We believe that cycling, in addition to being epic, is also strategy. SuperEchelon has been designed to put in value that professional cycling is the pinnacle of strategic thinking among all sports.
Few sports allow you to enjoy so much strategy concentrated in so little time as a pro cycling event. In football, basketball or rugby, strategy is a key factor, but in the end the spectator has only two teams in front of him, two opposing strategies. If we think of chess, the possibilities of seeing different plays are almost endless. However, the limitation of chess is the same: on the one side, the white pieces and, on the other, the black pieces.
In a grand tour (multiple stage race) such as the Tour, the Giro or the Vuelta, there are around 20 teams that compete, each with about 8 to 10 riders. Also, not all riders and teams compete for the same goals. Some will fight to win the general classification (GC), but others will have the objective of winning the points classification, the mountain classification, the team classification or winning a stage during the 3 weeks of competition.
Basically, it is like imagining that the next chess game that you are going to play, will not only be on a typical 8x8-square chess board against a friend of yours, but it will be a board 10 times bigger where there will be 20 players fighting for the same and different goals. In total, 20 colours of different pieces iterating without apparent turn and exposed to random external phenomena.
At the beginning, we would think that this new chess version is a big mess. But, if we would play, we would realize that, unlike the original chess, the competition between teams is not the key to the achievement of the objectives. In fact, the great dynamic that would allow the teams to obtain their victories would become the alternating and strategic use between competition and cooperation.
When a rider is on a breakaway with other riders, they know they have to cooperate so that the peloton does not neutralize their breakaway. At the same time, he knows that once the breakaway begins to have a chance of success, his breakaway companions will become his main competitors to achieve the stage victory. In this way, making the best decisions at the moment in which the breakaway group switch from cooperating to competing will be one of the main factors for victory.
Thus, the chances of victory for any rider depend not only on his decisions but also on the decisions of all the other riders. The study of this interaction of decisions is what is known as game theory.
Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction among rational decision-makers. Today it is used in a wide variety of fields, from economics, military strategy, politics, sociology, biology, and computer science, among many others.
Pro cycling races are a perfect setting for the study of the strategies and the analysis of the decision-making processes of its participants due to the 2 main characteristics of the grand tours: the participation of multiple teams and the diversity of their incentives.
At SuperEchelon, our mission is to contribute to a better understanding of the decisions made in professional cycling for the greater enjoyment of all those fans who, like us, have a passion for cycling.