The Tour has been around for 100 years--this year, 2013, was the centennial ride. It seems as though the riders have gotten stronger and faster over the years. It got my friend Steve and I to talking about this--is it really true?
It's certainly the only race I know of where the racers drink champagne on the last lap (just outside of Paris, naturally, before the grand finish on the Champs Elysee). And while the sport of bike racing has been tainted (as have nearly all sports) by recent findings of chemically augmented performances, we were still curious about the overall trend for the past 100 years. In the early days (see above), the teams didn't have much by way of support (carry your own tires!) or health and nutrition information (bring your own cigarettes on the tour too!). So...
That leads to today's search challenge:
1. Has the Tour de France been getting faster over the past century?
Of course, you'll find articles that say "yes," but we want proof! The best answer for SearchResearch will be a reliable data source AND some kind of analysis from you showing the answer.
I realize that this is yet another data analytic search challenge, but it's that kind of data summer. This isn't big data (only 100 samples with only a couple of columns), but you get the idea. Can you produce a chart and/or some kind of analysis showing that the race has been getting faster?
And, if you're curious about this kind of thing, I noticed that there are some peculiarities in the data. (I'll let you look at the data on your own to make your own observations.)
For extra credit, can you:
2. Offer a data-driven explanation for the "pecularities" in the Tour race time data?
Search (chart, and analyze) on!