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Old 07-07-10, 12:49 AM   #1
dmills
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Newbie question about stage 3

Ok, I'm a bit new to the tdf. I'm trying to figure out what determines when people should sit up and wait for someone envolved in a crash.

On stage 2, everyone sat up which allowed Andy a GC contender (some 4 minutes back) to regroup.

On stage 3, Lance (a GC contender) crashes. Andy and FC put the hammer down to gain time.

I didn't hear any of the riders complain so I assume no unwritten rule was being broken. Can someone explain the difference between these two stages to me?
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Old 07-07-10, 05:49 AM   #2
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1. Who was on the front both times?
2. Where was his team's GC contender?
3. Lance didn't crash, he got caught behind one briefly.
4. I'm pretty sure Saxo Bank planned on ramping things up to create/maintain a break at that point of the race before the others had their problems.
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Old 07-07-10, 06:06 AM   #3
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Admittedly, it looks bad. Especially in light of Gerard Vroomen's comments about Cancellara's motives behind Stage 2's "neutralization". Vroomen predicted the tactics of Stage 3, saying that Cancellara would be unlikely to "neutralize" things if Contador fell behind. Vroomen proved prophetic.

Still, Stage 3 went as it should have gone. Stage 2 is where the games were played -- and to very good effect if you're an Andy Schleck fan.
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Old 07-07-10, 06:22 AM   #4
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Stage 3 was just the ups and downs of professional road racing. Thats the way it goes.

Stage 2 had almost EVERYONE crash on a decent that was predicted to be too dangerous beforehand. The motorcycle crashing and spilling oil was only one small part of it but probably the straw that broke the camels back. Everyone was SOO fed up with it that they went along with Cancelera. There are no hard and fast rules about it. The riders there at the time will make up their minds as it happens.

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Old 07-07-10, 06:29 AM   #5
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Or, the team with the most players at the front makes the rules.
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Old 07-07-10, 07:26 AM   #6
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Bottom line:
When it suits riders, they will follow unwritten "etiquette" and not drop riders who had mechanical problems or crashes and are trying to get back on. When it doesn't suit them, they'll claim that "racing is racing" and they're just going hard.

It's a double standard, and Cancellera's difference in tactics from stage 2 to stage 3 are a perfect example.
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Old 07-07-10, 07:41 AM   #7
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Bottom line:
When it suits riders, they will follow unwritten "etiquette" and not drop riders who had mechanical problems or crashes and are trying to get back on. When it doesn't suit them, they'll claim that "racing is racing" and they're just going hard.

It's a double standard, and Cancellera's difference in tactics from stage 2 to stage 3 are a perfect example.
+1

I will not be rooting for AS in the mountains as a result.
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Old 07-07-10, 09:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dmills View Post
Ok, I'm a bit new to the tdf. I'm trying to figure out what determines when people should sit up and wait for someone envolved in a crash.

On stage 2, everyone sat up which allowed Andy a GC contender (some 4 minutes back) to regroup.

On stage 3, Lance (a GC contender) crashes. Andy and FC put the hammer down to gain time.

I didn't hear any of the riders complain so I assume no unwritten rule was being broken. Can someone explain the difference between these two stages to me?
There actually are some principles behind the unwritten rules.

Number one is if you already have a break yuo can keep it/build on it.

Note on stage 2 none of those already off the front slowed down in the least.

Number 2 is such consideration is only given to contenders. That usually translates to GC contenders. For just the stage delays are usually just considered the luck of racing.

Number 3 is that those in front with something to lose have a huge say in things.

That means in stage 2 where Cancallara stood to lose the yellow Jersey by waiting he had control. Who else can say they have more to lose?

Finally there is the idea of 'is this supposed to be a part of racing'. Getting caught behind a crash on a decent is not generally considered such. Getting caught behind a crash on cobbles is.

USAZorro pointed out that Saxobank very likely planned on ramping thing up all along. I'll go a step farther, they had already moved to the front and were pushing the pace. That had been going on since the Pave started. There already were gaps. Once a gap exists those who created it have all rights to keep it. That may seem unfair, but it is the way things go.
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Old 07-07-10, 10:34 AM   #9
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The unwritten rule is that you don't attack when a GC contender gets caught in a crash or has a mechanical. In Stage 3 there was already an aggressive pace being set by the breakaway and the head of the pelaton. Plus, given the nature of the stage, there's no way they could have waited for everyone who crashed or had a mechanical.
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Old 07-07-10, 09:12 PM   #10
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Finally there is the idea of 'is this supposed to be a part of racing'. Getting caught behind a crash on a decent is not generally considered such. Getting caught behind a crash on cobbles is.
This sums it up for me. Very well said.

I did hear something on the Versus broadcast that alluded to Saxo Bank saying (of Stage 3) "we're racing today". Cobbles are what they are. Crashes and mechanicals on those sections are probably considered "part of racing", and I don't have a problem with them pushing the pace. In the previous stage, the riders probably decided that the course was too dangerous as laid out and decided to give everyone a pass.
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Old 07-07-10, 09:17 PM   #11
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Ok, I'm a bit new to the tdf. I'm trying to figure out what determines when people should sit up and wait for someone envolved in a crash.

On stage 2, everyone sat up which allowed Andy a GC contender (some 4 minutes back) to regroup.

On stage 3, Lance (a GC contender) crashes. Andy and FC put the hammer down to gain time.

I didn't hear any of the riders complain so I assume no unwritten rule was being broken. Can someone explain the difference between these two stages to me?
It's somewhat of a judgment call based on the exact circumstances. On stage 2 an unusually large portion of the peloton and GC guys crashed out due to unforeseen and uncontrollable conditions. Also, though Cancellara was in yellow there is no way he can win the TDF so it was better for him to sacrifice his yellow and let Chavanel win. So that the GC guys including his own teams GC guys can stay closer together in time. It was kind of a gentleman's agreement to not turn the screws while so many in the peloton had an unusual accident.

It was not the same for Lance the next day. He did not crash but punctured. This happens all the time but it was more of a problem where it happened because he could not get a new wheel quickly like normal. There are always flats. And there are always small crashes usually caused by the riders error. Normally only a team mate would sit up and wait to help you get back with the group. The big crashes on stage 2 were not being caused by rider error and they came at an unusually bad time to a large portion of the peloton. Therefore, they decided it wasn't really fair to contest the finish like normal.
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Old 07-08-10, 12:10 AM   #12
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OK, fair enough. Sounds like LA chalked it up to bad luck too. Still I can't help to think if LA and Andy are riding together in the mountains and Andy hits the ditch, LA won't be sticking around this time.
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Old 07-08-10, 12:53 AM   #13
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Still I can't help to think if LA and Andy are riding together in the mountains and Andy hits the ditch, LA won't be sticking around this time.
And no one would expect him to. If Andy falls because of rider error, that's his own problem. But a situation like that is different from what occurred in Stage 2.
With that said, I'm sure one of the reasons Cancellara asked the group to hold up was because of the huge deficit that Andy had. If Andy was only a minute or so off the mark, Cancellara may not have asked for the "truce". Remember, in last year's tour Andy got a flat and the peleton went right on without him. He was fortunate to have a few teammates to help pull him back up. Unfortunately for Lance, his wheel change took a long time and he only had one teammate to help him through the cobblestones.
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