U23 World Road Race Championships – Guillaume Boivin robbed?

It was initially handed to Taylor Phinney. Then, in a bizzare move, given to both Guillaume Boivin and Phinney. It was bragging rights for third place. You can see the official photo finish here which shows a pretty darn close to a dead heat. But was it?

We here at Cima Coppi take racing supremely seriously. 1 millionth of a second difference may sound small, but disregarding that time distinction laughs in the face of the fundamentals of sport. That fundamental is: It’s possible to measure a millionth of a second. So, we got our crack photoshop wizz on the case and are planning on submitting our compelling evidence to the CAS. Or, maybe just to you. We’ve identified two things to consider: Hub location and perspective loss.

First, hub location, which admittedly, is not what is used for determining bike placement due to differences in tires, but maybe this can give us a piece of the puzzle. In theory, if the two were using the exact same wheels and tires, we could use hub location as the distinguishing factor as wheels have been round since, like, 10,000BC. Both Boivin and Phinney are using Dura-ace carbon wheels, and likely the same size tubular, but we cannot be sure. Looking at the hub location of the two wheels, we can see that even the trailing side of Boivin’s hub is slightly ahead of Phinney’s. Meaning that if we measured from the centre of the hub, the result would be even more compelling.

Second, perspective loss. The camera is snapping a shot from the side closer to Phinney. In any photo oriented like this, there will be a small amount of distortion from perspective. I’ve contrasted the two wheels side by side to illustrate this. On the left, we have the originals, I’ve just moved Boivin’s wheel below Phinney’s to compare. You can see Boivin’s wheel is much smaller in diameter. Unless he is using a 650 wheel, we have distortion due to perspective loss. When adjusting Boivin’s wheel by 104% they are the same size, and then Boivin’s wheel sit’s noticeably in front of Phinney’s.

So was Boivin robbed of sole possession of the bronze? Is perspective loss to blame? Or am I the only one who’s lost perspective? Great race either way and congrats to all four on the podium.

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