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marking opponent on climb?

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Old 09-24-08, 11:40 AM
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forrest_m
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marking opponent on climb?

OK, here's a question maybe the tactics gurus can explain. What, exactly, is the objective of "marking" an opponent one-on-one on a steep climb, i.e. Levi and Sastre on the Angliru?

from velonews:
Leipheimer waited for Sastre to catch up and then marked his wheel, opening the door for Contador to attack.
Back during the Tour, there was a lot of discussion about Andy Schleck marking the GC group after Sastre went up the road (on Alpe d'Huez), and I understand how he could work to disrupt the pace of a chase group. However, there also seemed to be agreement that once Evans started setting his own tempo to limit time losses, there wasn't much anyone could do besides stay with him (or not).

On Angliru, the lead group was totally blown up and Sastre was basically doing an ITT up the last section. He was already OTB of the lead group when Contador lit the afterburners, so what was the purpose of Leipheimer waiting around and then shadowing him? How could he disrupt Sastre when CS is basically alone in his pain cave? Was it just to have someone there in case Sastre ended up back in a group? Provide radio commentary on how Sastre was doing?
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Old 09-24-08, 11:45 AM
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It's mental. Knowing there's a guy on your wheel could be mentally taxing or stressful.

It's also recon. Relaying to Alberto how fast Sastre is going.

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Old 09-24-08, 11:45 AM
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I believe it is primarily a mental thing. Makes CS wonder when/if he is going to be attacked, etc. When I pull ahead of people on climbs (rarely) it invigorates me. When people are right on my wheel it is demoralizing.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kukusz View Post
I believe it is primarily a mental thing. Makes CS wonder when/if he is going to be attacked, etc. When I pull ahead of people on climbs (rarely) it invigorates me. When people are right on my wheel it is demoralizing.
It also really messes with my head when someone is drafting me and never says anything and I know he's not going to do any work.

friggin commuters. if I sense that someone is drafting me and they don't say anything, I don't say anything either. Oh what? I changed direction too quickly and you didn't see that pothole? Damn, if only I had known you were back there sucking my ass.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
friggin commuters. if I sense that someone is drafting me and they don't say anything, I don't say anything either. Oh what? I changed direction too quickly and you didn't see that pothole? Damn, if only I had known you were back there sucking my ass.
I know exactly what you are talking about. One time a guy yelled at me that I slowed down at a stop sign when he'd been drafting me without my knowledge. ????
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Old 09-24-08, 12:13 PM
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Hey, keep it on topic or you will be censored.

Originally Posted by kukusz View Post
I believe it is primarily a mental thing. Makes CS wonder when/if he is going to be attacked, etc. When I pull ahead of people on climbs (rarely) it invigorates me. When people are right on my wheel it is demoralizing.
I can kind of see that, although since Sastre is know as Mr. Calm, hard to imagine that this would be that effective. I mean, so what if Levi attacks? CS is already maxed out, he knows he can't do anything about it. In fact, LL did later attack, and scooted off to stay in podium contention once it was clear that Sastre wasn't going to get back in the race. I guess that in itself could be an attempt to demoralize him, "hey look, here I am dropping you again!"
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Old 09-24-08, 01:51 PM
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There is another aspect to the mental game. When there is someone just a little bit ahead of you they are the rabbit; it helps to have a rabbit. So by marking somebody, you explicitly don't provide that rabbit.

An attack by Levi at that point could have backfired by giving Sastre somebody to chase. While it might be ok if Levi could explosively drop Sastre, we are talking about Levi. (Note: I am a huge Levi fan, but we have to be realistic.)
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Old 09-24-08, 02:29 PM
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+1 that Levi sat on primarily b/c there's nothing to gain by attacking Sastre, and he might end up pulling Sastre closer to Contador.

Maybe there's a mental angle, but I doubt it matters at the pro level. Me personally, I might go a bit harder to try and drop the guy, which could result in success, or in me blowing up. A good pro like Sastre knows to just ride his tempo.
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Old 09-24-08, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
+1 that Levi sat on primarily b/c there's nothing to gain by attacking Sastre, and he might end up pulling Sastre closer to Contador.

Maybe there's a mental angle, but I doubt it matters at the pro level. Me personally, I might go a bit harder to try and drop the guy, which could result in success, or in me blowing up. A good pro like Sastre knows to just ride his tempo.
yeah, but in this case, LL actually was up the road a bit and Velonews describes him "waiting" for Sastre to come up to him, that's the part I don't get. Maybe there actually was no strategery, LL was just recovering from his earlier burst and caught on to CS as he went by. Sometimes the simplest explanation is best...

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to watch the stage in real time, just a few short clips and the write-up in Velonews.
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