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PR Stat Attack: Reconstructing the Ideal Roubaix Contestant

After years and years of well, pretty much guessing who is going to win the next important race, I have found a new way. No, not ouija boards. That went terribly wrong that one day. Never again. No, I am going the way of... statistics!


Don't look at me like that Thor. There will not be (complicated) maths. I hate maths. I blame it on teenage overexposure. Also, I suck at maths. So we're going to do statistics, the easy way. Come join me below the fold!

That sounds dirty. But you should do it anyway.

As my sample pool I picked all the podium contenders of the past 10 years who are still in the peloton. Quite nicely, that resulted in a list of ten: Johan Vansummeren, Fabian Cancellara, Maarten Tjallingi, Thor Hushovd, Juan Antonio Flecha, Tom Boonen, Pippo Pozzato, Alessandro Ballan, Stuart O'Grady and George Hincapie.

Let's look at some of the characteristics of all these fellows, and try to derive what Sunday's winner will be like - though I am in no way responsible for who you end up betting on. Unless you win. Then the spoils are totally mine.


1 VANSUMMEREN Johan Belgium
2 CANCELLARA Fabian Switzerland
3 TJALLINGII Maarten Netherlands
4 HUSHOVD Thor Norway
5 FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio Spain
6 BOONEN Tom Belgium
7 POZZATO Filippo Italy
8 BALLAN Alessandro Italy
9 O'GRADY Stuart Australia
10 HINCAPIE George American

Conclusion: You need to be either Italian, or - of course - Belgian. Though really, there's not much to conclude from this, nationalities are - obvious joke alert - all over the map for this race.

2. HEIGHT (cm)

2 CANCELLARA Fabian 186
3 TJALLINGII Maarten 188
4 HUSHOVD Thor 183
5 FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio 181
6 BOONEN Tom 192
7 POZZATO Filippo 183
8 BALLAN Alessandro 190
9 O'GRADY Stuart 176
10 HINCAPIE George 191

Conclusion: You need to be tall to podium in PR. Our PR model is a strapping 187 cm, while, according to the first google result I found, the average western male is only 177 cm (seriously? I'm 179 cm, and I'm a girl! Bunch of western shorties).


Seriously Leukie? 177cm? You may as well give up now.

3. WEIGHT (kg)

2 CANCELLARA Fabian 81
3 TJALLINGII Maarten 81,5
4 HUSHOVD Thor 83
5 FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio 72
6 BOONEN Tom 82
7 POZZATO Filippo 73
8 BALLAN Alessandro 72
9 O'GRADY Stuart 73
10 HINCAPIE George 79

Don't worry boys, I'm sure it's all muscle. Ideal weight: 78 kilograms.


(when multiple podiums were reached, the first result was used. the second column is birthday - celebrate! - the third column is age when podiumed)

1 VANSUMMEREN Johan 4/02/1981 30
2 CANCELLARA Fabian 18/03/1981 25
3 TJALLINGII Maarten 5/11/1977 34
4 HUSHOVD Thor 18/01/1978 31
5 FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio 17/09/1977 30
6 BOONEN Tom 15/10/1980 22
7 POZZATO Filippo 10/09/1981 28
8 BALLAN Alessandro 6/11/1979 27
9 O'GRADY Stuart 6/08/1973 34
10 HINCAPIE George 29/06/1973 32

Aw, look at my lovely Cance and Tombo totally dragging down the average to 29 years old. No youngsters allowed in Paris-Roubaix it seems. I'm so, so sorry Sep.


Don't give me that face Peter. You're totally not old enough to play with the big boys.


2 CANCELLARA Fabian Brown
3 TJALLINGII Maarten Brown
4 HUSHOVD Thor Blonde
5 FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio Brown
6 BOONEN Tom Blonde
7 POZZATO Filippo Brown
8 BALLAN Alessandro Brown
9 O'GRADY Stuart Very little
10 HINCAPIE George Brown

Conclusion: Roubaix is one for the dark haired fellows on this earth. Really, only Tombo and Thor are exceptions to this rule. If you're not blonde or brown-haired - Dominic Klemme, hi! - there's really no point in going to the north of France at all. Unless you shave it all off. Then you can pretend to be Stuey.


Did I just spend the better part of this evening staring lovingly into cyclists' eyes? Why yes I did. The stuff I endure in the name of research.

2 CANCELLARA Fabian Brown
3 TJALLINGII Maarten Brown
4 HUSHOVD Thor Blue
5 FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio Blue-ish
6 BOONEN Tom Brown
7 POZZATO Filippo Brown
8 BALLAN Alessandro Brown
9 O'GRADY Stuart Blue? I think? Or maybe gray.
10 HINCAPIE George Brown

Conclusion: To win, you need brown eyes, mostly. Blue sometimes works also, but brown is preferable. You know who has lovely eyes? Cance has lovely eyes. I mean, really. Like everlasting pools of chocolate. Or maybe I'm mistaken and they were really blue? This could mess up the entire article! I better go check...



189 cm
75 kg
brown hair
brown eyes

Yep Marcus, I'd totally give those odds a thumbs up too.

Thor picture by JPB93, Leukemans picture by Brassyn, Summie and Sagan picutre by Brendan A Ryan; Burghardt picture by Zoe Rochelle; all used with permission.