Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: New Orleans, LA
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Aggression for the sake of aggression is a stupid waste of limited and valuable resources. A gc contender always has to weigh the cost of an effort vs the benefit. Lance, for instance, knows that his best opportunities to gain significant time with the lowest energy cost is near the end of hard climbs and on time trials. If he, or any gc contender for that matter, were to stupidly go off the front, even with their team, they would be chased down. Even the mighty Postal team could not hold off the entire peloton if the latter seriously wanted to chase them down, which they definitely would. A prolonged attempt at such a breakaway would burn many matches and probably come to naught. The reason Postal is able to control things so well is they no how to pick their battles. They don't waste energy when they don't have to. Energy is only a semi-renewable energy resource in a 3-week tour. If you burn 5 matches one day, you can probably only replace 3. Every day exacts an expense that can only partially be repaid. Spending more than necessary increases the deficit. If that extra expenditure has not paid significant dividends, it was a stupid waste.
Breakaways are for low gc riders who are willing to spend resources in hopes of a stage win, their only hope for glory, young bucks from weak teams who are sent off the front for as long as they can hold out to get valuable TV exposure for the sponsor, and team members who are sent with a break to help control it or be available to work for his leader later if the team can pull the leader up at some point. This worked well for Saeco on a couple of stages in the Giro.
I was a little surprised at Jan's attack yesterday. It seemed to work out in that he lost less time than previous mountain stages, but we will see today whether it cost too much.
You have to pick your battles.
If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!