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Old 07-29-08, 12:38 PM   #1
beavertoof
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pls explain how teamates help???

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?

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Old 07-29-08, 12:49 PM   #2
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From the Staqe 17 thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by byersa
I know nothing about racing, but am following le tour. I tuned in late today and heard the announcers talk about how Sastre's victory was a team effort and I would like to understand how. It seems like he jumped out pretty early and the announcers said that when someone from the chase group attempted to catch him the Schleck's "took care of it". My question is just how did they take care of it? I somewhat understand the dynamics of the group, but I don't understand what exactly kept anyone from catching him.

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Allright. First CSC kept the pace high over the first 3 climbs, making the race hard, and causing other teams to lose support riders from the front of the group, and take some steam out of the other riders.

Notice that when they got to the final climb, CSC had both Schlecks, and Sastre. Evan had only himself.

Then Evans had to decide who tomark and who to let go. Calculating he could limit his losses and make up ground in the final TT he let Sastre go and marked Frank Schleck.

Then the Schlecks disrupted Evans rhythm. Evans would prefer to climb at one steady tempo. Instead, one Schleck or the other would accelerate in an attack, get caught, then sit up. So the constant attacks, disrupted Evan's rythym, and actually slowed the overall pace of the chase group(as evidenced by the fact that Menchov was able to regroup and join back on.)

What the Schlecks did was actually textbook "blocking" You don't physically obstruct the chase group. Rather by attacking, and then easing up repeatedly you disrupt the chase group.

Hope that helps.

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Old 07-29-08, 12:52 PM   #3
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Another thing you have to consider is that these guys climb fast enough that there's still some aerodynamic advantage to drafting a teammate.
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Old 07-29-08, 01:18 PM   #4
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Another thing you have to consider is that these guys climb fast enough that there's still some aerodynamic advantage to drafting a teammate.
Actually few climbs are uniform. Many has some sections where the speed is pretty good and there is very significant aero advantage.

Teammates also allow you to take risks. If you take a risk and overcook yourself and you are alone it is minutes for sure. If you have a teammate the downside can be minimized.

Eddy's unbelievable exploit of stage 17 in 1969 would have been insane without a teammate in the group chasing him. If he was caught and passed he could ahve lost the stage and the Tour. But with a strong teammate in the group the worst case if caught was that he would be working with a fresh teammate (Vandenbosche had been sitting in doing no work) to try to stay with the group or minimize time lost. It worked out he put in over 6 minutes on the chase group.
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Old 07-29-08, 01:18 PM   #5
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>>...
Then the Schlecks disrupted Evans rhythm. Evans would prefer to climb at one steady tempo. Instead, one Schleck or the other would accelerate in an attack, get caught, then sit up. So the constant attacks, disrupted Evan's rythym, and actually slowed the overall pace of the chase group(as evidenced by the fact that Menchov was able to regroup and join back on.)>>


Yeah, I definately noticed that what they were doing was a plan, and seemed to be effective, I guess what i fail to see is how a teamate would have helped Evans. (other than moral support or maybe handing over a water bottle).

If Evans essentially can not keep up with Sastre or the Schlecks on climbs, then how would a mate help? If he can keep up or best them, then why not just ignore their repeated accelerations and go at his own pace (which he seemed to do at the last couple K's I think).


>>What the Schlecks did was actually textbook "blocking" You don't physically obstruct the chase group. Rather by attacking, and then easing up repeatedly you disrupt the chase group.<<

Speaking of blocking, is -actual- blocking allowed? Lets say Cadel is by himself, and the Sch. bros catch him as he gets too close to the side of the road, one gets in front, and the other on his side, then they slow down forcing him to go their slow pace while their man ahead takes minutes out of his time... is that allowed?


(thanks for the replies)
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Old 07-29-08, 01:21 PM   #6
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Teammates also allow you to take risks. If you take a risk and overcook yourself and you are alone it is minutes for sure. If you have a teammate the downside can be minimized.
Once again I have to say "how"? If you are cooked, how does the teamate help? You still gotta pull yourself up the same mountain.

(I am not trying to be argumentative, I really don't get this)... is it just the draft thing?
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Old 07-29-08, 01:41 PM   #7
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As you may recall from the coverage, many of the mountain stages were like 5% grades for much of the climb.

For professional athletes, they climb these hills at a steady pace that I ride solo on the flats, so having a team mate to lead the way and reduce the wind drag enables a faster pace.

If a rider is isolated, and doesn't have a team mate, he either has to ride in the lead, and deal with the wind resistance, or ride behind a slower rider. Neither of these leads to winning the race.

This is only one aspect of a team mate helping, along with the tactical games as the Schlecks played with the leading group during Sastre's ride up the Alp as stated above.

Also, if you want to wear out your opponent, you can have your team mates drive the pace (like CSC did for the stages in the Alps) while the GC leader rides in safety. The CSC leaders picked the pace they were comfortable with, and not necessarily what Evans or other contenders were comfortable with. They could mandate if/when to accelerate. Some of the advantage was psychological, some was physical.
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Old 07-29-08, 02:20 PM   #8
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Once again I have to say "how"? If you are cooked, how does the teamate help? You still gotta pull yourself up the same mountain.

(I am not trying to be argumentative, I really don't get this)... is it just the draft thing?
Physically mainly draft. Some people forget there is often wind in the mountians (and elsewhere). If yo are really toast both your mind and body are not working. If you have a really good teammate he can set a nice steady pace where all you see is his back wheel and you blindly follow it.

In the 1998 Tour Ulrich might have won if Riis was closer. Jan lost MORE than Pantani's total winning margin on one stage, he cracked and was alone. Dropped tons of time until Riis caught up and dragged him to the finish.

In hte earlier parts of climbs having a teammate (who can help) gives you more choices even on defense. If someone attacks you have the choice of spending a burst of energy to catch them or sitting on your teammates wheel to come back more slowly.
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Old 07-29-08, 02:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
Physically mainly draft. Some people forget there is often wind in the mountians (and elsewhere). If yo are really toast both your mind and body are not working. If you have a really good teammate he can set a nice steady pace where all you see is his back wheel and you blindly follow it.

In the 1998 Tour Ulrich might have won if Riis was closer. Jan lost MORE than Pantani's total winning margin on one stage, he cracked and was alone. Dropped tons of time until Riis caught up and dragged him to the finish.

In hte earlier parts of climbs having a teammate (who can help) gives you more choices even on defense. If someone attacks you have the choice of spending a burst of energy to catch them or sitting on your teammates wheel to come back more slowly.
In Ulrich's winning year, he was such a relatively poor descender he needed Riis to show him a line descending.
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Old 07-30-08, 06:22 AM   #10
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thanks for the replies everyone. I guess to totally understand it I would have to race some, (which will never happen as I am 46 now!), but this has helped me for sure.
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Old 07-30-08, 06:50 AM   #11
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thanks for the replies everyone. I guess to totally understand it I would have to race some, (which will never happen as I am 46 now!), but this has helped me for sure.
Nah! Just being enthusiastic and watching a LOT of racing will give you a darn good insight to tactics and strategies. There will always be the odd curmudgeon here who thinks you don't understand bike racing unless you're a direct descendant of Eddy Merckx. Just take them with a grain of salt, and you'll soon learn who the knowledgeable fans are on this forum. One good tip...they are usually the nice people who take time to explain things, instead of blasting out with a "You're a stupid turd, go back to your cave" attitude. Glad to have you aboard as a new race fan, that's how we build the base...pass it on!

BTW, all the guys that replied above fit into that group of "people who know bike racing a lot better than me"...so you're in good hands.

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Old 07-30-08, 09:24 AM   #12
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thanks for the replies everyone. I guess to totally understand it I would have to race some, (which will never happen as I am 46 now!), but this has helped me for sure.
I think you are right! But to totally understand for any rider you have to be that rider.

NO ONE totally understands. Some just know and understand more than others.

I do think it helps to have competed in some sport, pretty much any sport where the body is really pushed (and where yuo really pushed at least once).

For cycling it helps to have done a few of the things the racers do. Try riding close to someones wheel. Try climbing all out. Not that these and other things are needed, they just help. The drafting part really helps for me. I have it as a gut feel and realize how it can effect your mindset even more than your body.

Oh and I never raced. I did compete in Swimming, Water Polo and Rugby at a fairly high level.
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Old 07-30-08, 09:41 AM   #13
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a teammate can also help you keep up your morale. Simply not giving in and not giving up is worth half an hour on some stages. Think back to 2006 when Axle Merckx shepparded Floyd Landis on the stage where Floyd blew up.

This year when Damiano Cunego dropped off, his teammate that stayed with him kept yelling back at him to keep going.

also when a team rider sets pace in the mountains, he is working at a pace that will make it real hard for other riders to ride away, but it is still a pace that he knows isn't hurting his team leader. That just helps keep things nice and tidy a'la the US Postal train in Lance's heyday.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:11 AM   #14
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The stage where Vande Valde lost 2.5 minutes is a perfect example of how teammates can help. He got popped from the leading group, but then I think it was Ryder (might have been Danny Pate) paced him up the mountain and they held the time lost to like 30 second over the top. This was because Garmin-Chipotle had placed a rider in the break. I believe this shows how a teammate can help.

Also with the attack sit up system, a teammate can chase down the attacks and you can hold your pace. If the teammate blows after a few attacks, your still riding at your pace.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:47 AM   #15
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thanks for the replies everyone. I guess to totally understand it I would have to race some, (which will never happen as I am 46 now!), but this has helped me for sure.
Ya' never know. Have you looked into amateur racing programs in your area? They exist, even for us old folks.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:02 AM   #16
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Ya' never know. Have you looked into amateur racing programs in your area? They exist, even for us old folks.
for example: http://www.tbra.org/newracer.php (they don't post their antidoping policy on the site though, so you might want to clean up your act first to be on the safe side
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Old 07-30-08, 11:09 AM   #17
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Also, if you want to wear out your opponent, you can have your team mates drive the pace (like CSC did for the stages in the Alps) while the GC leader rides in safety. The CSC leaders picked the pace they were comfortable with, and not necessarily what Evans or other contenders were comfortable with. They could mandate if/when to accelerate. Some of the advantage was psychological, some was physical.
This is a good comment. I used to think "Gee, Sastre has to work just as hard as Evans" when CSC is driving the pace (after all, they're both drafting). But you're saying that if Evans is suffering, CSC can ratchet it up. If Sastre is suffering, Evans can't take advantage of it, and Sastre gets to recover. This makes a lot of sense (in addition to shedding teammates).

Thanks.

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Old 07-30-08, 08:40 PM   #18
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thanks for the replies everyone. I guess to totally understand it I would have to race some, (which will never happen as I am 46 now!), but this has helped me for sure.
You don't even have to race - just do a group ride in a relatively fast paceline sometime - you'll quickly feel how much less energy you expend if you ride someone else's wheel, vs. pulling and having to cut the wind resistance yourself. Now change that from the half hour or hour you do it, to the 80+ hours a TdF contender does it (if he has a good team to support him!) over 3 weeks, day in and day out. And the wind resistance factor goes up exponentially as the speed increases, so these TdF stages where they AVERAGE close to 30 mph are incredibly difficult if you aren't pulled by your team as much as possible.

You'll get the idea just from that.
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Old 07-30-08, 09:18 PM   #19
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Another version of teammate assistance was demonstrated by Jens Voigt in one of the Alpine stages, where he went with the breakaway but did not work much there, only to drop back through the cars, pick bottles for everybody and join Sastre, the Schlecks and others with a relatively fresh pair of legs so he can continue to drive a high pace.
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