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Old 07-22-07, 06:22 PM   #1
RoboCheme
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Another question on strategy

Today, Paul and Phil were applauding Popavich for leading Contador and Levi up the hill.

Isn't he also helping their chief competitors up the hill, too?

I don't get this big downside of not having any teammates around in the hills. Can't you just stick on the wheel of your competitor(s) and their teammates and let them drag you up the hill?
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Old 07-22-07, 08:51 PM   #2
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Isn't he also helping their chief competitors up the hill, too?

I don't get this big downside of not having any teammates around in the hills. Can't you just stick on the wheel of your competitor(s) and their teammates and let them drag you up the hill?
Yes and no. The idea behind the pacing up the hill is to set a pace that is fast enough to hurt the weaker riders, but not fast enough to hurt your team.

If you're alone, you can sit on a wheel, but it might be at a pace that is higher than you can sustain. Also, if you're alone and get dropped on the climb, getting back is all you. If you've got teammates up there, they can help pace you back.
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Old 07-22-07, 08:59 PM   #3
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Today, Paul and Phil were applauding Popavich for leading Contador and Levi up the hill.

Isn't he also helping their chief competitors up the hill, too?

I don't get this big downside of not having any teammates around in the hills. Can't you just stick on the wheel of your competitor(s) and their teammates and let them drag you up the hill?
The main difference is someone in Popo's position can give everything on the climb to wear out the competition.
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Old 07-23-07, 06:58 AM   #4
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I don't get this big downside of not having any teammates around in the hills. Can't you just stick on the wheel of your competitor(s) and their teammates and let them drag you up the hill?

As pointed out above, the idea is to set a pace that pressures your opponets.

Also setting a high pace limits the opportunity for your team leader to be attacked by others.

Problems with having no teamates around in the mountains:

1) if you crack, you don't have a teammate to help pace you,

2) if you're dropped on an intermediate climb, no one to help pace you back on on the descent or the flats before the next climb.

3) no one to go back to the team car for food and water. (which is an issue between the climbs)

4) no teammate to give up a wheel or a bike if necessary.

It's of course possible to just play off the other teams' work ( see Lemond with ADR in 1989) but it's suboptimal.
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Old 07-23-07, 08:10 AM   #5
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My take on yesterday's strategy in one sentence: Use Popo to soften them up, then hit 'em with the old one-two. Basically worked - dropped everyone but the Chicken. Disco's two riders gained 7 seconds (time bonus difference) and lost 40 or so respectively to Chicken. Gained a minute plus on everyone else save Soler. It's pretty tough to run any strategy against the best climber in the world on an HC climb, but it sure put the hurt on everyone else.

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Old 07-23-07, 11:40 AM   #6
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I doubt that I will ever fully understand the level of strategery that goes on at this level, but I'd like to understand a little better.

I know this scenario is very improbable. I'm not making an argument for this to play out. I'm just saying, "What IF this scenario played out."

What IF: Wednesday Disco tells LL, "You WILL go out there and attack hard to accomplish one of two things. 1) Burn Ras out and 2) Get Conty a free ride up some of the mountains." So Levi goes out with the intent of burning himself up in order to help his teammate in the long run and a bunch on non-GC guys go with him on the attack. BUT... in the process Ras either doesn't or can't (for whatever reason... again, not probable, but WHAT IF) get Levi back. So Levi ends up leading a successful breakaway that draws him perfectly even with Contador.

THEN, the status quo is maintained through the last couple of flat stages where no one of any significance puts any time on anybody else. Going into the ITT you have LL and AC sitting at 2'30" behind Ras. They BOTH have very good ITT's and put 2'30" on Ras. Now we have a three way tie going into the last stage, two of which are teammates (or within say only a couple of seconds of each other).

What goes down on the run for Paris?

Does Disco pick one of them to work for?

Do they let fate and individual desire/skill take it's course?

I thought that no one attacked on the last stage, but here we would have three guys who all deserve a shot at winning the tour and none of them have truly proved they deserve it more than the other two. What happens?

Thanks

Last edited by Scout Sniper; 07-23-07 at 01:00 PM. Reason: formatting
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Old 07-23-07, 11:50 AM   #7
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I doubt that I will ever fully understand the level of strategery that goes on at this level, but I'd like to understand a little better. I know this scenario is very improbable. I'm not making an argument for this to play out. I'm just saying, "What IF this scenario played out." What IF: Wednesday Disco tells LL, "You WILL go out there and attack hard to accomplish one of two things. 1) Burn Ras out and 2) Get Conty a free ride up some of the mountains." So Levi goes out with the intent of burning himself up in order to help his teammate in the long run and a bunch on non-GC guys go with him on the attack. BUT... in the process Ras either doesn't or can't (for whatever reason... again, not probable, but WHAT IF) get Levi back. So Levi ends up leading a successful breakaway that draws him perfectly even with Contador. THEN, the status quo is maintained through the last couple of flat stages where no one of any significance puts any time on anybody else. Going into the ITT you have LL and AC sitting at 2'30" behind Ras. They BOTH have very good ITT's and put 2'30" on Ras. Now we have a three way tie going into the last stage (or within say only a couple of seconds of each other). What goes down on the run for Paris? Does Disco pick one of them to work for? Do they let fate and individual desire/skill take it's course? I thought that no one attacked on the last stage, but here we would have three guys who all deserve a shot at winning the tour and none of them have truly proved they deserve it more than the other two. What happens? Thanks

I think Contador can drop the Chicken, he learned that today. He hurt him. He just needs to do it sooner. I think he was hoping to drop Chicken and ride with George through the decent and launch off his effort up the last short climb. Perhaps if he had hit him a mile sooner.
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Old 07-23-07, 01:02 PM   #8
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if they are still 2'30" back going into paris, there will be no team effort to win the race. For the most part, the final day is a sprinter's race, with everyone else out on a club ride. I would think the chicken would win.
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Old 07-23-07, 01:06 PM   #9
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if they are still 2'30" back going into paris...

I'm sorry, I was saying if all three were even or within only a couple of seconds of each other. What would happen as far as team tactics go. Especially considering that two of the three are teammates.
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Old 07-23-07, 01:09 PM   #10
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. Now we have a three way tie going into the last stage, two of which are teammates (or within say only a couple of seconds of each other).

What goes down on the run for Paris?

Does Disco pick one of them to work for?

Do they let fate and individual desire/skill take it's course?

I thought that no one attacked on the last stage, but here we would have three guys who all deserve a shot at winning the tour and none of them have truly proved they deserve it more than the other two. What happens?

Thanks
No one attacks the yellow jersey on the final stage because it would be futile to do so. However, in your very improbable scenario of a tie, then obviously they would be racing to win into Paris.

Given that a mass sprint finish would still be highly likely, your scenario might well come down to intermediate sprint time bonuses. Hence you'd have to support the best sprinter between the two, and try to implement a strategy to steal an intermediate sprint from the sprinters.
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Old 07-23-07, 02:15 PM   #11
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No one attacks the yellow jersey on the final stage because it would be futile to do so. However, in your very improbable scenario of a tie, then obviously they would be racing to win into Paris.

Given that a mass sprint finish would still be highly likely, your scenario might well come down to intermediate sprint time bonuses. Hence you'd have to support the best sprinter between the two, and try to implement a strategy to steal an intermediate sprint from the sprinters.
Generally the sprinters do not go for the intermediate points either. With the circuts in Paris and the prestige of the stage a break lasting to the end is very very unlikely. If the GC is close enough that the intermedite time bonuses would make a difference (max of 12 seconds) then people might go for them. However is it far more likely the Green or Polka Dot are the Jerseys close enough for intermediate points to matter. The final stage has 2 cat 4 climbs before the 2 sprint spots. Note that for Green sometmes the guy in the lead would want to graab the intermediate points. Let's say he is up by 4 points starting the day. If he gains 2 points that means the rider in second now needs help to win. No way to gain 6 points without getting riders between.

But getting back to just time for the GC. Let's say one or more riders are a couple of seconds back. Those riders need to get out in front for the sprint time bonuses and will try for them. The rider (team) defending has a very real advantage. They just need to get someone other than one or two riders down the road. If a break starts and one or more of their riders are in it those riders just need to get the break there. They don't care who in the break 'steals' the points as long as they are gone before the riders needing time get there.

Far and away Green is the one that may generate stuff. For GC it has to be within 12 seconds, for KOM it has to be within 6 points. For the Green it has to be within 50 points to mathematically be possible. Ok at 50 they might not try, but at 20 those points would be well worth grabbing.
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Old 07-23-07, 02:27 PM   #12
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I remember as a kid watching hineault and zotomelk (late 70s?/early 80s?) break alone to the finish in paris... don't know how close they were in the standings.

If stage 16 doesn't shake things up more, there could be a 4 way tie going into paris :O (without Levi).
Even then, whoever's a few seconds ahead would have a good advantage even if they are the worst flats rider.... but I'd still tune in to watch
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Old 07-23-07, 03:19 PM   #13
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I remember as a kid watching hineault and zotomelk (late 70s?/early 80s?) break alone to the finish in paris... don't know how close they were in the standings.

If stage 16 doesn't shake things up more, there could be a 4 way tie going into paris :O (without Levi).
Even then, whoever's a few seconds ahead would have a good advantage even if they are the worst flats rider.... but I'd still tune in to watch
No chance. The stage win is prestegious. There are still several sprinters left. No hills big enough to drop them. Even if there were hills big enough to drop the pure sprinters the teams of the second level not quite pure sprinters whould then work to pull the main pack back. On other stages the sprinters teams might decide it is not worth the effort because it would cost too much for the future stages. There are no future stages, so as long as there is a chance of a catch it is worth the work.
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Old 07-23-07, 03:22 PM   #14
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Boonen might have the green wrapped up by Paris?
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Old 07-23-07, 03:40 PM   #15
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Boonen might have the green wrapped up by Paris?
Might. Might not. I'd tend to say he will have a huge advantage going into Paris, but likely would need some points. E.G. he needs to participate in the final sprint but will need so few points that there would be no way besides a crash or mechanical that he does not pick them up.

EDIT:

Thye points for the 3 ramaining flat stages at the end go 35,30, 26, 24,22, 20 and then doun by 1 each to 1 point for 25th.

Boonen is up by 20. Very doubtful he will push this up to the point where if the #2 gets the max on the last stage (51 total) that Boonen wins without picking up something. But also see little chance that he does not pick up something in Paris unless he crashes.

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Old 07-23-07, 04:44 PM   #16
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Popo was making sure that Boogerd and Menchov will be really tired for the next stage. I like how Hincapie was waiting near the top of the final climb in order to take Contador to the finish, would have been beautiful if contador came over the top alone...
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