BikeExchange.com.au is pleased to announce that Directeur Sportif will be writing technical advice on all aspects of cycling. Today’s article focuses on advice for bicycle racing on the road.
Key Advice for Bicycle Racing on the Road
Know yourself including strengths, weaknesses and those of your major opposition. Once you are comfortable with this analysis race accordingly and expose your strengths and your competitor’s weaknesses.
Analyse the course including the climbs, descents, road surface, cross winds, finishing set up, i.e., corners roundabouts.
Know the vital points of the race and prepare for them
Be patient, but decisive. Always have a reason for doing what you do within the race. Ask yourself what have I to gain? What have I to lose?
Be ready to capitalise on any situation that arises, turn negatives into positives.
The longer the race the less likely an early break will succeed. Always check who is in the break. If you are not sure go with it, but do not drive it until you have something to gain from it.
Be prepared to take a calculated chance. Play the percentage game. If you play safe all the time, that’s where you will finish, safely back in the bunch. Put it on the line when the odds are going your way.
Keep positive, but don’t deceive yourself. Don’t make excuses after the race is over.
Good Times To Attack:
Immediately after a break is caught, or just before
Over the top of a difficult climb
Straight after a sprint
At “that moment” when everyone hesitates after a major effort
Just near the finish
Change of wind direction
Bad Times To Attack:
Down Hill, unless very technical descent and you are very confident. This is often not worth the risk especially if it is wet
Tail Wind, or when the race speed is fast
On long straight roads into the wind, unless you can take a strong group with you.
How to Split the Bunch?
5-6 good riders across the road riding into a side wind. 1-2 gatekeepers (riders to allow the working riders back in to the front group whilst preventing other riders from behind joining the group).
For this tactic to be successful you must have other willing riders
Can be achieved within 500 - 1000 metres in some circumstances when things go the right way.