being.

We’ll start with just the basic graph (click through for larger version): Read more

Career Retrospective: Milan Sperl

The career retrospectives took an unintentional week off last Friday due my being distracted by the Tour.

Milan who?  Again, a skier who’s name I should probably know, but did not.  He’s a Czech skier who’d been competing internationally since around 2000.

Particularly since he looks like a fun guy.

Sperl won a Bronze medal in the team sprint event at the 2007 World Championships.  He’s been an important part of some solid Czech distance relay teams over the years as well.  His best individual result was a 6th place in the 50km classic at the 2005 World Championships. Read more

2010 Giro d’Italia GC Plot

I apologize again for the heavy cycling bent I’ve been on lately.  You just can’t pass up the chance to make fun graphs like these, though.

This is just your standard bumps chart for GC rank from the 2010 Giro d’Italia.  Somewhat confusingly (to casual bike fans like me) the colors of the jerseys are different than in the Tour de France.  So the overall race leader here wears pink, the sprint points leader wears red (although this has apparently changed several times through the years) and the mountain (or climbing) points leader wears green.

The classification of each stage into mountain, mixed, etc. I simply took from here.  The graph is below the fold: Read more

Post-WJC/U23 Development: Canada

In a short piece on FasterSkier the other day, I showed a graph that examined the FIS points vs. age trends of skiers broken down by their success at WJCs or U23s.  In it, I highlighted only the American athletes, apart from the general trends for all skiers.

I thought that I’d continue with a short series of posts where I recreate the same graph, but highlighting the development patterns of athletes from different nations.  I’m not going to analyze these graphs at great length.  Rather I’ll just focus on showing some interesting data.  First, we’ll look at Canada (click through for larger version): Read more

Most Improved: Women’s Sprint

Continuing on from Monday’s post, we turn now to the most improved women sprinter last season.

Here’s the table of the top ten most improved female sprinters on the World Cup:

Change in average of the best five sprint races using my alternative points measure.
NameChange'08-'09'09-'10
BJELLAANES Karianne-69.196.127
JATSKAJA Oxana-66.9102.235.2
JACOBSEN Astrid-34.868.133.3
VISNAR Katja-34.849.915.2
CUINET Aurore-3058.328.2
GAIAZOVA Daria-2570.745.7
UDRAS Kaija-24.872.447.6
KOROSTELEVA Natalia-22.126.84.7
INGEMARSDOTTER Ida-21.324.93.7
GJEITNES Kari Vikhagen-17.350.132.8

First, the familiar names (at least, familiar to me).  Korosteleva and Ingemarsdotter are both excellent sprinters who’ve been around for at least a handful of seasons.  Astrid Jacobsen is an interesting name to appear: her best sprint seasons by far were ’06-’07 and ’07-’08.  She had a significant drop off the subsequent year in ’08-’09, which helps her show a major improvement for the ’09-’10 season.  Wikipedia is telling me that she had some significant injury and illness issues during the ’08-’09 season.  She appears to have bounced back with some good races in Vancouver, the Tour de Ski and one or two solid World Cup results.

Katja Visnar is a Slovenian skier who mainly seems to have succeeded in advancing further through the heats this past season, including several top ten results (6th, 8th and 9th).

Here’s the results for each of these ten skiers:

Recall that this is all using Distributed Sprint Points, which are explained here.  There are a lot of athletes here that I’m not so familiar with, so I’ll keep my commentary to a minimum.  Korosteleva’s “improvement” might also be mainly the result the slight dip in performance she had in 2008-2009.  French sprinter Aurore Cuinet had a handful of significantly improved sprints this year: 8th, 13th and 15th in World Cups.

Karianne Bjellaanes is a Norwegian sprinter I had actually not heard of before who definitely had two promising 5th place finishes in WCs last season.  Canadian Daria Gaiazova generally hasn’t had too much success sprinting but managed two 12th place finishes last season as well.

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FasterSkier Article

The guys at FasterSkier were kind enough (again) to post something of mine at their site.  You can read it here.  I’ll be following up that article with more graphs highlighting skiers from different countries over the next week or two, so stay tuned…

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