Race tactics

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Race tactics

Postby Kev365428 » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:18 pm

So, for the last couple of weeks in our crit races I've been trying to stay near the front so that in the last lap or so I'll be there for the sprint.

In the first couple of weeks I was right up there, but had no gas in the tank when the time came. Last week my fitness was heaps better, but although I felt pretty strong, I could match it with the top 3 or 4 in the last 600 or 700 meters.

So this week I'm going to try something different.

With 3 laps to go (that's about 6km), I'm going to try to raise the pace to see if I can't shake the sprinters off. I'm hoping that I'll have the staying power to maintain a high speed that the sprinters won't be able to keep for that long a distance. Remember, it's only D grade so there are no real sprinters, just wanna be's like me.

Any of the regular racers here (Mike, TLL, Sogood) got any advice for me?

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by BNA » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:39 pm

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Postby mikesbytes » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:39 pm

I tried exactly the same thing earlier this year when I was a bit fitter, I went off the front with 6k to go (3 laps) but it was too windy and I'm not as good as riding into wind as other equilivant riders. The pack worked behind me taking turns and they caught me with 2k to go. Feedback later was that one point they didn't think they would reel me in, so I had really put the wind up them.

In hindsight, if I had one other rider come with me, we could of done it, but not by myself.

Advice:
- Try different things in different races and have fun
- If the sprinters are still there at the end, get behind one of their wheels
- If during the race someone else goes for a break, go with them, teamwork gets you off the front.
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Postby sogood » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:35 pm

Do you have a team mate? Might be able to pre-arrange something. ;)
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Postby europa » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:40 pm

And if someone catches you, shove a bike pump in his spokes ... oh, that won't work now. It did in American Flyers :roll:

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Postby toolonglegs » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:52 pm

I think you will have to be pretty strong to drop the bunch with 3 to go.Main reason...everyone is watching for a break at exactly that point.I don't think that is the time to go...either drive it really hard early on and try and shake a few,then you can recover and line up for the sprint.Or sit a bit back till the last lap....wait till the bunch slows..they always do and then jump as hard as you can early in the last lap or just before the bell,the aim is that no one will want to lead out the chase because they wont want to lead out the sprinters into perfect position.You have to be feeling pretty strong to do this but if you catch them while they are slowing and you are still powering then you might get a good break on them...but you will still have to drive it for a k or more!.
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Postby Kev365428 » Sat Dec 01, 2007 6:32 am

Yeah, so in effect, a km long sprint, which is where they'll run me down like a rabid dog.

Nah, I think my best chances are to go out with 6 or 5 to go, on the slight uphill of the course. This seems to be the spot where the group slows every lap. The only problem is that it's only another 400 meters to one of the hairpin turnarounds, so they generally catch up pretty quick. Getting out of those hairpins with good acceleration is one of my weak spots.

Mmm, the pump idea is sounding better.

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Postby sogood » Sat Dec 01, 2007 7:20 am

If you go out with 6 laps to go, what's your chance of staying out in the wind solo for the remainder of the 6 laps?
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Postby LuckyPierre » Sat Dec 01, 2007 7:30 am

toolonglegs wrote: ... sit a bit back till the last lap....wait till the bunch slows..they always do and then jump as hard as you can early in the last lap ...


If you are feeling good, it's worth trying TooLongLegs tip - hit hard and don't die wondering. The real sprinters won't want to go that early and the bunch will take time to re-organise. It works well at Stromlo because it's only 1.2 km / lap, but the bunch doesn't take long to learn, so it won't work very often. :wink:
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Postby inaminit » Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:19 am

Kev, I've only done a few races, but I've noticed that what I do depends on not only the strengths and weaknesses of the individual riders but how well the bunch is riding as a group. The one constant seems to be that the "sprinters" tend to get to the front and want to slow things down in the last few laps to recover for their big dash to the line.

Although I'm getting better and stronger at sprinting each week, I'm still better at building and maintaining a pace, so I decided to use the following as a base tactic to prevent the sprinters from having too much of an edge (but will modify on the fly if needed)....

If the bunch is working well together, and the sprinters slow things down by about 4 or 5 kph, then I'll try to get to the front and gradually bring the speed to a couple of kph higher than it originally was, but not enough to break the bunch, then drop back a couple and have a rest myself. I'll keep doing this each lap and try to get the sprinters stuck in traffic on the last lap where I'll try and increase it dramatically, but so that I can maintain it to the line.

If the bunch isn't working well together then I'll start doing some small speed increases about half race distance, to drop a few of the weaker riders. When the sprinters slow it down with a couple to go, I'll put in a big break and hope it strings the bunch right out, drop the speed a bit to recover then put in another big surge with a little over a lap to go.

Now I've only done one race with these tactics, and used the second option. The circuit we were racing was around a 900m reasonably flat course, with the last lap on the long 1500m course which included a 200m reasonably steep (for me anyway) climb about 3/4 the way around. I ended up taking out 2nd place (best result before that was 5th). I ended up getting beaten by a 65kg lightweight who loves hills, 3rd place was a good 70m behind me and the sprinters were well behind that!

The only thing better than getting second was the "what the hell happened there" comments after the race :lol:
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Postby LuckyPierre » Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:58 am

inaminit wrote: ...The only thing better than getting second was the "what the hell happened there" comments after the race :lol:

There is (of course) another thing that is better, but even if you did win the thing, those comments are priceless - especially when you've in no small way contributed to them. :)
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Postby Kev365428 » Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:35 pm

sogood wrote:If you go out with 6 laps to go, what's your chance of staying out in the wind solo for the remainder of the 6 laps?


If it's windy, then all my plans are shot to hell. It'll be a case of hiding in the pack and waiting it out, for like Mike, I'm hopeless in the wind.

Pierre, I can't wait until the last lap, as the sprinters will leave me for dead. I think my best bet is to try to get a decent break close to the end, have a quick rest, then try to power home before they can catch me again.

Your right inaminit, it really depends on howe the group is performing of course. It may be the case that I'm left in their wake if they decide to go out hard. The one good thing is that D grade is supposed to sit up and wait for the higher grades to pass them when being lapped. This gives me a chance to get my breath back. However, all courtesy goes out the window on the last two laps. I might give your second option a go tomorrow.

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Postby sandman » Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:56 pm

inaminit wrote:The only thing better than getting second was the "what the hell happened there" comments after the race :lol:


Thats just priceless, you cant buy accolades like that ;-) Well done :-)

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Postby sogood » Sat Dec 01, 2007 3:42 pm

Kev365428 wrote:...it really depends on howe the group is performing of course. It may be the case that I'm left in their wake if they decide to go out hard. The one good thing is that D grade is supposed to sit up and wait for the higher grades to pass them when being lapped. This gives me a chance to get my breath back. However, all courtesy goes out the window on the last two laps. I might give your second option a go tomorrow...

I remember that Cadel Evans (a non-sprinter) went hard early near the finish (say last lap), hoping to burn some of those sprinters off during the TdF. It didn't quite work that time but supposedly it's a strategy to use.
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Postby toolonglegs » Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:40 pm

The point of going early in the last 1 to 3 k's is that the sprinters will not chase you down 1km from the finish...they will wait till someone else takes up the chase then jump on.I have seen this tactic work more than any other tactic by far...rider jumps in the last lap by which time everyone else thinks it will be a bunch sprint,gets a bit of a break,bunch takes too long to organise and he wins.
You have to look at it this way...I have done about 50 races this year.
40 have finished in sprints.
5 Have been won in the way I have descibed
5 In Early Break Aways - (50% of which are won by riders in the wrong grade)
Ok this is a rough guestimate but pretty close.
90% of Races in my club finish in sprints (below A grade) so live by this rule!..."IF IN DOUBT LEAD IT OUT!!!"
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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Dec 01, 2007 7:05 pm

Get better at sprinting?

One of my mates who was in the local road club in Kalgoorlie was a middle-of-the-pack C-grader for a long time. Just after the season started, he came MTB riding with me for several weeks (I didn't have a road bike at all, so MTB riding was the only way we could ride together). Those few weeks of MTB riding conditioned him to sprint more strongly and he was suddenly winning his crits. He attributed it soley to the power he developed on the MTB.

Give it a try: find a few hills to train on and hit them as interval repetitions.

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Postby toolonglegs » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:13 am

So did you win!!!?.
That tactic I was talking about won a race today!.It wasnt me!.Really enjoyed (if that is the right word!)my race today.I went on the first lap on the hill...3 came with me and we managed to stay away for 10kms...but the bunch was chasing pretty hard.I thought we might of had it for a while.We didn't manage to drop anyone but must have done some serious damage because by the finish mark (1hr3min)there was only 6or7 left to contest the sprint.I was in 4 th wheel over the top of the hill ready to stomp on it when the guy in front blew and couldn't hold the wheel,I knew my chances went south at exactly that point.But I had more fun in that race than any I can think of for a while.Mainly because I am feeling strong and I can control the race a bit more now :lol:
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Postby Kev365428 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:48 am

Was typing up a race report as you posted.

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