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Old 05-22-09, 02:59 PM   #1
agoodale
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Crit tactics question

At a local crit last weekend a team managed to sweep the podium by creating a 4 man break with 3 team members and 1 rider from another team. The 3 team members managed to force the other rider off the back after a few laps into the break.

My question is what should/could that lone rider have done to stay in the break?

Watching them in the break it appeared that the odd man out was taking turns pulling. My thought was that he should have just sat on their wheel and conserved energy for their attempts to drop him. Perhaps he also could have attempted to drop their weakest rider off the back. He even could have played around with the break forcing it to fail. Am I correct?

BTW the pack really screwed up by letting the break go. It never should have been allowed to start.
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Old 05-22-09, 03:41 PM   #2
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Yeah if I was the one against 3 I'd keep my nose out of the wind completely, knowing that the attacks are bound to come eventually. Years ago at a long RR I got stuck in that situation and really as the solo guy there's not much you can do about it, unless you're strong enough to ride away from 3 teammates (and I wasn't).

The rest of the teams in the pack screwed up.
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Old 05-22-09, 03:42 PM   #3
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Yeah, you should sit in and watch out for guys taking you off the back with intentional gaps (one of my favorite moves)
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Old 05-22-09, 03:49 PM   #4
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He could have promised to take 4th.
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Old 05-22-09, 03:55 PM   #5
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The rest of you are idiots for letting 3 team members get away. That should never happen.
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Old 05-22-09, 04:03 PM   #6
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Ontario? Were you in the race or one that you watched?

Edit: nevermind, found it.

Possabilities is a pretty strong team...
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Old 05-22-09, 04:11 PM   #7
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Yeah, you should sit in and watch out for guys taking you off the back with intentional gaps (one of my favorite moves)
I was on the sidelines watching this unfold and I thought the lone rider could have easily dropped their weakest member with this move. One of the 3 was really struggling on the start/finish part of the course.

If he managed to drop 1 then your situation would be better. A 2 man break would have been hard to maintain on this course so the other team would have needed you at that point. Right?

I really don't know what the other teams were thinking. They pack actually sat up and stopped chasing about 2 laps into the break. The team with the 1 rider had 5-6 other riders in the pack so maybe they didn't want to chase. But everyone else? Maybe it was too hot?
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Old 05-22-09, 04:16 PM   #8
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Ontario? Were you in the race or one that you watched?

Possabilities is a pretty strong team...
I was watching this one.

They were strong but it wasn't a superhuman effort. The pack just didn't chase. The course had a very strong headwind on the start/finish side and none of the teams in the pack wanted to put in the effort. Breaks in cat 3 4 corner crits are pretty rare in SoCal so maybe they assumed in would come back?
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Old 05-22-09, 04:30 PM   #9
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I was watching this one.

They were strong but it wasn't a superhuman effort. The pack just didn't chase. The course had a very strong headwind on the start/finish side and none of the teams in the pack wanted to put in the effort. Breaks in cat 3 4 corner crits are pretty rare in SoCal so maybe they assumed in would come back?
Except for Dana Point, Chuck Pontius, Long Beach, etc...

There have been a bunch of strong guys who have made breaks last lately. Although I wasn't at any of them

I guess Dana Point wasn't 4-corner was it?
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Old 05-22-09, 05:33 PM   #10
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I was watching this one.

They were strong but it wasn't a superhuman effort. The pack just didn't chase. The course had a very strong headwind on the start/finish side and none of the teams in the pack wanted to put in the effort. Breaks in cat 3 4 corner crits are pretty rare in SoCal so maybe they assumed in would come back?
I love this sentiment. And who who exactly is it that makes the break come back?

Like when nobody chases the 1k winning move. Oh, it never works, right? Well, why doesn't it ever work? You have to be the one that chases it and makes it not work!
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Old 05-22-09, 07:23 PM   #11
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Like when nobody chases the 1k winning move. Oh, it never works, right? Well, why doesn't it ever work? You have to be the one that chases it and makes it not work!
Hey, I'm happy for that one!
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Old 05-22-09, 07:26 PM   #12
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There were a lot of breaks at Ontario last weekend, freaking Bahati and a break lapped the field lol.
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Old 05-22-09, 08:09 PM   #13
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It depends who you are, and what your team has back in the field. If you're flying solo, or are the team's best shot at a result, you make it last as long as possible. Work to get the break established, then sit on once you have a half lap.

Recover. Never, ever hit your redline pulling the break along. If you start pedaling squares and getting sloppy on the bike, if they've been around the block a time or two, that's when it will begin.

Wait for the inevitable.

Do your best to stick around.

If it was my team, we'd chase that down immediately. It would take a person of incredible talent to survive the beating he'd receive at the hands of three 1/2s. If for some reason our guy didn't know to sit on after a certain point, our team manager would politely inform him that he is not to work in the break, both over the radio and every time they came around.

Meanwhile, we'd put our 16 inch guns on the front, and line it out. Or, get into some good chase groups, and drive them up to the break as fast as possible.
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Old 05-23-09, 05:38 AM   #14
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When someone (or "someones") is really, really, really strong, there are no tactics if they go away.

I don't know the three teammates in the break, their strengths, weaknesses, etc. They sound really, really, really strong though, strong enough to get all of them off the front (very unusual for a team to be that much stronger than their competition).

When it comes to pure unadulterated strength, there isn't much you can do against the rider once they've broken free of the field.

For example, a solo rider, no teammates (but with "friends in the field") dominated the 3-4 Bethel Series last year. The results don't illustrate just how strong this guy was. He would sit for laps on end at the front, chasing breaks down. Then he'd counter, and we'd all grovel for a lap or two to keep him in check. Finally, after maybe 3-4 chases and 3-4 counters/attacks, he'd launch yet another attack and ride away from the field. By himself. With all sorts of strong riders trying to bring him back.

What's the tactic for controlling just that one guy?

Based on the rest of the field's much lower strength, we had to sit on him every time he tried to go, not pull through, and make him chase everything. We did that (the field, collectively), and after 30 minutes of really, really hard work, he still soloed away a couple times.

If we managed to keep him in check, he'd place in the field sprint anyway.

The guy was a monster. Then, the week after the Series ended, he won Battenkill.

In our case the field typically averages 26 mph in a race, maybe 24 mph in stronger winds. If he can attack a strung out field (going 30s on the straights, low 20s on the hill), get a 20 second gap, and then maintain, say, 27 mph on his own, he's won. Period. End of game. Nothing to do for the field. There simply weren't enough strong guys left to maintain a high pace on all sections of the course - we'd have to do mid 30s on the flats and still average some mid-20 mph pace up the short hill.

In a second example, as a warm up to Tour de Georgia, a local domestic pro team showed up with one of their ToG riders. He went to the front and rode really fast. After one lap there were 4 P123s left on his wheel, guys who normally figure in the mix of all the races in the area. After two laps there was one, a Cat 1 who'd placed 3rd at Elite Nationals one year, and usually a very good break rider. After three laps the pro was alone.

He rode them off his wheel.

He lapped the field quickly, then chatted with his teammates for the rest of the race. In ToG he went on a 100k or something long like that solo break to get some TV time.

Strong riders > Tactics.

This is why I think it's pretty easy for a Johan Bruyneel to be a 'good director'. With a Lance backed by 2-3-4-5 riders that can pull up mountains (!), it's hard to lose the Tour. I was very curious what would happen the year after Lance retired and the 2-3-4-5 riders supporting him would have to ride for themselves. What happened? Nothing. They all got shelled. Bruyneel's 'brilliant directing' couldn't do a thing without an insanely strong rider. Bruyneel, it seems, is a good director/tactician when he has all the cards. When he doesn't, he's just like anyone else - waiting for that one great rider to sign for his team.

cdr
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Old 05-23-09, 10:31 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
When someone (or "someones") is really, really, really strong, there are no tactics if they go away.

I don't know the three teammates in the break, their strengths, weaknesses, etc. They sound really, really, really strong though, strong enough to get all of them off the front (very unusual for a team to be that much stronger than their competition).

When it comes to pure unadulterated strength, there isn't much you can do against the rider once they've broken free of the field.

For example, a solo rider, no teammates (but with "friends in the field") dominated the 3-4 Bethel Series last year. The results don't illustrate just how strong this guy was. He would sit for laps on end at the front, chasing breaks down. Then he'd counter, and we'd all grovel for a lap or two to keep him in check. Finally, after maybe 3-4 chases and 3-4 counters/attacks, he'd launch yet another attack and ride away from the field. By himself. With all sorts of strong riders trying to bring him back.

What's the tactic for controlling just that one guy?

Based on the rest of the field's much lower strength, we had to sit on him every time he tried to go, not pull through, and make him chase everything. We did that (the field, collectively), and after 30 minutes of really, really hard work, he still soloed away a couple times.

If we managed to keep him in check, he'd place in the field sprint anyway.

The guy was a monster. Then, the week after the Series ended, he won Battenkill.

In our case the field typically averages 26 mph in a race, maybe 24 mph in stronger winds. If he can attack a strung out field (going 30s on the straights, low 20s on the hill), get a 20 second gap, and then maintain, say, 27 mph on his own, he's won. Period. End of game. Nothing to do for the field. There simply weren't enough strong guys left to maintain a high pace on all sections of the course - we'd have to do mid 30s on the flats and still average some mid-20 mph pace up the short hill.

In a second example, as a warm up to Tour de Georgia, a local domestic pro team showed up with one of their ToG riders. He went to the front and rode really fast. After one lap there were 4 P123s left on his wheel, guys who normally figure in the mix of all the races in the area. After two laps there was one, a Cat 1 who'd placed 3rd at Elite Nationals one year, and usually a very good break rider. After three laps the pro was alone.

He rode them off his wheel.

He lapped the field quickly, then chatted with his teammates for the rest of the race. In ToG he went on a 100k or something long like that solo break to get some TV time.


Sandbaggers > Tactics.

This is why I think it's pretty easy for a Johan Bruyneel to be a 'good director'. With a Lance backed by 2-3-4-5 riders that can pull up mountains (!), it's hard to lose the Tour. I was very curious what would happen the year after Lance retired and the 2-3-4-5 riders supporting him would have to ride for themselves. What happened? Nothing. They all got shelled. Bruyneel's 'brilliant directing' couldn't do a thing without an insanely strong rider. Bruyneel, it seems, is a good director/tactician when he has all the cards. When he doesn't, he's just like anyone else - waiting for that one great rider to sign for his team.

cdr

There ya go
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Old 05-23-09, 11:47 AM   #16
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hah. True. I should point out that the guys that dominated at Bethel (at least the 3s) pretty much all upgraded shortly after the Series ended. I think 3 or 4 Cat 3s upgraded this year to 2.

However, if you're a Cat 1-2 (was the original question related to a P123 race?), and there's a Cat 1-2 that's just killing everyone, there isn't anything to do - if he's not a pro, he's a Cat 1, and he can go out and dominate 1-2 races all year and be in the right. Or, in the case of a pro dominating... nothing you can do but try and control him/her.

cdr
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Old 05-23-09, 12:28 PM   #17
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At a local crit last weekend a team managed to sweep the podium by creating a 4 man break with 3 team members and 1 rider from another team. The 3 team members managed to force the other rider off the back after a few laps into the break.

My question is what should/could that lone rider have done to stay in the break?

Watching them in the break it appeared that the odd man out was taking turns pulling. My thought was that he should have just sat on their wheel and conserved energy for their attempts to drop him. Perhaps he also could have attempted to drop their weakest rider off the back. He even could have played around with the break forcing it to fail. Am I correct?

BTW the pack really screwed up by letting the break go. It never should have been allowed to start.
I didn't see the race. I do know that 4-7th places were all junior riders on junior gears. If they were the only ones interested in racing besides the 3 guys up the road, they were at a definite disadvantage in the tailwind section.
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Old 05-23-09, 04:24 PM   #18
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I think it's rare to find a team that even knows how to drop that 4th rider.
So many times, I've seen it end in the exact opposite.
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