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Here's sort of a naive question...(11 posts)

Here's sort of a naive question...amflyer
Jun 6, 2001 2:25 AM
Concerning racing, why is it beneficial to "cover" a breakaway? I mean, what are the benefits of having a teammate on the break even if the GC contender is back. Is it a matter of affecting the pace or is there a more obvious reason.

I follow racing when I can, and I feel a bit ashamed not to know this.


re: Here's sort of a naive question...Larry Meade
Jun 6, 2001 4:28 AM
Often in a big tour it is considered the job of the GC leader's team to control the race and lead chasing down any breaks. When the GC leader's team gets someone into a break, they are no longer expected to lead the chase and can sit in and rest a bit. If a team has the GC for several days in a row, chasing breaks every day can get tiresome. If they get someone into the break, the other teams are now required to do some work and give them a rest. This basically applies to any team whether they are the GC team or not. If they get a rider into a break, they don't have to work as hard as it is up to other teams to chase. As far as the rider in the break, often he is there to disrupt the break if it is in the team's strategy. For example, say that USPS has Hincapie designated as the leader for a race. An early break goes and USPS sends Casey with the break. He may not work and may do what he can to insure the break is nullified. While this is going on in the front, Hincapie and his teammates are sitting in letting other teams work to catch the break. This will then allow them to send another rider if another break forms. So in essence, if you are able to keep inserting riders into breakaways, you can influence the race more effectively and keep your team fresher.
what is "GC"? nmgot2ryd
Jun 6, 2001 5:04 AM
what is "GC"? nmLarry Meade
Jun 6, 2001 6:16 AM
GC stands for General Classification. The race leader based on overall time. In the Giro it is the Maglia Rosa(pink jersey). In the Tour the Maillot Jaune(yellow jersey).
Slowing a breakDCP
Jun 6, 2001 7:28 AM
I have heard that following a rider on a break can slow him down, but I have never understood how. The extended slipstream in car racing allows two cars together to go faster, not slower. How does this work?
Slowing a breakLarry Meade
Jun 6, 2001 7:39 AM
I'm no physics expert but I seriously doubt that a rider drafting another has much physical affect on the lead rider one way or the other. While there is probably a measurable difference, it is probably so small that it isn't discernable to the rider. The best way a rider can slow a break would be to appear to be working with the the paceline but actually kind of soft pedalling when he gets to the front or allow gaps to form in front of him when he is in the middle of the line. This forces the others to slow up or go around him. This can really disrupt a group and cause them to slow considerably as well as tire them more because of all of the constant acceleration/deceleration.
I've heard the opposite, actually, that a trailing riderbill
Jun 6, 2001 7:46 AM
can push the front rider. A little. I guess it makes sense; the trailing rider will push a little bubble in front of him. I'm not sure how much it would matter.
I've heard the opposite, actually, that a trailing riderLarry Meade
Jun 6, 2001 7:56 AM
I have heard that a trailing rider does aid the leading rider too. My contention is that this is more theoretical than practical. I was just saying that the difference is probably so slight as to be virtually unnoticable by a human but still detectable by sensitive instrumentation.
It's only about 5%mr_spin
Jun 6, 2001 5:16 PM
The rider behind generally rides at 30% less effort than the rider in front. At the same time, the rider in front saves about 5% because of the rider behind.

Hey, 5% ain't much, but it doesn't hurt. It's 1 mph at 20 mph, 1.5 mph at 30 mph. It's only really going to be noticeable to the guy in front if he is going really, really fast. Like 500 mph. But if you can ride 500 mph, very few people are going to be able to stay on your wheel!
Don't forget covering attacks...Java
Jun 6, 2001 10:29 AM
You're in the bunch with a teammate up ahead in a break. As riders attempt to attack and bridge across to the leading break, you can be a team player by covering the attacks as follows: As soon as someone sprints out of the pack, you go hard after him/her or them (sprint hard so you don't drag anyone else with you). Once onto his/her or their wheel, you do not pull through to take a turn chasing (or you pull through and soft-pedal as mentioned above). When they scream at you to "work dammit" you simply reply "that's my guy up ahead" and they'll realize that the only way they're going to get all the way across is without your help. If they do manage to get across, then they've dragged you across with fresh legs and now you can work with your teammate within the break or lead him out at the finish. This is a great way to work for a teammate and still have an exciting race.
Saw this tactic used to impressive effectlonefrontranger
Jun 7, 2001 8:47 AM
In a Pro/1/2 women's crit. 2 gals sneaked OTF in the early going, and one had plenty of skillful teammates strangling the pack for her. They dangled there at a tantalizingly reachable 20 seconds for what to them must have seemed like forever. An unsuccessful attempt to bridge carried two more of the blocking team far enough across the gap to succeed, AND they were also able to drop the attempted bridger by alternately attacking her with the most wicked jumps I've ever seen outside of track racing. The (percentage-wise, not total speed) accelerations on these attacks were similar to the mind-boggling ones you see in Euro-pro fields. One of the girls crossed a 15-second gap in a shade over 500 meters (geez, wish I could do that!)

This resulted in 4 up the road, 3 of them with teammates still strangling any chase attempts. The field soon realized the break wasn't about to be caught, so they rolled over and noodled the rest of the way into the field sprint, which was wildly contested over the final 2 laps for the remaining money places. The loner girl in the break tried a few brilliant moves on prime sprints, but as would be expected, she got the dope-on-a-rope treatment similar to George Hincapie vs. half the Domo team at Paris Roubaix.

I find that women's elite races can be pretty tactically savvy if you take the time to watch what's going on. Either the ladies are able to think a bit more with lactate fogging the brain (questionable) or there isn't the mystifying tendency for a couple of unattached Pack Diesels to drag everyone else up to the break, with the predictable result of the PDs experiencing utter ruin in the field sprint (a common men's race issue, no?).