Stage 14 194km from Sierre to Cassano Magnano. With nearly of the 1600m of climbing over in the first 56km this was a stage for either a break-away or the sprinters. It was the former, with Nico Denz taking his second stage win. Interestingly, the break was 'allowed' to get over 21-minute lead on the main peloton, which meant Geraint Thomas effectively giving up the pink jersey. The new race leader is Bruno Armirail, with a leading margin of 1:41 from Thomas and the other GC contenders.
What's the lesson? Understanding tactics helps to explain behaviour. Observing yesterday's stage from an outsider's perspective, the behaviour displayed may seem peculiar. It raises the question of why an individual would willingly relinquish their lead. Although no disrespect is intended towards Armirail, he is expected to slide down the General Classification once the challenging mountains arrive. Hence, it becomes evident that Thomas and his team, the Ineos Grenadiers, strategically played their cards. By surrendering the lead, Thomas gains valuable time to recover, and tomorrow the responsibility of managing the stage will shift to Armirail's team.
It's essential to recognise that what may appear as perplexing behaviour often stems from tactical considerations. This applies not only in the realm of cycling but also in various settings we all face. Small p politics, clashes of values or differing beliefs all can play a part in driving what, to some is hard-to-explain behaviour. Instead of merely expressing frustration or lamenting the actions of others, a more constructive approach involves exploring the underlying reasons for their behaviour, either directly or indirectly. By gaining insights into the motivations behind their actions, we position ourselves to make more informed decisions about our course of action.
Appreciating the "why" behind someone's behaviour empowers us to approach situations with a stronger perspective, facilitating better understanding and enabling us to navigate complex dynamics more effectively.