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Old 05-11-14, 12:07 PM   #1
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Breakaways vs. Peloton

I'm no racer but I ride all the time and am a racing fan. Not a clue on tactics. Watching the Giro today, there's about a 5 minute breakaway. Crashes galore in the peloton. Again, the peloton reels in the breakaway and sprinters go at the finish line. Why is it these breakaways seldom stay away? I'm thinking the peloton has the better riders. Is that it?
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Old 05-11-14, 12:39 PM   #2
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It's due to the efficiency of drafting and the amount of time spent sheltered from the wind.

In a five man break the hard work of breaking the wind is only being shared by 5 people. One rider is pushing the still air out of the way while the other four have a short amount of time to recover from their effort before it's their turn again .

In the peloton the work is shared by nearly 200 riders so they can pull harder for longer knowing that they'll have plenty of time to recover fully.
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Old 05-11-14, 01:12 PM   #3
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And also, if the breakaway has anyone in it that could do some real damage the teams with overall GC aspirations will not let them get a gap in the first place. Typically the guys allowed to get a gap are either way behind in overall time, on lesser teams just looking for some camera time, only contesting the mid-distance sprints and KOMs and plan on dropping back, or all three.

If say Cadel Evans tried to go with the break, Movistar, Astana and Katusha would work together to shut it down. Likewise with Quintana, Rodriguez and Scarponi so they rarely try. That's what makes a guy like Vinokourov so much fun as he would go on 'suicide' attacks and even when it didn't work for him it would break up the monotony of watching the peloton just cruise for 5 hours and race for 5 minutes.

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Old 05-12-14, 02:58 AM   #4
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It's the TV commentary team's job to explain these things, someone's not doing their job. Must say, Eurosport do a good job in this regard.
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Old 05-12-14, 03:28 AM   #5
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with stage races...breakaways seems to have a better chance to succeed if the weather is particularly rainy or hot or on the stage immediately before a monster mountain stage.
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Old 05-12-14, 11:16 AM   #6
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Breakaways also stand a better chance of success if the finish isn't likely to be a mass sprint. The sprinting specialists have teams built around them that specialize in not letting breaks win. The GC specialists don't care who wins a stage so long as it doesn't affect GC.
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