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how important can a few seconds be at the top of the GC this early in a 3 week race?

I was wondering how much efforts will be invested to preserve GC positions considering only a few seconds separate many of the contenders. Wouldn't they naturally prefer letting domestics take the glory of shinning early?
 
Feb 14, 2010
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Dedelou said:
I was wondering how much efforts will be invested to preserve GC positions considering only a few seconds separate many of the contenders. Wouldn't they naturally prefer letting domestics take the glory of shinning early?

GC contenders need to be very protective of any time advantages they have over others. I looked at Contador's results stage by stage when he won the Giro, and he finished way behind the stage winner on a number of days. If I remember right, he didn't win a stage. On most days, the GC guys will mark each other and just finish in the peloton. On stages with mountain finishes, they might finish together in a small group. Time trials are the best chances to differentiate. But if I have a 3 second advantage on you during regular stages, all I have to do is finish in your group every day and I win (assuming there were no bonus seconds available to either of us).

Domestiques don't tend to have a shot at glory. Sprinters do. Climbers do. In some instances, riders in breakaways can, but if they're ten minutes ahead of their leader they really aren't domestiques. Those guys keep the leader safe, get them food and beverages, handle rain gear, and do lots of other duties, even giving up a wheel or their bike if need be. You can't do any of that if you're up the road. And the peloton is very elective about who they allow into a break. It gets even more complex when the composition of the break dictates which teams do the work of chasing.
 
In a split in the péloton on the second stage of the 2008 Tour de France, Bernhard Kohl was caught behind it, as he wasn't a protected rider, but Evans, Sastre, the Schlecks and all the other main contenders were in the front group.

That second group came in over 1'30" down.

Bernhard Kohl finished the Tour 1'16" down on Carlos Sastre.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
In a split in the péloton on the second stage of the 2008 Tour de France, Bernhard Kohl was caught behind it, as he wasn't a protected rider, but Evans, Sastre, the Schlecks and all the other main contenders were in the front group.

That second group came in over 1'30" down.

Bernhard Kohl finished the Tour 1'16" down on Carlos Sastre.

Well he had advantages that I hope none of the other contenders here have
 
That point was well made today.

What y'all saying was illustrated in the frustrations we witnessed today and to some extend yesterday when GC's contenders such a Wiggins , Sastre, and Evans all painfully lost precious time..
Thanks for clarifying
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Dedelou said:
What y'all saying was illustrated in the frustrations we witnessed today and to some extend yesterday when GC's contenders such a Wiggins , Sastre, and Evans all painfully lost precious time..
Thanks for clarifying

And, in the case of Wiggan; his GC shot is gone. He probably wasn't going to finish the race anyway but the point is made that the seconds aren't as important as not ending up as part of a traffic island. Watching the coverage it's obvious the varying road widths, traffic islands and other barriers add a danger factor that have nothing to do with climbing ability.
 
Moondance said:
Well he had advantages that I hope none of the other contenders here have

True, but beside the point. I just used Kohl as an example where a small increment of time early in a GT proved decisive overall. Of course, it was nothing like the Zülle crash in '99 - Kohl wasn't expected to be a contender so Gerolsteiner weren't really bothered about him dropping time.
 
Apr 29, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
In a split in the péloton on the second stage of the 2008 Tour de France, Bernhard Kohl was caught behind it, as he wasn't a protected rider, but Evans, Sastre, the Schlecks and all the other main contenders were in the front group.

That second group came in over 1'30" down.

Bernhard Kohl finished the Tour 1'16" down on Carlos Sastre.

Wow, I never realised that. Same split that Menchov lost time in?

At that rate Kohl would have been in yellow after Hautacam when Piepoli won, would have changed the race completely. The thing with cycling is the dynamics of the race change so much depending on the GC leadership....Kohl certainly wouldn't have won the Tour by 14 seconds if he had made the split it would have been a totally different race.

Not really news to anyone, and a pointless exercise, but interesting to think about. Maybe Evans would have won :rolleyes:
 
Kohl came in 1'59" down on stage 2, Menchov wasn't involved, and didn't lose time there. 122 riders came in on the same time as Hushovd. I suspect that was to do with Soler's crash, because he was last of all to come in that day, 7'18" down.

Menchov lost 38" on a split in the péloton the following day, the one won by Dumoulin from the breakaway that put Romain Feillu in the yellow jersey.
 
Losing 2-3 seconds here and there doesn't matter but if you lose 37 seconds one day and 46 seconds the other then that will have consequences for the GC. That's not always a bad thing for us fans however. Right now Sastre is around a minute behind Evans which means that in order to win he will have to attack on alot of the mountains. That will make for some good racing. If on the other hand someone who is a more defensive climber would lose time like that then it will have direct consequences for his GC placing since the defensive rider can't ever make up any time on the best climbers. It can be the difference for between finishing in the top 10 or just outside.
 
If Sastre was going to win, he was always going to need one or two big solo efforts to gain minutes, not seconds. He can probably handle losing 1-2minutes in the first week without it greatly affecting his chances of victory.

For Evans who is more likely to win through consistency it may be a bigger problem. He should be OK though. I just hope he hasn't used up one of his "big efforts" on yesterday's stage.

I think <2minutes pales in comparison to the gaps you can make on some of these mountains if you're the best on the day.
 

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