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Tour strategy question (no spoiler)(3 posts)

Tour strategy question (no spoiler)vindicator
Jul 18, 2003 10:54 AM
I think I understand most of the various riding formations I see in watching the tour - the single and double pacelines, the echelon paceline in a crosswind, the wide peloton with the narrow point at the front, etc.

But on occasion, especially in groupf of 5-10 riders, the lead rider swerves left and right across the road and the rest of the line follows, like a Chinese parade dragon. What is the point of this? Is the lead rider trying to lose the pack or put them into the wind more of the time? Isn't any advantage he gains by doing this negated by all the extra distance he's riding when, after all, he too is in the wind?

re: Tour strategy question (no spoiler)TJeanloz
Jul 18, 2003 11:46 AM
It is, exactly as you surmise, a tactic to put the rest of the group into the wind. It's typically done when the guy on the front wants to get away on his own, and the surprise move keeps the person behind him from capitalizing on his draft. He's in the wind, but so is the person behind him (suddenly) and he's accellerating, while the person behind him is decellerating (resulting from more wind resistence).
Also done to shake up the group and..Brooks
Jul 18, 2003 12:22 PM
make someone else ride point. You don't want to lead too much and get tired out but if you want the break to succeed, everyone has to take their turns at pulling into the wind. Of course, this is not necessarily everyone's strategy. Some just want to sit in and not pull to save themselves for the finish or to mark the competition for their team leader (behind in the peleton). It can be a way of telling the sitters to work or get dropped.