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Hey all,
Last evening we went to 'spectate' and support the Mt. Hood Classic (NRC stage race in Oregon) and watched the downtown Hood River criterium. In the pro mens 1, 2s there was an early break of 4 riders. They pushed really hard and built a huge lead, helped by the main pack being 'dogged' by one of the break rider's teammates. The GC yellow jersey race leader tried the whole race to organize a chase, but nobody was willing to go..so the break finished waay off the front. My question is this..the four rider breakaway got so far off the front (very close to a full lap ahead) that they were nipping at the wheels of the back of the pack. They closed up, but a whole lap ahead, to within just 20 seconds of the back of the peloton. The officials were 'pulling' riders who were in danger of being lapped..got perhaps 30 riders out that way. So, the four riders in the lead group could have easily caught the pack, but they 'backed-off' on their efforts with the pack in sight..For the last 20 minutes of the race, they seemed content to keep that same margin...on the start finish leg of the course, the leaders were rounding onto the street just as the tail of the chase group/main pack were leaving the first corner within sight ahead..So, what would have happened if the " break " had kept the hammer down and lapped the so-called 'chasers'? The main pack?
Would the officials have had to "pull" the whole pack? Would the field have been "pared-down" to just those four riders? (the rules say, paraphrased, something like" riders not in contention will be pulled"...seems like lapped riders would no longer be in contention. The deciding factor as to when a 'lagging' rider IS pulled seems to be when the race leaders are going to lap him.,,when he is in danger of getting lapped by the field. BTW, The length of this crit was one hour. The breakaway riders could have easily caught the pack from behind at about 35 minutes into the race. If that had happened, would all those guys been "pulled" and have lost huge chunks of time for the GC points in the overall stage race? Would the race leader and many of the others been in danger, even, of missing the time cut? With losses of 30-40 minutes in that crit?
How come those guys (the guys leading way off the front) 'backed-off"? I heard them discussing it amongst themselves along the back of the course..to the effect of "let's just hold here at this interval till the end of the race..Let's watch the main pack and don't let em get out of our sights" so they were well aware the pack was within 'lapping-distance'. Hadda been me, with a chance to start 'eating into' the main pack from behind, (yeah, right!) I think I would have thought 'dispensing with' some or all of my 'competition' would have been a good idea..Just curious. Anybody want to comment on what the heck was going on here?
At the end, the 4 rider break finished close behind the main pack...but the main pack still had one more lap to ride..Or, the main pack finished ~a minute behind the leaders with a bunch sprint for 5th place..
Today sees the last stage, the "3-Summit Road Race" with Nathan O'Neil of Health Net up just 47 seconds in the GC in the pros.
Don Hanson
 

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The officials wouldn't have pulled the rest of the pack. This sort of thing happens occasionally, and then the officials have to figure out who made the bridge and more importantly, what order they finished. This can be dangerous as a sprint can start with lapped riders who don't really know what is going on but don't want to miss out on the sprint. It's easier for everyone to just do what these guys did.
 

· NeoRetroGrouch
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The main reason I have seen the break stay just off the back of the pack is that one or more of the riders in the break have team mates in the pack. The other riders quit working if they get too close because they do not want those guys to get the help. - TF
 

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yeah, in a couple of non-NRC crits I have seen the field actually get lapped; like Kerry said, it's not as easy for the officials to figure out who, out of the winning group, placed 3rd, 4th, or whatev. But they won't pull the pack.

This time it was only 2 riders on a very technical, 12-corner crit, so it wasn't so bad, but.

Why bother to press on into the pack and risk a pileup when it's obvious you've got it?
 
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