Seeing this between Rui Costa and Rodriguez prompts me to ask the question after years of ignorance. with only several hundred meters to go at the World championship, Rodriguez was ahead, Rui Costa was hugging his wheel. Rodriguez slowed down to maybe 20kph or so, Costa followed suit. Rodriguez kept looking over his shoulder, waiting for Costa to jump. Once Costa jumped, Rodriguez reacted and both of them tried to out sprint each other.
Saw this tactics in Olympics track racing as well and didn't understand why are people waiting for one another to react first? The racers must know how much gas they have with only meters to go, why doesn't one simply dial to 400w, sorry no, 4000w and bolt, regardless of what the other person is doing? If the other guy can match the speed, he can. If he can't he simply can't. No? I thought drafting may be a factor here. Is it because Rodriguez does not want Costa to draft behind him and therefore why these cat and mouse games are at such low speed?
What puzzles me is that I don't see marathoners employing the same tactics, and I certainly don't see F1 races, for which drafting is also a big thing, employing similar tactics. Vettel doesn't bring his car down to 50kph and shoulder checks what alonso would do behind him.
Can someone please enlighten me in layman's terms why this tactics applies to bike racing (and seemingly only bike racing to my knowledge)?