I have been watching TDF for some years now, and still do not completely understand how teamates help someone win a stage. I can see how over the whole of the tour teamates can help by getting water or handing over a bike if the leaders craps out, but I guess it is more the tactics thing in the mountains that I am having trouble seeing.
For example, take the ride up Alpe De Huez this year, how would teamates have made it easier for Evans?
Sastre the guy that won, took off alone, and rode up the whole thing by himself.
I have heard/read many people saying that if Cadel had a teamate that could have stayed with him he would have done better, but I don't get how this is?
The Schleck bros kept attacking yes, but even with a teamate Cadel still would have had to pedal up the mountain just as many miles. If Andy S. takes off, and Cadel's teamate jumps out to catch him, how does this help Cadel? He still has to pedal himself up to them as well.
Is it all just about the draft? If so, then how does Sastre manage to gain so much time without anyone in front of him giving him a draft?