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Can someone explain this strategy? In stage 19 of the 2021 Tour de France, Pogačar (Yellow Jersey) and anyone else in the top 10 of the general classification remained in the peloton and as such finished a good 20 or so minutes behind the stage winner.

I can understand why a cyclist might want to take it easy for a bit and not give it his all in every single stage (at the risk of wearing himself out) but this seems very risky this late in the competition. The cyclists in position 2 - 10 were all well inside 20 minutes of his accumulated time so if any one of them made a break for a high ranking position in this stage they would easily take the yellow jersey. And then I'm also wondering, why didn't they?

Is it simply that he knows the position of every challenger for the jersey (through radio communication with his coach or something?) and so they couldn't possibly sneak off so he felt he could easily keep up with them if they did? And then they know that he knows that so they don't bother to try?

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Is it simply that he knows the position of every challenger for the jersey

Precisely this. Everybody knew that none of the GC contenders were in the breakaway, so the teams were content to let them go and save their efforts for the stage 20 time trial - to win the stage, if not the yellow jersey itself.

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