thanks to knowledge I learned on this board, I have enjoyed TDF more than any previous ones I have casually watched. Now that the tour is over, I am still puzzled over some strategic moves:
1. During the stage where at the end Contador was descending vs the Schleck brothers, the commentators kept saying that Contador failed to drop the Schlecks, instead dropping his own teammate Kloden. I could see on TV that during the ascent, Contador kept looking back hoping Kloden could come back up. Then at the summit he gave up and just rode after the Schlecks all the way. My question is: what could the presence of Kloden get him that he couldn't do by himself during the descent? What's the big deal of "1 vs 2" in a descent? Wouldn't he be riding in the draft of the Schlecks anyway? What difference would Kloden make? What "moves" could they pull if it's "2 vs 2"?
2. During the same stage, towards the end, Contador pat the back of the Schlecks more than a few times (I am assuming he's saying something like 'the win is yours') Is he doing that so that the Schlecks could relax and therefore not out-exhaust one another for no apparent reason? At the very end, Contador pulled in front of Andy Schleck and grabbed 2nd, yet he didn't really challenge Frank for 1st. I suppose there's a tactical reason of grabbing 2nd vs 3rd? Since he conceded the win, I suppose the reason is not a ego thing? Was it because (if he stayed 3rd) Contador did not want Andy Schleck to intentionally create a time gap between 1st and 2nd?
3. During the 2nd to last stage, when Contador was said to hold back the attack in order to "pull" armstrong for him to keep his podium position, how could Contador's "slowing down" help pull Armstrong? After all, Armstrong still had to ride up the ascent by himself? Why does it matter whether one had a teammate closely in front of him or not? I supposed draft was not a factor here? Did Contador's "slowing down" in fact prevent Franck Schleck from widening the gap between him and Armstrong? If so, why?