What is stage hunting in cycling?

What is stage hunting in cycling?
Krist Neilands Stage Hunting on Stage 10 - Tour de France - 2023

It’s not uncommon for the general classification winner to have never won a stage in the grand tour but take the win overall given their consistency. So out of the twenty two teams that are invited there are usually six to ten teams who have a rider with a fighting position to perform well in the overall general classification standings.

The other teams are typically riding for another category (such as the points jersey) or just to “stage hunt”. Stage hunting refers to a team seeking to have one of their riders win a stage of the twenty-one stages, despite not attempting to perform well at the general classification.

Stage hunting riders may intentionally lose dramatic amounts of time during the initial stages of a grand tour to indicate to the general classification contenders that they are not a threat for the main time battles.

Typically once riders have lost twelve or more minutes to the leaders in the general classification, the rider will be allowed in breaks, which can then go on to win stages.