questionable crit tactics from the pros?

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by davidalone

I live in singapore. yesterday there was a pro criterium. stuart O Grady and Simon clarke from orica were in town. Other notable cyclists competing were aaron gates, kristian house, Ed Clancy.
the pro conti teams were rapah condor sharp, androni, farnese vini, drapac, nippo de rosa, and some smaller continental teams from the asia circuit, so not exactly a strong field, but not entirely weak, either. start field list is here: ... m-preview/

Simon clarke won after being set up for the win by O Grady.

I was watching from the 3rd corner before the end, a rather wide left corner that led immediatly into a right hand corner and then a 180 degree bend. I had a perfect view of how the winning move unfolded. after 1 1/2 hours of racing, the front group were down to about 20 cyclists. kristian house had been doing lots of work on the front to control the group for rapha ( they brought back an androni attack, then attacked themselves about 5 laps from the end.) meanwhile the orica guys were hanging back and I'd noticed them discussing stuff for a few laps.)

on the 2nd last lap, O Grady pulls everyone back together and Simon Clarke on his wheel back up to the front. at the corner where I was, O Grady takes a rather narrow line, leaving just enough room for simon clarke to dive past him at the apex of the corner on the inside ( he was literally centimeters from the barriers at this point, no joke) . O Grady immediately then shuts the door and lets a gap open up for Simon Clarke. at that point he's the first around the final two bends and it's a straight shot at victory for him.

While it was certainly an amazing demonstration of the level of bravery , trust, and teamwork that protour level riders have, as well as the tactical nous and judging things 'just right' , I can't help but thinking that it was rather dangerous for the riders on simon clarkes wheel. someone might have tried to follow him inside and we'd see a big crash.

what say you guys?

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by xnavalav8r

I say it worked. They beat the others with tactics and teamwork. Nothing questionable about it.

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by Rick

I think that criteriums, sprinting, sprinting in criteriums, and especially sprinting in pro criteriums are all very dangerous.
That is why you really do see even the top pro sprinters go down numerous times every year and huge pack pileups.

Whomever was on Simon Clarke's wheel would probably have seen how the situation was being orchestrated and either "braced himself for heavy shoulder bumping" or simply backed off.

Have you seen any of those Keirin races where deliberately headbutting is common and apparently legal ? What a hoot!

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by Valbrona

Lots of crits are fixed. You can't really expect many pro's to take Mickey Mouse races seriously.

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by itsacarr

OCBC isn't exactly what you would call a "mickey mouse" crit lol. And there is a good chunk of change up for money. The rapha boys albeit im sure have made deals are not likely to give up the shot at good money at a race like that. It's not like it's a post tour crit.

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by micky

12.500usd for a mickymouse race!

Vuelta a Espana has smaller prizes money than that!

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by Privateer

It doesn't sound like it was fixed, nor does it sound like there was anything questionable about the tactics.

It sounds like clever race positioning. If any other team had thought of it and could have executed it I'm sure they also would have without any hesitation.

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by Tinea Pedis

davidalone wrote:what say you guys?

I say you probably haven't raced much.

Textbook stuff by O'Grady.


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This is a classic criterium tactic, and it is not a dangerous move unless O' Grady just grabs a fistful of brakes and deliberately takes down other people. He set up his man to win by giving him enough room to get around and did a classic shut the door move. I talked about this with a teammate at one of our last criteriums. We could have used the same tactic to win the race, it just did not happen at the time.
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