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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:16 pm 
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Disclaimer: I'm new - I'm aware I may sound stupid.


Last night in a circuit race, after 90% of the race being mass confusion and nobody really leading the pack - a team of 6 got to the front and it was pretty clear their intention and who their sprinter was. I stuck with the group and managed to beat all but their protected sprinter - but it got me wondering if there was a way to thwart such an attack if you recognize it in time.
Unfortunately, I don't have many teammates out there with me to launch much of an effective counter attack (only 1 teammate, actually)... I thought maybe with 3 of us we could get one guy out front at the sprint and have 2 guys sit on either side of their sprinter - not sure how well it would work though and regardless, I'm one man down.

So short of borrowing Cavendish's legs, does anybody have a decent "David and Goliath" technique they've used themselves or seen deployed? It's a bit frustrating when you feel that you've got the ability to beat the individual competitor and realize it's very difficult to beat a whole team.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:34 pm 
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May not be able to borrow Cavs legs but borrowing his tactics is always good, hop on the guys wheel and use him as your lead out. Not always fool proof but always worth a go.


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Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:34 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:29 pm 
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I'd just rather have Cav's legs.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:48 pm 
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Leepaton is right; sit on the wheel and come around. The only purpose of a lead out is to raise the speed so the protected rider is not swarmed at or before the finish. You can take advantage by sitting on the train and accelerating at the appropriate time.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:49 pm 
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Well, often Cavendish is the one with the strongest lead out, so you can look at what his opponents are trying -- to be on his wheel and kick when he goes.

Or you could try to anticipate the side on which his lead out will peel off, and put your teammate on the other side to box him in a little. But I'm not sure to what extent this is allowed. Anyway your fella would need to be pretty strong to be there when it's make or break, probably strong enough to contest the sprint on his own ...

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:33 pm 
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Sit on the wheel but decide your own when to start your sprint. Also, depends on your condition if you are able to accelerate faster or can you do a longer sprint.
Even pro's make wrong decision, go too soon and fade away or leave it for too late to pass competition.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:13 pm 
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I wasn't able to get right behind this guy safely without contact... which is actually what his teammates did to me to form this leadout (bastards) - so I followed a guy I knew to be a strong TT rider for as long as I felt he was usable. I guess I was looking for a technique to break up the group :mrgreen:


@CerveloBert - you and me both

@wassertreter - my teammate and I are fortunately able to both contest the sprints pretty well. If I've got any skill it's probably that and that alone :oops:

@Omiar - you nailed what's been my biggest adversary and main focus lately in course/crit races - timing. I typically sprint a bit longer and fortunately am able to sustain a pretty strong speed even once I taper off but it's not ideal. Last night I felt much more confident, relaxed, and aware when we came down to the final sprint. I waited a bit longer than the protected sprinter, who jumped pretty early, and pulled him back in quite a bit by the finish - not being right on his wheel from the beginning didn't do me any favors though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:39 pm 
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For example watch Guardini beat Cav in the Giro this year, Just jump a little early and hope for the best.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:24 pm 
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Imaking20 wrote:
my biggest adversary and main focus lately in course/crit races - timing. I typically sprint a bit longer and fortunately am able to sustain a pretty strong speed even once I taper off but it's not ideal. Last night I felt much more confident, relaxed, and aware when we came down to the final sprint. I waited a bit longer than the protected sprinter, who jumped pretty early, and pulled him back in quite a bit by the finish - not being right on his wheel from the beginning didn't do me any favors though.


This:
LeePaton wrote:
For example watch Guardini beat Cav in the Giro this year, Just jump a little early and hope for the best.


Stay on the sprinter's wheel during the lead out... just before you anticipate they will kick, you kick suddenly to the person's side that you think they will kick out to, thereby blocking them just a smidgeon during your kick. That slight pause in that other sprinter's kick will be enough to give you a gap on that sprinter while they momentarily restart their kick, person will be most likely unable to hop onto your wheel.... then proceed to your strengths. You'll need some luck, too.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:04 am 
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Steal his leadout.

How to do that:

Before your next race:
Get some friends and do some bumping drills, as well as what my coach in high school called boxing drills: For bumping, you just ride back and forth at various speeds across a field leaning on each other so you can get more comfortable with accidental (or intentional I suppose) contact in the pack.

Next, find some flat ground in the field and mark out a box using water bottles or something. It shouldn't be more than 20x30 ft or so. Now ride around inside the box with your friends. The goal is to be the last one to ride out of the box or put a foot down. If you do either of those, you're out. If you touch another rider, you're both out. As more people get knocked out, decrease the size of the box. The key is to learn how to control the other rider without touching him. Tip: it only works if you're slightly ahead of the other rider.

During the race:

Using what you learned in the bumping/boxing drills, try to force the guy off his leadout. Obviously you can't touch him, but at the end of the day whoever is ahead of the other will win unless you chicken out and/or he's completely fearless. In all likelihood, his leadout guy probably won't be looking over his shoulder until he's about to pull off but by then you're so close to the line that you can go for it.

Before I stopped racing I was usually the leadout guy, so if the sprinter didn't make it to the finish I'd just steal someone else's leadout and go for it.

Note: This is very very very dangerous. Don't try this unless you've had a lot of practice and are at least a cat 4.

Other note: If the other guy is really cranky he might protest to the race official. That said I've never been disqualified for it.

Remember: It's very important that you avoid touching the other guy. If you touch him it's illegal. If you don't you're just playing chicken at 30-40 mph.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:26 am 
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We have this situation quite a bit in our local summer crit series. There are a couple of strong teams that try and set up their sprinter. Basically with a couple of km's to go they move to the front, raist the speed and try and launch their guy with about 200m to go.

It is very difficult to counter this when you are riding by yourself, as everyone has said the ideal thing to do is sit on the sprinters wheel and use their teamwork to your benefit...however that's also what every other 'single' rider in the race is thinking as well, and you use up a lot of energy trying to get and maintain position before the sprint even starts.

The couple of times I've been succesful in beating the leadout train is when I've had a friend 'escort' me up to the front of the bunch during the last km and protect me from the wind, then drop me off right next to the sprinter in the leadout train just before the final sprint/kick to the line starts. If you both get the timing right you will latch on to the right wheel just as he starts his sprint, and you can accelerate with him then come around him in the last 50m.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:45 am 
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Location: Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
The biggest risk with trying to follow a protected sprinter at the back of a train is being on his wheel but having people either side of you blocking your kick.

No two sprints will ever be the same unless this team is completely dominant and drive it so hard that it is impossible to move forward, but the best tactic I have found is to try hover on the outskirts of the pack (usually in a triangle behind the leadout) so you have room to kick from there. I don't watch the protected guy, I watch the guy in front of him, so I have plenty of time to anticipate the sprint.

Unless you have massive amounts of acceleration, you will need to be already going when that protected rider starts his sprint

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:04 am 
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@RollingGoat: That sounds like a fun drill - I've got a couple teammates that may be up for the practice. As far as contact, this group pushed both myself and my teammate out of the way in order to get their organization - then when I got close to one of them ,so that I could take his lead's wheel when he swung, the guy copped an attitude like "you're not knocking me off my teammate, bro."
Some people take this too seriously.

I like the cut-off technique though, I'll definitely give it a shot in the next week or so!

@mvogt46: You're definitely right about every 'single' rider trying to get right on a team formation. I'll do what I can to try and get closer - I've been making progress.

@Murphs: getting blocked like you mention has been a major pain for me quite a few times so far. I really try to focus on having a good opening now as it's a bummer to get blocked for that split second.

I wouldn't say I have "massive" amounts of acceleration but against the 2 biggest teams I face regularly I haven't had one of their guys I couldn't pull back in - regardless of when either of us jumped. My shortcoming has just been the distance between myself and them before the kick - this time was no exception but at least I was closer from the start.



Fantastic advice, guys! This is the kind of stuff I was hoping for!


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Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:04 am 


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:19 am 
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Location: Sunshine Coast QLD
You need to know whether he/she is a long or short sprinter to! :wink:

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