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  #11  
Old 04-05-12, 18:50
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ElleSquared ElleSquared is offline
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Wowzers. You cyclingnews peeps really know how to come through!
Thanks so much for these excellent responses. Incredibly helpful and informative. I watched "A Sunday in Hell" last night (thanks ever so much for that link, DominicDecoco), and am now more pumped up than ever for Sunday! I plan on spending Saturday afternoon seeking out the ****tiest, most decrepit roads I can find, and riding them as hard as I can to get an idea of what the guys are going to go through in Roubaix. Then I will drink lots of beer.

The info on understanding cobbles was great, and seems to make sense to me. Thanks, DirtyWorks, Caruut, ElPistelero. And Hitch, those videos are fantastic. Thanks.

New (stupid) question (actually many questions, but all sort of connected):
How does the selection process for specific races work within teams? I mean, obviously if you're OPQS and blessed with a guy like Boonen who historically dominates the cobbled Classics, he's going to lead the team for those races and everyone else will suck it up and work for him....but what happens when you have several guys with potential to win a given race? Who decides that Boonen is going to be leader for PR and not Chavanel or Terpstra? Do the riders themselves have input, or is the hierarchy handed down from the DS? What about dudes like Ryder Hesjdal (who I have a soft spot for, since we share a home town ), who have tremendous potential to do well, but are on super-strong teams, and therefore spend most of their time hauling *** for someone else, or are sent to lead 2nd-tier squads at less important races? Do riders ever choose to sign with a less talented/stacked team in order to have a better chance at being team leader? Do rider contracts for the "stars" contain clauses which specify that they get the opportunity to lead x number of races??
In short, tell me how the domestiques handle being domestiques. What hope do they have of ever becoming stars? What compels them to sacrifice their bodies for someone else's glory?
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  #12  
Old 04-05-12, 18:52
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So... who's your favourite rider?
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  #13  
Old 04-05-12, 19:08
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How much domestiques can handle being domestiques varies from rider to rider. Some riders will go to smaller teams thatmay not be able to get invites to races like the Tour de France so that they can be team captains. Others, like Andreas Kloeden, don't seem to like being in a leadership role and prefer being a domestique. As a domestique, you don't have as much pressure riding down on you. I personally really like helping other riders win, and as a result, I have very few victories to my name.
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  #14  
Old 04-05-12, 19:08
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So... who's your favourite rider?
Not Contador.
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Old 04-05-12, 19:31
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Not Contador.
Yeah but who is?
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  #16  
Old 04-05-12, 19:54
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Not Contador.
Vino, dude, Vino
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  #17  
Old 04-17-12, 00:13
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I only want to tell you one thing, don't worry if sometimes people on this forum talk about riders or races you don't know anything about, I follow cycling quite a lot, watch races, read magazines and still sometimes I don't know what they are on about. Some of the guys here are complete geeks (meant in a nice way) when it comes to cycling.
Welcome and have fun.
By the way watch the Giro in may, it's worth it, many times is better than the tour!
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  #18  
Old 05-06-12, 05:41
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Hi again, muffins. I've been neglecting my resolution to become an active forum member, and for that I apologize. I promise I'll do better!

New dumb question time: I'm all geared up for the Giro, and am trying to find some way to be excited about tomorrow's stage (which looks flat and boring as rice), and I've seen peeps in other threads yammering on about "crosswinds" being something that might animate the stage a little......so, CyclingNews experts, talk to me about crosswinds. How do they shape races? What do people mean (apart from the obvious) when they say that crosswinds will be a factor? How do teams use crosswinds as a part of their tactics??
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Old 05-06-12, 08:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElleSquared View Post
Hi again, muffins. I've been neglecting my resolution to become an active forum member, and for that I apologize. I promise I'll do better!

New dumb question time: I'm all geared up for the Giro, and am trying to find some way to be excited about tomorrow's stage (which looks flat and boring as rice), and I've seen peeps in other threads yammering on about "crosswinds" being something that might animate the stage a little......so, CyclingNews experts, talk to me about crosswinds. How do they shape races? What do people mean (apart from the obvious) when they say that crosswinds will be a factor? How do teams use crosswinds as a part of their tactics??
Riders take shelter from the riders in front which allows them to conserve energy. In most races this just looks like a big mass of riders cruising along (the peleton), but in certain situations where the there are crosswinds, the riders will need to form echelons, or smaller groups alighned across the road. Because the road is not wide enough for everyone to get shelter from the side wind, any riders caught outside of the echelon will be riding in the wind alone. Usually a team will form an echelon at the front that contains maybe 20 riders. While everyone is trying to work out what is going on, the race will split up until the riders behind form their own echelon. You might get a situation where there are 3 or 4 seperate groups working.

The wind favours the stronger classics type of ridrs who are used to this sort of thing and so can be very dangerous for a slightly build climber who gets caught behind. Teams will often seek to exploit this if they have a good roster of Belgies and Dutch classics riders and will attack when the race hits a crosswind, forming an echelon at front and creating panic and carnage at the back. the other teams migh anticipate this happening and so the stage becomes a bit like a classic with everyone trying to ride at the front and maintaining a high speed right from the start. It is usually a pretty exciting stage but does require some significant sections of strong crosswind.

A good rule of thumb in cycling is that you will not get dropped on the flat in a tailwind or headwind, but crosswinds are where you really need to bring your a game. Getting caught in the wind outside of the echelon is called being "in the gutter". In the flatlands of Europe and in particular Belgium/Holand, people grow up racing Kermesses which are circuit races around a town that are maybe 80-120km long. With a field of 40-50, and no hills, these races require riders to understand riding in the wind and these riders are experts in knowing when and how to form an echelon. You dont see it so much in the big races as the fields are so big, but every couple of years there is stage in a grand tour which has crosswinds and you see echelons forming.

Hope that helps!!

Last edited by fatsprintking; 05-06-12 at 08:23.
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  #20  
Old 05-06-12, 09:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElleSquared View Post
New (stupid) question (actually many questions, but all sort of connected):
How does the selection process for specific races work within teams? I mean, obviously if you're OPQS and blessed with a guy like Boonen who historically dominates the cobbled Classics, he's going to lead the team for those races and everyone else will suck it up and work for him....but what happens when you have several guys with potential to win a given race? Who decides that Boonen is going to be leader for PR and not Chavanel or Terpstra? Do the riders themselves have input, or is the hierarchy handed down from the DS? What about dudes like Ryder Hesjdal (who I have a soft spot for, since we share a home town ), who have tremendous potential to do well, but are on super-strong teams, and therefore spend most of their time hauling *** for someone else, or are sent to lead 2nd-tier squads at less important races? Do riders ever choose to sign with a less talented/stacked team in order to have a better chance at being team leader? Do rider contracts for the "stars" contain clauses which specify that they get the opportunity to lead x number of races??
In short, tell me how the domestiques handle being domestiques. What hope do they have of ever becoming stars? What compels them to sacrifice their bodies for someone else's glory?
Often when a team has several riders capable of winning a particular race, they will have one leader and one or two "protected riders". In OPQS Boonen would be the leader and Chavanel for example a protected rider. Those don't have to do tasks as riding in the wind or fetching bottles so they can conserve their energy and be present towards the end of the race, either to help the leader or figure as a back-up plan if the situation presents itself. Then there are teams like Radioshack who have 3 leaders for the Tour de France for example, but so far it hasn't worked out so well for them. So I think often there is an official hierarchy but it is not set in stone, it can change during the race if the leader is not feeling well for example.

Some riders do move to other teams to switch from domestique to leader role, but I wouldn't necessarily call them smaller teams. Greipel for example used to ride with Cavendish and often got sent to smaller races and couldn't do the Tour de France. Then he moved to Lotto where he is now the number 1 sprinter but it's not really a smaller team. Same with Renshaw who used to be Cavendish's lead-out man and then moved to Rabobank to be a leader. Now there are strong rumours that Fuglsang will switch back to Saxo Bank because it is less stacked as you say, of course he could have had his chance at RadioShack but fell victim to bad luck. It is my understanding that he demanded Giro leadership when re-negotiating his contract at the beginning of the season, so that might be an example of someone having a "clause" for a specific race in his contract. Other than that I don't think it's very common. I believe star riders more or less chose their races but of course there are also counter-examples such as the Schlecks in their current position. But it is all about leverage: if they had gotten prestigious wins, they could make claims about which races they want and don't want to race, but since they failed now Bruyneel calls the shots.

As for domestiques they are also often picked by the leaders. Cavendish always rides with Eisel, Basso with Szmyd, Schlecks (used to) always with O'Grady, Contador with Navarro & co. Those are often relatively "unsung heroes" but are indispensable in their own way and crucial to the team. I assume the best ones such as Eisel & co. must make a very nice salary, especially if your leader wins you get your fair share of the prize money. Plus you don't have as much pressure as someone mentioned above. What hopes have they of becoming stars? I think most of them don't particularly aspire to being stars but of course when the situation presents itself they grab it, and those wins are IMO the most beautiful, such as O'Grady in Paris-Roubaix, Zaugg in Lombardia and so on. Not everyone can win but they can be part of a winning team and that also counts for something ($$$)
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