Partly inspired by Chris' great Coming Dutch Hegemony stories I'm currently combining work and hobby in some research that merges economics and cycling. Whereas other sports feature more regularly in this kind of popular-scientific endeavours cycling seems to be getting less atention.
What I plan to do is to get an indicator of cycling performance of different countries using a score system and results of around 30 of the top races (sounds familiar doesn't it?). Than I'll need some creative and fun methods to try and explain differences between countries. Prime suspects will be population size and level of income. But some indicator seperating the traditional cycling countries from the newcomers would be needed too. For example the distance of the capital to Paris, or the average scorings of countries in the 1970's.
As you can see I have some ideas already. But I thougth it would be fun and interesting to tap into the creativity and knowledge of PdC to see if somebody could give me some more input. I'd like some feedback on two issues. First, what other indicators can you think of that (a) have some explaining power and (b) have data available for a large set of countries in at least one year. And second, do you know of any similar research?
I'm looking forward to your response. Don't be scared, the only bad response is a non-response...
[Edit: A few more rec's would be nice to keep this inquiry in the attention area!]