Competitive balance is a concept that has given rise to numerous studies in sports economics. Recently, it has been complemented by the concept of competitive intensity. Nevertheless, these notions have been developed essentially for team sports. This article suggests a model of competitive intensity adapted to cycling. Based on the fact that individual performance is the most important factor in this sport, the model takes into account three elements which generate competitive intensity in the context of stage races: uncertainty about the general classification, uncertainty about the stage victory, and attacks. After having detailed the calculations for each of these three elements, the competitive intensity of two stages with a similar profile is compared so as to identify some factors that create uncertainty. The extension of this approach can help organisers in their choice of the routes to be favoured.
By Benjamin Cabaud, Nicolas Scelles, Aurélien François