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Road Race Tactics

Old 03-02-19, 10:49 AM
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steven.burkard
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Road Race Tactics

Alright all, need to settle an argument between teammates.

In a Road Race, 90k or so, with 40 riders and 3 teams with 6 or more riders, what is the best tactic for a smaller team with 3 or 4 riders? Some specifics:
  • My team has a rider who is a breakaway guy, one sprinter, and a couple of guys happy to hang in the pack
  • 2 of the large teams really only share a jersey and don't ride as a team
  • 1 team rides with a plan, and usually wants to keep everything together until the final hill with 2k to go
  • This race will split on the second lap (big hill at the turnaround) and the final group is usually about 20 or so riders
I am the breakaway guy, and want to go up the road 1/2 way through the first lap (20k in), hopefully with another rider or two and commit to sticking it. My teammates want to sit in the pack, never see the front, and sprint at the end.

What is the better tactic?
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Old 03-02-19, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by steven.burkard View Post
Alright all, need to settle an argument between teammates.

In a Road Race, 90k or so, with 40 riders and 3 teams with 6 or more riders, what is the best tactic for a smaller team with 3 or 4 riders? Some specifics:
  • My team has a rider who is a breakaway guy, one sprinter, and a couple of guys happy to hang in the pack
  • 2 of the large teams really only share a jersey and don't ride as a team
  • 1 team rides with a plan, and usually wants to keep everything together until the final hill with 2k to go
  • This race will split on the second lap (big hill at the turnaround) and the final group is usually about 20 or so riders
I am the breakaway guy, and want to go up the road 1/2 way through the first lap (20k in), hopefully with another rider or two and commit to sticking it. My teammates want to sit in the pack, never see the front, and sprint at the end.

What is the better tactic?
You go up the road and let your sprinter sit in while everyone else chases.
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Old 03-02-19, 02:56 PM
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Do both. That's the tactic. You up the road with your sprinter in the field.

That's just about every tactic for every team ever.
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Old 03-02-19, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by steven.burkard View Post
Alright all, need to settle an argument between teammates.

In a Road Race, 90k or so, with 40 riders and 3 teams with 6 or more riders, what is the best tactic for a smaller team with 3 or 4 riders? Some specifics:
  • My team has a rider who is a breakaway guy, one sprinter, and a couple of guys happy to hang in the pack
  • 2 of the large teams really only share a jersey and don't ride as a team
  • 1 team rides with a plan, and usually wants to keep everything together until the final hill with 2k to go
  • This race will split on the second lap (big hill at the turnaround) and the final group is usually about 20 or so riders
I am the breakaway guy, and want to go up the road 1/2 way through the first lap (20k in), hopefully with another rider or two and commit to sticking it. My teammates want to sit in the pack, never see the front, and sprint at the end.

What is the better tactic?
I think we all agree you should go up the road, the question is when. If you go up too early, everyone is still fresh and will chase you back.

I'd say go after the race splits up on the 2nd lap.

What was the general dispute on the team anyway?
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Old 03-02-19, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Do both. That's the tactic. You up the road with your sprinter in the field.

That's just about every tactic for every team ever.
Once you get up the road, the other two guys can try to make sure the break stays away. Someone from one of the other teams is going to miss the break and be desperate to bridge up. One of your guys (not the sprinter) needs to get on the wheel of the wannabe bridger and force him to sit up or tow him up to the break. Most of those guys will sit up if they don't get away clean.
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Old 03-02-19, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
I think we all agree you should go up the road, the question is when. If you go up too early, everyone is still fresh and will chase you back.

I'd say go after the race splits up on the 2nd lap.

What was the general dispute on the team anyway?
Not a dispute but more of a difference of opinion.

That is perfect, and you are totally right, on the first lap the only organized team won't let anyone get away. The question I would ask is if the top of the hill on the second lap is a little late. About 20k to the finish and everyone still there will be pretty motivated.

Maybe go just before the downhill?
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Old 03-03-19, 09:47 AM
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I've never done a race where I could just pick where the break would stick. Just try multiple spots, at multiple times.
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Old 03-03-19, 12:13 PM
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yeah. I find it's best to have a plan that's a bit broader; i.e. long break, short break. It isn't always up to you. The winning move goes up the road you best be there, otherwise you're carefully crafted plan doesn't mean much.
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Old 03-04-19, 09:09 AM
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I have no experience in this other than following race video and results for the pro team that our company sponsors, as a fan.

They're not big/strong enough to ever get more than one guy in the break. I notice that guy tends to do fine/well if the other teams only have one guy also each. If a team gets more than one, it can be a lot tougher.

Just seems that way from watching the replays and results as I pull for those guys.
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Old 03-04-19, 12:43 PM
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What's a "Road Race"? We don't have those here. Is it anything like these "Gravel Events" that are all over the place now?

Sorry - just came here to post that and generally not be helpful and lament my life and the current position of this sport.
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Old 03-04-19, 04:22 PM
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I find that the best tactics usually belong to the strongest guys...

There are two guys around here that have the tactics just nailed... or so it would seem were it not for the fact that they're both heads and shoulders above everyone else in the field.

It's pretty easy to put a guy in the break, bridge up to the break, drop the other dudes, then have your sprinter win the field sprint if you're just that much better than everyone.

Case in point: Hincapie went to this local amateur stage race in GA last weekend and went 1-7 in the opening crit stage. The year prior to that they went 1-5, so I guess they were keen on improvement. That's not really tactics at that point. That's just being the boss.
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Old 03-04-19, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
I have no experience in this other than following race video and results for the pro team that our company sponsors, as a fan.

They're not big/strong enough to ever get more than one guy in the break. I notice that guy tends to do fine/well if the other teams only have one guy also each. If a team gets more than one, it can be a lot tougher.

Just seems that way from watching the replays and results as I pull for those guys.
Which team?
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Old 03-05-19, 10:06 AM
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my road race tactic is to not do road races
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Old 03-05-19, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I find that the best tactics usually belong to the strongest guys...

There are two guys around here that have the tactics just nailed... or so it would seem were it not for the fact that they're both heads and shoulders above everyone else in the field.

It's pretty easy to put a guy in the break, bridge up to the break, drop the other dudes, then have your sprinter win the field sprint if you're just that much better than everyone.

Case in point: Hincapie went to this local amateur stage race in GA last weekend and went 1-7 in the opening crit stage. The year prior to that they went 1-5, so I guess they were keen on improvement. That's not really tactics at that point. That's just being the boss.
I think it was Stetina who said, "It's easy to look smart if you're strong."
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Old 03-07-19, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tobukog View Post
I think it was Stetina who said, "It's easy to look smart if you're strong."
Wayne or Peter or Pops?

Slow in the corner....
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Old 03-08-19, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Wayne or Peter or Pops?

Slow in the corner....
Pops. Or it could have been Thurlow. It was one of them...
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Old 03-08-19, 08:05 AM
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Maybe try your attack after the field splits, sometime in the second lap. It might mean going for it on the descent, if the field splits up the hill. Breaking away is no easy thing. Beautiful when it works. A lot depends on the luck of who goes with you and what they want to do, and that's mostly out of your control.
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Old 03-08-19, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by tobukog View Post
Pops. Or it could have been Thurlow. It was one of them...
I'm going Wayne. He was showing my kid these attack techniques where you get your spin up, kinda go to the front overlooking your shoulder like you are checking out the pack - and attack from there. Basically that when you are looking backwards everyone will let you have a few more bike lengths. The spin is for the acceleration.
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Old 03-10-19, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by steven.burkard View Post
Alright all, need to settle an argument between teammates.

In a Road Race, 90k or so, with 40 riders and 3 teams with 6 or more riders, what is the best tactic for a smaller team with 3 or 4 riders? Some specifics:
  • My team has a rider who is a breakaway guy, one sprinter, and a couple of guys happy to hang in the pack
  • 2 of the large teams really only share a jersey and don't ride as a team
  • 1 team rides with a plan, and usually wants to keep everything together until the final hill with 2k to go
  • This race will split on the second lap (big hill at the turnaround) and the final group is usually about 20 or so riders
I am the breakaway guy, and want to go up the road 1/2 way through the first lap (20k in), hopefully with another rider or two and commit to sticking it. My teammates want to sit in the pack, never see the front, and sprint at the end.

What is the better tactic?
I'm from Edmonton... I know exactly the race you are referring to. I generally got popped at the top of the KOM each lap but almost always was able to rejoin by around the feed zone. The selective hill is too far from the finish to make it a climbers course.

I'd say the best chance for a small team is for your sprinter to stay close to the front and dig deep on the lap 2 KOM and then you keep him out of the wind until the last corner. The sprint is one of the safer courses IMO.
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Old 03-10-19, 05:06 PM
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Unless you ride for Speed theory. In that case your best bet is to pull the field around really hard like a triathlete and then get dropped.
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Old 03-12-19, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
I'm from Edmonton... I know exactly the race you are referring to. I generally got popped at the top of the KOM each lap but almost always was able to rejoin by around the feed zone. The selective hill is too far from the finish to make it a climbers course.

I'd say the best chance for a small team is for your sprinter to stay close to the front and dig deep on the lap 2 KOM and then you keep him out of the wind until the last corner. The sprint is one of the safer courses IMO.
Ha, TdB is a great race. I like your thoughts, 2 KOM always seems to thin the group, but never selects the winner.
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Old 03-18-19, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Which team?
Novo Nordisk.

Charles Planet always seems to go in the break and go after some intermediate sprint points and does pretty well at that. One day watching them they had more than just him alone in the break and it seemed he was able to win more IS points that day having a teammate there.

Correlation, causation, probability, buyer beware.......all that. Just something I saw. I wonder if he was fresher for the IS points tries each time with a helper.

Some years they let us do a company participation in a fondo or something and buy us the kit from that year. We also get good discounts in the team store as employees, good enough that I'm willing to look like a wannabe racer moving billboard versus paying full retail for some Rapha or other stuff at 3 to 4x the cost.

It almost always gets the comment from the local velominati on the hammer ride. I don't care.
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