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Here's why USPS won't have to ride at the front(2 posts)

Here's why USPS won't have to ride at the frontSpoiler
Jul 17, 2003 3:35 PM
Here's an excellent explanation from Dylan Casey:
"There are a few other races going on behind that yellow jersey that Lance and the Postal team depend on and manipulate to their advantage.
On the flat or rolling stages the basic script of the day is that the riders in contention for the green jersey will be going for the first few bonus sprints while the peleton is still together. Due to the green jersey race, Postal can look to those teams to help control the first part of the race since those teams will want to keep it together for their sprinters.

Usually after the sprints a group of riders low on the GC (overall standing) will attack and Postal will let them go and then take their place at the front of the bunch to ride tempo and keep the gap manageable.

During all this, Johan is getting information in the team car about who is in the break. The mechanic or passenger will take notes and then look them up on GC to calculate the time gaps to the yellow jersey.

Johan will also take note of whether or not there are riders in the break that are a threat to the team that is leading the team classification. The idea is that if the break contains a rider who is dangerous to the teams fighting it out for the team classification, those teams will go to the front and help Postal ride tempo.

So the point is that the Postal team takes advantage of every situation and all the opportunities to economize their efforts. Just as the team focuses on getting Lance to the base of the mountain as fresh as possible, they must also make sure of all their recourses."

Of course, this mainly applies to flat or rolling stages, especially the stages after the mountains. USPS will want to be at the front for the next few days.

I'm not sure whether these is common tactics for any team leading the Tour. I'd imagine that a weaker team would have to be even more resourceful in recruiting others to help.
Looking back, as much or more than forward.Dale Brigham
Jul 17, 2003 8:34 PM
Excellent post, Spoiler! There are many races-within-the-race that will be even more important as the Tour goes into it's last week. As GC podium positions, team standings, points and mountain jerseys, and even the Centenaire (sp?) standings solidify in the last week, other teams will have common cause to chase with Postal (given that Lance keeps the Maillot Jaune), so that their respective riders' positions are defended.

This is the unique beauty of the Grand Tours in general and le TdF in particular -- there is much more than meets the eye.