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Old 07-28-09, 02:13 PM   #1
totalnewbie
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more questions on tactics

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?
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Old 07-28-09, 02:18 PM   #2
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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?
1. I don't think AC needed any help on climbs, really. Kloden helped LA up in Arcalis (?) as LA needed someone to pace him up the climb. AC never really needed it. If anything, his strategy was very simply, to attack, and defend himself. When he defends, he just sticks to the wheel of whoever was attacking, and he's really good at that.

What the Schlecks could do is to attack alternately, thus tiring AC down. If Kloden was up to the task, he and AC could in turn pull that off against the Schlecks as well - theoretically.

2. Don't think they cared too much about #2 or #3 since they all got the same time. AC probably agreed to let FS take the stage; he's got no beef with AS.

3. Draft is a non-issue on mountains, I think. Maybe AC was to prevent anyone from attacking, or to neutralize it by catching up, thus helping LA. But I didn't really see that happening.
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Old 07-28-09, 02:24 PM   #3
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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?
AC was waiting for LA to make the distance and then try to stay on his wheel, making the leap is easier across a shorter distance than a longer one.
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Old 07-28-09, 02:31 PM   #4
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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"?
It didn't hurt AC but it could have. If he had a mechanical problem or crashed, he'd never catch the Schlecks whereas Kloden would have helped pull him back up limiting losses. What it really did was screw Kloden, his teammate. He had no drafting buddy. And yes, drafting does help on hills when there's a headwind as pointed out on Mont Ventoux and my last big ride where we traded drafting. It made the climb maybe 10-15% easier.

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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?
By that time he'd already realized he screwed Kloden. I think he was trying to get them to slowdown and not worry about attacking to try to save some face for his "teammate".

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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?
This was one of two times I saw Contador be a teammate. By not attacking, Andy stayed nearby because you can see Andy hoping his brother would come up which he never did. Since it was not going to happen Andy saw no reason to race uphill anymore. Had Contador attacked Andy would have gone with him which may have inspired his brother to attack Lance. Bruyneel made the right call on this one and finally AC complied.
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Old 07-28-09, 02:37 PM   #5
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1) The 2 on 1 was a non issue. Good example of announcers worshiping Lance and tearing down Contador at every chance. Now if the goal was to win the stage then the 2 have a huge advantage over the one. Several things they can do. One attacks and then Cantador either has to work to catch him or lose the stage. If he counters (and in so doing uses as much energy as the original attacker) then the one that did not attack stays on Contadors wheel and the attacker sites up and catches on the back. Reverse positions and repeat (or same attackes 2 times in a row, mix it up just enough Contador does not know who is going next). Problem is on a climb Contador has a burst second to none, so attack and he catches you, perhaps sits on yuor wheel for a second or two and then passes.

If Contador were a poor decender he could have been in trouble, we saw he is at least as good as the Schleks.

2) You nailed it. No time gap. Contador seems ot have been being careful at the finish. Note the stage went to Frank, not Andy. Contenders often let a non-contender have a stage if they have worked. It is very acceptable not to, what makes you enemies is to have a misunderstanding.

3) Drafting does make a difference in the mountians. Not for me, and likely not for you. Remember the drag goes up as the square of the speed. Those guys are going about 3 times as fast as I can (on long uphills, I, less of a joke on the flat, might even be able to hold a freindly wheel on a training ride). That comes out to almost 10 times the wind drag. But on the next to last stage it was entirely different. Huge wind once they were out of the trees. That kicked it from minor advantage to huge advantage (depending on the wind direction vrs. the road at any given point). Actually wind in hte mountian is pretty common. It can end up huge.
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Old 07-28-09, 02:58 PM   #6
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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?
Your observations are astute my friend.
It is refreshing to see that an innocent and untainted viewer can see for themselves what the reality is.

The truth is that non of what was reported or announced by the commentators was true. The commentators are paid by Versus to promote absolutely NOTHING BUT Lance Armstrong. If Lance was the one attacking it would have been labeled "stamping his authority on the race" AC doing it was labeled attacking his own team. Like you said yourself, ACs job is to win, and there is no benefit in him waiting for his teammates. They had dropped. Simple as that. Lance was simply not strong enough to keep the pace of the Scleck's attacks. The monkey dropped and that is that. Its not ACs job to wait for a domestique. That is absolutely absurd and idiocity at its highest and purest form.
The podium spot was BS too. Mountains are mountains, the strong men go, the weak drop. there is no tactic behind that.

At the end of the stage, Contador patted Scleck on the back and gave him the stage. This is what gracious mature champions do. Unlike ******s like Lance who want to take everybody's bag of chips and bully all the schoolkids in the playground. AC made friends by doing this. And good for him, Lance was too busy being dropped back to the team car to go over the press release draft of his Radioshack announcement instead of racing. Lance then goes on to sulk like a cry baby becuase the Astana team wasnt there to pace him up climbs, the only way he knows how to win the Tour.

Well too bad for Lance, and Im happy AC gave the stage to the Sclecks. His loyalty to another team was better served tahn his own back-stabbing Astana team mates who were at the Tour just to promote their own goals for next year and not even bother supporting AC for his win.

In fact, I wish Contador had attacked non stop to drop both Kloden and Armstong, they were pretty much on different teams anyway, proven by their announcement of their RadioShack plans.

I hope half the Radioshack team gets busted in the classics races in the beginning of the season.
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Old 07-28-09, 03:07 PM   #7
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Old 07-28-09, 03:09 PM   #8
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Old 07-28-09, 03:22 PM   #9
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Old 07-28-09, 03:24 PM   #10
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1. I don't think AC needed any help on climbs, really. Kloden helped LA up in Arcalis (?) as LA needed someone to pace him up the climb. AC never really needed it. If anything, his strategy was very simply, to attack, and defend himself. When he defends, he just sticks to the wheel of whoever was attacking, and he's really good at that.

What the Schlecks could do is to attack alternately, thus tiring AC down. If Kloden was up to the task, he and AC could in turn pull that off against the Schlecks as well - theoretically.

2. Don't think they cared too much about #2 or #3 since they all got the same time. AC probably agreed to let FS take the stage; he's got no beef with AS.

3. Draft is a non-issue on mountains, I think. Maybe AC was to prevent anyone from attacking, or to neutralize it by catching up, thus helping LA. But I didn't really see that happening.
Totally wrong. A lot of times these guys are going 15MPH or more on these uphills. if you have been to an actual race you would be shocked how fast they go uphill. I was towards the top of Palomar for the TOC. They come by so fast it is hard to get pictures.
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Old 07-28-09, 03:51 PM   #11
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1) It wouldn't have affected his placing (i.e. first), but it affected Kloden's placing. It might have happened anyway, but you don't want to have your own teammate cause it.

Secondarily, two riders together are safer than one. If Contador had flatted, Kloden could (and would) have given him his bike.

And tactically, it would have freed AC and AK to break off on their own and put time on the Bros were they able to descend faster.

2. Yes. And in the case of AC, it was also to show the world that he could have won had he wanted to.

3. The draft was very much a factor. There was a 25 kph (mph?) headwind, added to the bike speed could be in the 40 kph range. Plus it is easier (mentally) to follow a pace than to set that pace yourself when your legs feel like they are about to fall off.
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Old 07-28-09, 07:15 PM   #12
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Your observations are astute my friend.
It is refreshing to see that an innocent and untainted viewer can see for themselves what the reality is.

The truth is that non of what was reported or announced by the commentators was true. The commentators are paid by Versus to promote absolutely NOTHING BUT Lance Armstrong. If Lance was the one attacking it would have been labeled "stamping his authority on the race" AC doing it was labeled attacking his own team. Like you said yourself, ACs job is to win, and there is no benefit in him waiting for his teammates. They had dropped. Simple as that. Lance was simply not strong enough to keep the pace of the Scleck's attacks. The monkey dropped and that is that. Its not ACs job to wait for a domestique. That is absolutely absurd and idiocity at its highest and purest form.
The podium spot was BS too. Mountains are mountains, the strong men go, the weak drop. there is no tactic behind that.

At the end of the stage, Contador patted Scleck on the back and gave him the stage. This is what gracious mature champions do. Unlike ******s like Lance who want to take everybody's bag of chips and bully all the schoolkids in the playground. AC made friends by doing this. And good for him, Lance was too busy being dropped back to the team car to go over the press release draft of his Radioshack announcement instead of racing. Lance then goes on to sulk like a cry baby becuase the Astana team wasnt there to pace him up climbs, the only way he knows how to win the Tour.

Well too bad for Lance, and Im happy AC gave the stage to the Sclecks. His loyalty to another team was better served tahn his own back-stabbing Astana team mates who were at the Tour just to promote their own goals for next year and not even bother supporting AC for his win.

In fact, I wish Contador had attacked non stop to drop both Kloden and Armstong, they were pretty much on different teams anyway, proven by their announcement of their RadioShack plans.

I hope half the Radioshack team gets busted in the classics races in the beginning of the season.

Dang, you are a one trick pony and your trick is getting old.
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Old 07-28-09, 08:40 PM   #13
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3. Draft is a non-issue on mountains, I think. Maybe AC was to prevent anyone from attacking, or to neutralize it by catching up, thus helping LA. But I didn't really see that happening.
Obviously you are a very slow climber. These guys climb in the 10-17 mph range. A draft is of great assistance at those ranges.
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Old 07-28-09, 09:25 PM   #14
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Obviously you are a very slow climber. These guys climb in the 10-17 mph range. A draft is of great assistance at those ranges.
10-16mph is NOT draft range. sorry. drafting effects are more like 20+

unless there is a noticeable head wind, the pace is more psychological than anything.
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Old 07-28-09, 09:39 PM   #15
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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?
Contador was refusing to work with the Schlecks they are the ones who needed the time the most, and so he was just sitting on wheels for the descent and final push. When they'd try to get him to take a turn on the front, he'd just wave them through (or give them a little push on the bum). No reason for him to work. At least, that's how I saw it.
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Old 07-28-09, 10:06 PM   #16
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Your observations are astute my friend.
It is refreshing to see that an innocent and untainted viewer can see for themselves what the reality is.

The truth is that non of what was reported or announced by the commentators was true. The commentators are paid by Versus to promote absolutely NOTHING BUT Lance Armstrong. If Lance was the one attacking it would have been labeled "stamping his authority on the race" AC doing it was labeled attacking his own team. Like you said yourself, ACs job is to win, and there is no benefit in him waiting for his teammates. They had dropped. Simple as that. Lance was simply not strong enough to keep the pace of the Scleck's attacks. The monkey dropped and that is that. Its not ACs job to wait for a domestique. That is absolutely absurd and idiocity at its highest and purest form.
The podium spot was BS too. Mountains are mountains, the strong men go, the weak drop. there is no tactic behind that.

At the end of the stage, Contador patted Scleck on the back and gave him the stage. This is what gracious mature champions do. Unlike ******s like Lance who want to take everybody's bag of chips and bully all the schoolkids in the playground. AC made friends by doing this. And good for him, Lance was too busy being dropped back to the team car to go over the press release draft of his Radioshack announcement instead of racing. Lance then goes on to sulk like a cry baby becuase the Astana team wasnt there to pace him up climbs, the only way he knows how to win the Tour.

Well too bad for Lance, and Im happy AC gave the stage to the Sclecks. His loyalty to another team was better served tahn his own back-stabbing Astana team mates who were at the Tour just to promote their own goals for next year and not even bother supporting AC for his win.

In fact, I wish Contador had attacked non stop to drop both Kloden and Armstong, they were pretty much on different teams anyway, proven by their announcement of their RadioShack plans.

I hope half the Radioshack team gets busted in the classics races in the beginning of the season.
For cry'in out loud! The thread was going fine. There were reasonable responses and a few corrections with regard to uphill drafting, etc. Then, along comes Howzit,.....................
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Old 07-28-09, 10:15 PM   #17
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10-16mph is NOT draft range. sorry. drafting effects are more like 20+

unless there is a noticeable head wind, the pace is more psychological than anything.
You definitely get drafting benefits at 10-16 mph, although much more so at 16 than 10. Look, I can climb up an 8% grade at over 10mph, they definitely go much faster than that.
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Old 07-28-09, 10:29 PM   #18
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10-16mph is NOT draft range. sorry. drafting effects are more like 20+

unless there is a noticeable head wind, the pace is more psychological than anything.
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Obviously you are a very slow climber. These guys climb in the 10-17 mph range. A draft is of great assistance at those ranges.
Even I can manage 10mph on decent climbs and I'm an old, overweight, Clyde. The subject has been discussed elsewhere, but the pro's are definately climbing at speeds where drafting is a real concern as well as a psychological gain. Take a close look at how steep some of the climbs are that they're still in their big ring for. They're truckin'.

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You definitely get drafting benefits at 10-16 mph, although much more so at 16 than 10. Look, I can climb up an 8% grade at over 10mph, they definitely go much faster than that.
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Old 07-28-09, 11:02 PM   #19
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For cry'in out loud! The thread was going fine. There were reasonable responses and a few corrections with regard to uphill drafting, etc. Then, along comes Howzit,.....................
I put him in my ignore list months ago.
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Old 07-29-09, 12:31 AM   #20
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thanks all for pitching in. I've learned a few more things today. Aside from the tangible benefits of drafting, mechanical failures, etc. how big is the intangible psychological benefit of someone "pulling" you? Obviously I have never raced and I have no idea how the human body/mind reacts when having teammates in front "pulling."
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Old 07-29-09, 02:19 AM   #21
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You definitely get drafting benefits at 10-16 mph, although much more so at 16 than 10. Look, I can climb up an 8% grade at over 10mph, they definitely go much faster than that.
look, its easy to figure tour speeds.
on c1 and hc climbs, using displayed speed data from vs, most were 11-14mph.
contador's RECORD-BREAKING-ASCENT up ~7.5% of verbier was 15.5mph

since he did accelerate and attack in portions of the ascent , he probably hit up to 20 or even slightly beyond for short periods. but many others are way down on that scale on the majority of the climb


and the former issue on drafting. again, in still conditions, as a rec rider im much more sensitive to resistance than pro riders makign 2 3 4x times the power. i barely perceive a thing (2ft gap) below 16mph. to say there is a "great assistance" in drafting at those speeds is a ridiculous notion.
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Old 07-29-09, 04:15 AM   #22
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Drafting doesn't magically start having an effect at 20mph, It scales with speed. "greatly affects is going to be subjective but when you are battling for seconds even a few percent is going to be significant. In my experience I can save a good bit of time up a climb drafting in the low teens, so it is not a trivial amount, and even slow club rides still benefit from havng someone pulling and sitting on wheels. I would do an analytical calc but I could not find a clear reference for the affect of drafting on cda.
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Old 07-29-09, 09:15 AM   #23
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When Contador was patting Schleck on the back on Ventoux, it was to tell him that Contador was not going to pull through and for Schleck to go right ahead.

Implicitly or explicitly, there was also the understanding that Contador wouldn't pull through, but also wouldn't attack at the line.
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Old 07-29-09, 09:42 AM   #24
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10-16mph is NOT draft range. sorry. drafting effects are more like 20+

unless there is a noticeable head wind, the pace is more psychological than anything.
DO you do any group rides?
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Old 07-29-09, 01:26 PM   #25
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Drafting doesn't magically start having an effect at 20mph, It scales with speed. "greatly affects is going to be subjective but when you are battling for seconds even a few percent is going to be significant. In my experience I can save a good bit of time up a climb drafting in the low teens, so it is not a trivial amount, and even slow club rides still benefit from havng someone pulling and sitting on wheels. I would do an analytical calc but I could not find a clear reference for the affect of drafting on cda.

Right, wind resistance has exponential relationship. 20 is a nice round number, where there is definitely a an advantage. And in the original post i put 10-16 because around 16/17 is where , as a casual rider , i start to "perceive" an effect.

So while its a subjective claim, and we require said analytics, I contend at typical steep tour climbing speeds (ie 14) drafting produces negligible advantages at best


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DO you do any group rides?
Not if the group rides 10-16mph
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