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Monday, May 21, 2007

tactics, thanks for the lesson

Tri Peaks Challenge, NRC stage race

Webcor's Amber Rais wins 3 stages and the overall ... with 2 teammates.

It's a small field, and Cheerwine has 6 riders.
- - -

There's a break up the road on the final stage, with Cheerwine's Betina Hold and Webcor's Kat Curi in it. Rais is back in the pack, as is Cheerwine's Ruiter who is about a minute behind Rais in GC.

Hold is ahead of Curi in GC by a few seconds.

what do you do?
- - -

Here's what Webcor does:

"We have such faith in one another and trust each other to do what needs to be done," Rais said of her squad. "We were certainly out numbered but either of us would have been dangerous on the GC and that's what gave us the advantage. We are all willing to sacrifice for one another - we are three smart, strong and experienced riders." [CN]

Here's what Cheerwine does:

"Our team set tempo to keep the time gap manageable to make sure Chrissy was still on the podium," Cheerwine's Leigh Hobson said. "Brook, Chrissy and I lead up the climb until the flatter section toward the top."

While Rais claimed the overall victory, having won three of the five stages, Cheerwine was pleased with securing Chrissy Ruiter's second place and Hold's stage victory which moved her into third place overall on the final classification. [CN]

At the base of the final climb, reports are the break had 2.5 minutes on the pack ... with both Hold and Curi fresh from having sat on. It was a straight up gunfight between the two for the stage, and likely the GC.
- - -

So ... Cheerwine chose to chase and sacrificed a very, very good chance at a GC win ... for a 2nd. Instead, they could have sat and let the break get more time, forcing Rais and Heal to chase if they wanted to protect her GC (but they wouldn't have because they were confident in, and generous to, their teammate, Curi) and then countered off of them to try and put Ruiter over the top of a, hopefully, fatigued Rais.

In the end, Hold won the stage and would have won the GC for Cheerwine if they hadn't chased.

- - -

i don't care if it was a gamble, you gamble on your riders. you show them confidence.

it's how you make riders winners.

2nd ... graaayte.


sydney_b said...


Thank u so much for the tactical recap tho. This is the stuff I'm trying to understand, learn and apply.

btw.... you know what my dad calls second? "first loser"

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

well, Sydney ... 2nd isn't a bad thing. i mean, i've given 110% and gotten 2nd and been very, very satisfied.

what i'm railing against is not giving one of your teammates a chance at winning. it's a gamble, but one worth making because it makes that rider all the more determined to sacrifice in their turn.

Cheerwine should have had confidence in Hold and given her the chance for the win. If she wins it, great ... and even if she didn't, she would have been 2nd on GC ... the same result Ruiter had.

It's easy to say this is a case of 20/20 pure vision ... but, you're at that level?

it's an easy call to make. you risk for the GC win.

they chose poorly.

Anonymous said...

Webcor obviously had faith in Curi on that final stage. Trust - mutually earned and granted - is what makes a team.

Anonymous said...

Also good to see Webcor putting the same faith in Amber from day one. As you noted, it's how to make winners, and that it did.

Anonymous said...

yeah - too bad about Cheerwine - it was the Director's call - and he screwed up - Betina is a classy rider and deserved the chance to prove she can win - good call OV

Anonymous said...

Swing for the fences. ALWAYS! How else would you hit a home run? These chances are so rare at that level, when they come you don't play defensive. I wonder what Brian Boitano would do?

trac said...



aherm... sorry.

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

the team tactics are what makes this cycling game so much fun! Sometimes you pick it right, sometimes you don't, sometimes you have the legs to do it, sometimes you don't (sorry Marian), but if you have a plan and go for it, well, that's what it's all about!

Anonymous said...

Dang, Amber looks smokin' hot!!!

sydney_b said...

olaf, i know 2nd is not a bad thing. In fact, in this cycling gig, any time you ride your hardest and smartest, you've done all you could and should be quite satisfied. Can't control how good of legs someone else has that day or a million other factors.

And, I understand what was amiss with the Cheerwine call. One of the first things I was taught was that if one of your teammates manages to get away, let them go, unless there is some remarkable reason you shouldn't.

From what you described, someone didn't trust that Hold could do it, but the thing is, that there wouldn't have been any loss to the team even if she didn't pull it off. That's where it gets confusing for me.

Is there *any* rationale for supporting Cheerwine's tactical decision? Is there some points thing, where they'd want Ruiter to get the 2nd instead?

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

very good question, Sydney.

was there any sound reason to chase Hold down?

... to my mind, no.

Other than personal dynamics.
and that's a cat you don't want to play with.

There is an season-long NRC points competition throughout the year, but Ruiter was sitting in the 30s and not really a contender for a top placing. However, as a team, Cheerwine does have a chance to place in the top 3, or even win.

To win the team NRC title, you need to spread points out to as many riders as you can ... in effect, creating as many potential winners on your squad as possible.

... like Webcor has begun to do.

Anonymous said...

Pisses me off as a U of Vermont alum to see Curi of UVM lose out on another teams bad tactics! Go Kathryn! Good call OV. Philip

sydney_b said...

I see. Thx for taking the time.

Brent said...

I saw this time and time again over the years.

Amber is right, they are smart especially when they didn't have to do much to chase Hold down themselves.