As an earlier post will verify, I'm a Chris Horner fan. Given the crappy results of the time-trial, he did the only thing possible to try to salvage something from this year's ToC. His form wasn't as good as it was last year, and sitting in and trying to dislodge a plethora of mountain goats in the last 5k would probably not have worked. As it is, he moved up a slew of places to finish 8th (but I do note that Levi finished 6th, 36 seconds faster).
It was pretty much a Forelorn Hope, but thrilling, nonetheless. As I watched, I couldn't believe the time kept increasing between the leaders and the peloton. But, like everyone else, when the time started coming down, I could see there was too much flat ground where the peloton gobbled up the time. But the other riders in the breakaway should have helped more rather than just sitting-on.
My reasoning is thus: Knowing they weren't going to stay away, this would have been an excellent time to gain payback-chips. That is, somewhere down the road in another race, Horner might be in the position to give you a hand when it really matters. Sitting-on merely makes you remembered in a negative fashion. In the post-race interview, Horner named the guys (not on his team) who lent a hand, and conversely, he also remembers, but didn't name, those who didn't. Atapuma was one who sat on. Surely he is having second thoughts about what might have been, had he done a few hard pulls and gained just a few more seconds. True, once it came down to him and Horner, he took a few turns, after some urging from Chris. And, when Horner couldn't help him anymore, he left him.
Horner's attack took a lot of strength from the younger guys. Let's call this a learning experience for them. Nobody goes this hard in practice! A similar leg-breaking tactic gave Carlos Sastre the win on Alpe d'Huez (and the TdF), although there was no breakaway, just CSC stringing everybody out. As a matter of fact, I believe Jens Voigt played a hand in that one too. Can't say enough good things about Jens. You might say I had a snack with him (it would be a stretch, but yes, our Marty Jemison group stopped to say hi to the guys, who were riding on their rest day. Only the two ladies (Bambi and Jen) were allowed close. You might notice Bambi is next to Frank Schleck.