Brief Communication | Published:

Pack formation in cycling and orienteering

Nature volume 413, page 127 (13 September 2001) | Download Citation



In cycling and orienteering competitions, competitors can become bunched into packs, which may mask an individual's true ability. Here we model this process with a view to determining when competitors' times are determined more by others than by their own ability. Our results may prove useful in helping to stage events so that pack formation can be avoided.

Avoiding conditions that draw competitors together may be a better way to test ability.

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Author information


  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JZ, UK

    • G. J. Ackland
    •  & D. Butler


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Correspondence to G. J. Ackland.

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