Cabaud B, Scelles N, Francois A & Morrow S (2015) Modeling Performances and Competitive Balance in Professional Road Cycling. In: Van Reeth D & Larsen D (eds.) The Economics of Professional Road Cycling. Sports Economics, Management and Policy, 11. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, pp. 257-283. http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319223117
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 not easy to define in road cycling. This is because cycling can be seen as a team sport but the global team performance usually is of minor importance or even not taken into account at all. A large proportion of cyclists are 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 amongst 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 2013 and 2014 Tour de France, and we discuss its implications.