Fastest line is brake as late as you can, wide, center apex, then wide. Classic racing line. That's a moving target though if you've got folks there with you, there's a pothole on the line, Etc. Key is always to maximize your exit speed.
stay in the front. get there early to practice. watch out for other people's pedal strikes. they will happen.
my guess is that people will try to pass on the inside middle to back of the pack. if that starts to happen, you can try to slide to the inside. you lose entry speed (have to pedal harder out of the turn), but will retain position.
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You at the front, want to stay at the front, going fast? Take the inside line going into the turn, apex almost immediately, and scrub off tons of speed as you avoid hitting the outside curb. This amplifies the accordion effect which effectively jacks up everyone behind you. Works if you are feeling good, have a good jump, the field is strung out, and everyone is working hard. If you "attack" on the straight it pulls everyone onto your wheel and you can do this pretty easily. You have to go fast else other guys will take the ideal line and pass you. However, if you take your un-ideal line, you can dictate how the field goes through the turn.
You at the front, dying, and need to drop back a few? Start your turn early, but not as early as the first example, apex maybe the 2nd 5th of the turn, and use the amplified accordion effect to let a few relatively slow moving riders in front of you. You won't have to jump as hard and you'll still be up there (depending on your efforts) as the speeds top out on the next straight.
You at the front, want to stay at the front, not going as fast? Take that "ideal" line in that car game picture above. Accordion effect still happens but the first 10 or 15 riders behind you won't be severely hurt - they'll be able to use your somewhat wimpy default line to their advantage. By taking this line you put no extra load on the other racers' shoulders.
Near the front? Read the above and decide what you want to do. A little bit of effort to move up with 20-30-50 meters to go can pay huge dividends as everyone scrambles out of the turn following your line.
At the back, dying, trying to save energy? Coast off the back (in turns that go 18 mph, I'll coast 75-100+ meters before the turn), stay extremely wide, and turn as late as possible, even later than the car picture. You'll come up on the accordion'ed to death riders quickly, and if you can exit parallel to the inside curb, you can accelerate as your accordion'ed buddies wait to straighten a bit more before they accelerate. You can pass 5-10-20 riders if you want, and let them slip by you on the following straight as you desperately conserve energy.
In the middle? Go to the rider in front of you's outside, cut in a bit (so you'll move in about 18-24 inches relative to the rider in front, from 6-12 inches to their outside to 6-12 inches to their inside, and if you keep close, it'll be hard to accuse you of not holding a straight line) so you can clear that rider's inside. You should be able to accelerate earlier, and since everyone is going slow, it won't matter that you're not on an ideal line.
Variations to the above based on defensive moves (i.e. countering the first 3 scenarios above), then countering the counters, etc. It's like chess on wheels which is why tactics in cycling is so fascinating.
Great advice, cheers all I plan to be at the front early on, or very close to the front. I'm certain that this crit will become incredibly strung out due to how twisting the circuit is. That's how it played out last year anyway.
cdr - epic, informative post as always. When is the book coming out?
On a course like this, if you ever get caught in the pack and stuck in the slinky yo-yo effect, immediately sprint around people on the straight and get in the top-10 so you can preserve your speed around the 180. Saves you a tonne of energy or else you'll get worked and burned out.
Also easier if you find an skillful tactical guy who can stay near the front and just follow around. The terrain you must conquer is not the course, it's the other guys in the pack.