The breakaway is one of the most interesting “mechanics” of cycling as a sport and I plan to talk about them a little because one will probably feature heavily in both the real world and the virtual versions of Stage 8 of Le Tour.
A breakaway, as the name implies, represents a group of riders (as small as 2 and sometimes as large as 20) who attack the group in the initial stages of the game and, using a higher tempo, build up a time gap, usually at least 5 minutes, before the middle point of a stage.
They ride hard at first and hope that the teams who are not represented in the break will be uninterested in chasing.
The elements contributing to a successful break are: a rolling stage with plenty of narrow roads and hills but no very high mountains, a good composition of the group (no superstars but plenty of tough riders), the weather, the length of the stage and the willingness to collaborate for both the teams and the break riders.
Stage 8 of Le Tour de France seems to be destined for a breakaway win as cyclists make a short detour into Switzerland.
In my virtual space, I plan to get either young gun Hermans or experienced Oliver Zaugg into the break and, if that fails, control the race and protect my leader.
I managed to do well when the break formed and snuck Montfort in there, confident that leader Frank Schleck would be able to perform with just Zaugg protecting him, and I snatched the first position in the Mountain classification, which I have set as a secondary objective.
My team also did well in the finale, although the overall win went to NIbali of Liquigas, because of his better sprint.
Take a look at the breakaway formation and the last kilometers of the stage: