More confusing in a good way. Maybe.
The problem isn’t lack of information. All the information you could ever want is out there. Unfortunately it is hidden away on websites with poor SEO and little context. The context part isn’t really their fault. It turns out that bike racing, or at least road racing, has no context by design.
I’ve been trying to fit a very square peg into a very round hole. While there is something called the National Pro Tour, all its events are not created equal. Some have much more prestige and/or prize money than others. To make things more confusing many of these events conflict with each other.
Then there’s those darn Canadians. As expected Canada has its own races and most of the top American teams race in them. Also, the Canadians come down here. What this creates then is a bunch of teams from different countries racing in an unconnected series of races. Hardly satisfying for a detail-oriented person such as myself.
Then there is the concept of the “winner.” While a race does have a general classification winner there are also rankings for climbers, sprinters, young’uns and teams. Sometimes those winners are all the same people, but usually they aren’t. On longer races you also have to follow and compare stage results with overall standings. This is starting to look like a big data exercise.
Then there are the point standings. The national organizations keep track of event results and create rankings based on some form of alternative math where the leaders get fewer points than the losers. In a future post I will try to figure out how that works.
In another post I will try to understand what teams are allowed to race where they do and how they figure out their schedules.
For simplicity sake I’m going to concentrate my “following” efforts on the teams. They are the pivotal data point in this schema of things. Still working on the details of how I’m going to do that.