Maybe I’m overestimating how much speed you lose by looking away from your target. And in no way do I think I know more than these guys, but when I was watching Stage 15 of the Tour de France I couldn’t help thinking Jack Bauer, who led the stage for 222km, made the critical mistake of looking back too much down the stretch. The Peloton was bearing down on him, he knew that much, but he kept looking back, and I think it cost him.
Below are two stills I grabbed from the broadcast. The first one is .4km from the finish line. It’s on a corner and you can see Bauer (in the blue helmet) taking an “extended” look back to see where the pack is, and when you watch the tape he slows down considerably as he takes that turn. I just don’t understand why you need to look for them at that point. After 222km and with .4 left, don’t you just hammer it with everything you have left?
This one below is with about 50 meters left. Honestly, what is there to look at except the finish line?
In the end, he didn’t have enough to close it out. It was an impressive surge by the sprinters and Bauer had the lead until 10 meters before the finish line. 1o measly meters. He will be thinking about this for a long time.