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  1. #1
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    Tactics - what to do when you lap the field

    Yesterday I was part of what ended up being a 7 person break. Composition was me, 2 from one team including supafast sprinter (former olympian); 2 from another team - 1 is good TTer, other unknown; pro mtber who is supa fast sprinter; solo guy who is supafast sprinter.

    Knowing that 3 in the break were faster than me, my plan was to work until the break was secure, then sit on a bit to respond to the certain attacks and then counter with my own to try and at least narrow it down to something more manageable size wise, or at least get us to the line with rubbery legs. Then, with maybe 6 laps to go, we were on the field, and we ended up back in it, and the 3 sprinters kind of slowed up and sat on, so I tried to go through the field and go at it alone. Unfortunately, people in the field that were lapped started shutting things down, so I never got away again, and neither did anyone else. I attacked with 2 to go and ended up swarmed in a field sprint and got 6th overall. Supafast sprinters went 1,2,3. TTer 4, unknown 5th. Disappointing to get 6th from a 7 person breakaway. I think I kind of **** the bed when we lapped the field.

    I would like to make this a good learning experience (as I plan to do this again!) and get some tactical critique from the board. Sorry if the situation isn't clear, I was trying to keep it as succinct as possible.

  2. #2
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I've been in breaks that lapped the field more times than I can count. Solo, 2-up, 3-up, more. I was in a six man break that lapped the field twice. How you handle it depends on who is in the break with you and what your strengths are.

    You got it right by knowing who the sprinters were who could beat you, but you didn't get that they, or their teammates, would want it to come down to a sprint for the win. If you cannot beat them, then don't try and burn people off your wheel to eliminate the threat. Watch the break mates like a hawk and cover any move that includes them. Save up whatever you have left for a kilo or other appropriate effort, launch at a course feature, put your head down, and commit. If you get swarmed so be it. If it works, you win.

  3. #3
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I was in a 3 man break that lapped the field three times. I'm loud and obnoxious to get the guys to keep going through the field and I yell at the field not to be ******bags and let us go through without tag alongs. Use shame.

    At other times I've held my group back from joining the field and said "hey, let's sit back here and go nuts on the last lap".

    If you're stuck in the field treat it like everyone's in your race. Know if you go folks who were with you will cover. People who got lapped will suddenly grow a pair that they lacked earlier and pretend they are bike racers.

    The one time I ended up lapped I let the guys have their race. Two guys sat on after being lapped and came up to me after I had been out solo chasing the lappers for most of the race. They actually sprinted me for 4th.

    Anyone who's lapped and starts "working" for his teammate is small time, same for the people who jump on the people coming through and take a tow up to people who were actually racing their bikes.

    Small time.

    Don't get me started.

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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  5. #5
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    When you get within sight of the back of the field, attack and bridge across solo, or at least make it tough on the others to get to the back of the field.

    I disagree with Ex, though: it's perfectly legit for teammies to work for their guy when the field gets lapped.
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  6. #6
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Ex, it is a perfect tactic in a good team to get a rider off, let him lap the field and then work for said rider to finish it off. Done it many times, from both side of that fence. I've sat at the back of the peloton with other teams waiting for our riders to catch back on, then it's drill them to the front and go with whatever game plan feels best at that point. I'm sure you know this.

    Or were you referring to dropped riders from the pack that start helping their teammates as they are coming up from behind? Then yes, that would be small time. Punishable by beratement (is that a word?)


    MDcat5, When you realized that the break was sticking, stop working! The last thing you needed was to lap the field. If the others want to, let them drive back into the pack, with you taking the free ride and then choose your best option from there. I have held my breakaways back from lapping a few times, knowing my chance of victory was better against a few guys than trusting in winning after coming through the field. Especially as a mediocre field-sprinter and usually not having trustworthy teammates to know what the hell to do when I get there.

  7. #7
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
    MDcat5, When you realized that the break was sticking, stop working! The last thing you needed was to lap the field. If the others want to, let them drive back into the pack, with you taking the free ride and then choose your best option from there. I have held my breakaways back from lapping a few times, knowing my chance of victory was better against a few guys than trusting in winning after coming through the field. Especially as a mediocre field-sprinter and usually not having trustworthy teammates to know what the hell to do when I get there.
    Sound advice. It's pretty much what I employ now when the situation presents (see below).

    P1/2 or Pro stuff I don't have heartburn with lapped riders working because it's actually tactical as you pointed out, and it's a different race with different stakes.

    But I've had to deal with pack fodder suddenly playing Pro Racer enough in "open" or 1-4 races enough that I'd be more than happy to have it in the rulebook to pull anybody that gets lapped, myself included in any race other than a 1/2.

    And I figure you ought to respect the effort that you didn't make. I've been outnumbered 10:1 by one team or worse on several occasions, lapped the field with 2 of those guys then had the 8 backmarkers and some of the other turd blossoms start throwing elbows and blocking during the finish. Which is why I now default to the above strategy.

    If getting pulled was the case maybe the field would start racing their bikes instead of sitting on their hands waiting for the actual race to come back around while they soft pedal and discuss unicorns.

    Maybe I need to get lapped more. I dunno. And it screws up the video of me winning when I lap the field solo and people jump back on my wheel to the finish line.

    Which is really what matters.
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 06-03-13 at 01:26 AM.

  8. #8
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
    Ex, it is a perfect tactic in a good team to get a rider off, let him lap the field and then work for said rider to finish it off. Done it many times, from both side of that fence. I've sat at the back of the peloton with other teams waiting for our riders to catch back on, then it's drill them to the front and go with whatever game plan feels best at that point. I'm sure you know this.

    Or were you referring to dropped riders from the pack that start helping their teammates as they are coming up from behind? Then yes, that would be small time. Punishable by beratement (is that a word?)


    MDcat5, When you realized that the break was sticking, stop working! The last thing you needed was to lap the field. If the others want to, let them drive back into the pack, with you taking the free ride and then choose your best option from there. I have held my breakaways back from lapping a few times, knowing my chance of victory was better against a few guys than trusting in winning after coming through the field. Especially as a mediocre field-sprinter and usually not having trustworthy teammates to know what the hell to do when I get there.
    That's actually illegal now, thankfully.

  9. #9
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post

    If getting pulled was the case maybe the field would start racing their bikes instead of sitting on their hands waiting for the actual race to come back around while they soft pedal and discuss unicorns.
    This actually happened to us once.
    Had an out-of-state official as chief ref that weekend.
    This crit course was a known "lapping" course (short and technical).
    Every major team had their player(s) in the break. Group of 9 racers I believe.
    Many from my team and other break representatives sat at back of 60 strong peloton waiting for our mates, as they were coming back around to us.
    Just as they were getting near, the official pulls the entire peloton!
    We were livid, and tried to explain bike racing tactics 101, which we use often.
    Seriously???
    It was almost laughable, but nobody laughed.
    Funny thing was, 4 guys had left peloton just before that and he let them stay in the race.
    They were literally 5" ahead of us.

    Anyway, it's the only time such ridiculousness has ever happened.
    Hell, nowadays with chip timing we've been letting single and small-group lapped riders stay in the race (which is against everything holy in this sport, except for maybe women and cat5's).

    I've got lots of lapping stories. From both angles. It's part of crit racing and a useful tactic.

  10. #10
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    These are problems I wish I had.

  11. #11
    Senior Member island rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
    This actually happened to us once.
    Had an out-of-state official as chief ref that weekend.
    This crit course was a known "lapping" course (short and technical).
    Every major team had their player(s) in the break. Group of 9 racers I believe.
    Many from my team and other break representatives sat at back of 60 strong peloton waiting for our mates, as they were coming back around to us.
    Just as they were getting near, the official pulls the entire peloton!
    We were livid, and tried to explain bike racing tactics 101, which we use often.
    Seriously???
    It was almost laughable, but nobody laughed.
    Funny thing was, 4 guys had left peloton just before that and he let them stay in the race.
    They were literally 5" ahead of us.

    Anyway, it's the only time such ridiculousness has ever happened.
    Hell, nowadays with chip timing we've been letting single and small-group lapped riders stay in the race (which is against everything holy in this sport, except for maybe women and cat5's).

    I've got lots of lapping stories. From both angles. It's part of crit racing and a useful tactic.
    Chip timing in a crit? Is that a new thing? I understood it wasn't done. The idea being that the win was when the front of the tire crossed, so there was no value to a chip somewhere else on the bike or rider. Plus the timing matt they used could cause trouble at 50 mph in a sprint finish. Unless it is just to keep everyone honest.
    "I think drivers become like dogs when they see a bicycle fly by at 40mph. Instinctively, they just want to give chase, catch them, and eat them." - Papa Tom

  12. #12
    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    I've done a few crits with chip timing.

    And yes, they can be problematic. In one crit, the mat didn't pick up the winner and left her off the results, even though she crossed well ahead of the field.

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    please, this thread is about race tactics not chip timing

  14. #14
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    We use chip timing for everything.
    This is the 21st century.

  15. #15
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by island rider View Post
    Chip timing in a crit? Is that a new thing? I understood it wasn't done. The idea being that the win was when the front of the tire crossed, so there was no value to a chip somewhere else on the bike or rider. Plus the timing matt they used could cause trouble at 50 mph in a sprint finish. Unless it is just to keep everyone honest.
    Unlikely unless downhill...
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  16. #16
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    These are problems I wish I had.
    Same here. Kind of an advanced 'First World Problems' sort of a thing.

  17. #17
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    These are problems I wish I had.
    I know, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Unlikely unless downhill...
    AKA my worst nightmare of a finish. I've started contemplating getting a cassette with an 11 cog lately, since downhill finishes are all the rage in Tennessee races. Of course, I'm moving to New England in 6 weeks, things might be a bit different there.

  18. #18
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    We use 11s in NE as well.

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    I know, right?



    AKA my worst nightmare of a finish. I've started contemplating getting a cassette with an 11 cog lately, since downhill finishes are all the rage in Tennessee races. Of course, I'm moving to New England in 6 weeks, things might be a bit different there.
    I think I hit 46 in a sprint a couple years ago pushing a 53x11
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    We use 11s in NE as well.
    I'm sure. I'm being a bit facetious.

  21. #21
    Senior Member island rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    please, this thread is about race tactics not chip timing
    Mea Culpa
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  22. #22
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Ex, if you don't like the idea of riders who draft and save energy, you should consider doing time trials.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    I've had experience with this as both the lapper, and as part of the main field, once lapped.

    In the first instance, I didn't have any teammates who could help me out. Another team held the race together until a lap to go, when all hell broke loose. Hopped on a string of dudes moving forward, and ended up getting 4th, I think.

    In the other, I had two teammates, two dudes from Mountain Khakis or whatever they were back in the day, and two hangers-on lap the field. Our entire team went to the front once they were back in the field and drove it as hard as we could for the last 5-6 laps. Started popping people off the back end. I blew sky high with a half lap to go after pulling for a good while. Came off the front in a nice wide corner and soft pedalled in. One of our guys ended up taking second by the depth of his rim/tire. I think I had my all time best 10min power there.

    Many moons ago, when I raced on the road. 2009?
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  24. #24
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
    I've had experience with this as both the lapper, and as part of the main field, once lapped.

    In the first instance, I didn't have any teammates who could help me out. Another team held the race together until a lap to go, when all hell broke loose. Hopped on a string of dudes moving forward, and ended up getting 4th, I think.

    In the other, I had two teammates, two dudes from Mountain Khakis or whatever they were back in the day, and two hangers-on lap the field. Our entire team went to the front once they were back in the field and drove it as hard as we could for the last 5-6 laps. Started popping people off the back end. I blew sky high with a half lap to go after pulling for a good while. Came off the front in a nice wide corner and soft pedalled in. One of our guys ended up taking second by the depth of his rim/tire. I think I had my all time best 10min power there.

    Many moons ago, when I raced on the road. 2009?
    Was that in the days of 10 speeds?
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  25. #25
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Indeed.

    Back when I was a civilian who had time for such things as "fun" and before camping, hiking, and shooting turned into "training".
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

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