One of the fun parts about modelling climbing performances in Grand Tours is the ability to make historical and virtual head to head comparisons. In the figure above the grey dots are the average performance of the top 3 finishers from each Grand Tour for each finishing climb from 2008 – 2013. Overlayed on this historical context, is a head to head comparison of 2013 Froome in sky blue and 2014 Nibali orange-yellow for each of their Tour de France wins. Although, we never got to actually see them battle it out directly, the data suggests it would have been a hell of a battle.
Something to keep in mind here though is that the estimated W/kg is normalized both to a standard 67kg 0.35 CdA rider as well as to a typical 1256 m Grand Tour mid climb altitude. By making this normalization a bit of trade off is made in terms of giving up some understanding of the individuals physiology and morphology for the sake of having a better understanding of who would finish better out on the road.