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    Modeling performances and competitive balance in road cycling competitions

    Cabaud, Benjamin, Scelles, Nicolas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6177-5307, François, Aurélien and Morrow, Stephen (2022) Modeling performances and competitive balance in road cycling competitions. In: The Economics of Professional Road Cycling. Sports Economics, Management and Policy (19). Springer, pp. 253-281. ISBN 9783031112577 (hardback); 9783031112584 (ebook)

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    In the economics of professional team sports leagues, the concept of competitive balance is well documented. It postulates the necessity of equilibrium between the teams in a league in order to guarantee uncertainty of outcome and thus generate public demand. By contrast, performances and competitive balance are hard to define in road cycling. This is because cycling can be seen as a team sport but the overall team performance usually is of minor importance or even not taken into account at all. A large proportion of cyclists in a race take part in support of another rider, meaning that they do not care about their personal result but instead try to help their team leader(s). Moreover, a team leader generally has one specific objective among a range of possible ones. This chapter deals with the complex issue of modeling performances and competitive balance in professional road cycling. After a brief review of the literature on modeling performances and competitive balance in cycling, an innovative measure is introduced: competitive intensity in cycling. We illustrate this measure with two stages of the 2020 Tour de France, and we discuss its implications.

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