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Old 06-18-17, 03:41 PM   #1
Poonjabby
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Bridging Question

I was recently in a small local Crit consisting of only 8 women. 3 from Team A and 5 from Team B (my team). Team A had one very strong Crit racer, one average Crit racer and one who wasn't raced in 5 years but is a very strong tri-athlete. My team has 3 stronger riders, myself incuded, and 2 who were lapped and not in contention.

Mid-way through the race, I got away from the group. At that point there were 3 lapped riders (2 from my team and 1 from Team A-their strongest rider as she blew herself up early on). That left the average rider and triathlete from Team A and my two stronger teammates in the group on the lead lap. There were about 20-25 minutes left in the race.

I was fairly confident I could finish the race without the group catching me. But apparently one of my teammates was trying to bridge up to me. I made a mistake and didn't realize that as I thought she had someone on her wheel, when she didn't. Therefore I drove it home and won the race. My teammate that was trying to bridge got second and my other teammate out sprinted what was left of the group to get third.

A podium sweep! Everyone should be happy, right? However, after the race I was told I should have slowed to allow my bridging teammate to join me. Is that correct or was it just a failed bridge on her part? Or to put it another way, is it the job of the bridger to make sure he/she can go the distance or up to the break away rider to slow up just enough for them to catch on?

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Old 06-18-17, 03:53 PM   #2
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So like, how could you have known for 100% certain that your teammate was solo? And if you thought you could hold it to the line (and you did!) why would you slow down even if a teammate was bridging solo?

The flip side is, let's say you slowed down to let your teammate catch up, the field sees this and it injects pace into their legs. And then you got caught. What sort of complaints would you be hearing then?

You worked with the info you had and you kicked ass. Congrats on the win!
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Old 06-18-17, 04:40 PM   #3
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Agree with TKP. Maybe if it's a teammate you're 100% sure is solo and they've almost made to you with a big gap on the rest, you could hold up for a few secs, but if they're farther back waiting would probably just encourage the rest of the field to chase - not only because your gap on the field is likely to shrink while you wait, but they'd also consider a 2-person break more of a threat than a 1-person break.
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Old 06-18-17, 06:34 PM   #4
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I was told I should have slowed to allow my bridging teammate to join me
By whom? If you are off the front solo your teammate has no real business bridging to you in the first place. A late attack to stay away from the group for 2nd is fine but what is she accomplishing by bridging to her own teammate, except to lower your odds of winning the race? If she does choose to bridge for whatever reason, what happens after that is on her. If you think you can win the race solo, you should just keep doing what you're doing.
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Old 06-18-17, 06:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies so far. It was my teammate (the one trying to bridge) that said I should have slowed. Also that I should have been more aware of the fact that she was trying to bridge solo.

This is only my second year of racing and only my first year racing with a team so still learning a ton about tactics.
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Old 06-18-17, 06:39 PM   #6
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Tell her she should have gone faster.
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Old 06-18-17, 06:45 PM   #7
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Congratulations on the win, by the way!
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Old 06-18-17, 06:59 PM   #8
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Agreed with the others. You take care of yourself up front Sounds like you did just that. If she's so adamant about bridging, she should have pedaled harder. Congrats!
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Old 06-18-17, 07:23 PM   #9
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Maybe this is one of those cases of 'women's racing is different.'
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Old 06-18-17, 07:31 PM   #10
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No way. Fair play is fair play. OP did nothing wrong whatsoever.
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Old 06-18-17, 07:42 PM   #11
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just to pile on - wtf was your teammate doing trying to catch you in the first place??

if anything you should be yelling at her for that.. scratch that - yelling at your own teammate after the race is rarely the right way to go. communicate to her that it doesn't make sense for her to try to bridge to you in the first place.

it sounds like she wanted the win.

anyway congrats on the win!!
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Old 06-19-17, 06:35 AM   #12
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Maybe this is one of those cases of 'women's racing is different.'
I was thinking that too.


And I agree with pretty much everyone else. You aren't supposed to slow down so your teammate could bridge. She needs to go faster.

If you were still in the field, and your teammate off the front was about to lap the field, then yes, it can be helpful to slow some so the teammate who is lapping can catch back on to complete the lapping. But that is an entirely different situation.
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Old 06-19-17, 07:06 AM   #13
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My feelings on this:

I feel that Rule Number One in team bike racing is to always ask the question "Does this situation benefit my team?" "Can I do something here to benefit my team?"

Situation = One rider OTF from the team, Chasing "peloton" is down to a handful of riders. Second rider from same team attempting to bridge.

If I were the rider OTF I would just keep going. That benefits my team the most. The bridging rider either makes it from being strong (and adds to the likelihood of a team 1-2 podium) or they miss out and hopefully get a breather in the group and then try to win the sprint for 2nd. If I slow down, I take a chance that the group not only catches me but that I now have burnt my best matches only to have the balance shift to the other team. Keep my head down and go and say a little prayer for my teammate to be strong and catch me without dragging rivals up.

Ultimately there is nothing wrong with what your teammate did. Did she get second place? If so, then your team had the BEST possible outcome and there is no justifiable complaint. In fact, I cannot reconcile the complaint since I would have done what you did.
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Old 06-19-17, 08:52 AM   #14
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There's no denying she wanted the win for herself. There can be no other reason for her reaction.
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Old 06-19-17, 02:12 PM   #15
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My feelings on this:

I feel that Rule Number One in team bike racing is to always ask the question "Does this situation benefit my team?" "Can I do something here to benefit my team?"

Situation = One rider OTF from the team, Chasing "peloton" is down to a handful of riders. Second rider from same team attempting to bridge.

If I were the rider OTF I would just keep going. That benefits my team the most. The bridging rider either makes it from being strong (and adds to the likelihood of a team 1-2 podium) or they miss out and hopefully get a breather in the group and then try to win the sprint for 2nd. If I slow down, I take a chance that the group not only catches me but that I now have burnt my best matches only to have the balance shift to the other team. Keep my head down and go and say a little prayer for my teammate to be strong and catch me without dragging rivals up.

Ultimately there is nothing wrong with what your teammate did. Did she get second place? If so, then your team had the BEST possible outcome and there is no justifiable complaint. In fact, I cannot reconcile the complaint since I would have done what you did.
But how does bridging to the leader/your teammate Benefit The Team?
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Old 06-19-17, 02:15 PM   #16
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I feel that Rule Number One in team bike racing is to always ask the question "Does this situation benefit my team?"

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Old 06-19-17, 02:22 PM   #17
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Ask Greg Lemond if it was a good idea that he waited on Hinault in 1985.
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Old 06-19-17, 02:23 PM   #18
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You did it right. Nice win.

The general rule I have worked on is that it is up to the bridger to make the bridge. You have no idea who is chasing, how hard they are going, etc. etc. etc. Only worry about who is in your immediate group and what is ahead of you because you can't do anything about what is behind you.
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Old 06-19-17, 02:37 PM   #19
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But how does bridging to the leader/your teammate Benefit The Team?
Well, I think if you make a successful bridge and don't drag anyone with you (then survive) then the team gets an automatic 1-2 podium. That's pretty solid benefit in my view.
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Old 06-19-17, 02:40 PM   #20
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Well, I think if you make a successful bridge and don't drag anyone with you (then survive) then the team gets an automatic 1-2 podium. That's pretty solid benefit in my view.
Yeah, I can understand that point of view.

But in my view, it's only the #1 spot that really matters. Getting more on the podium is nice, and maybe more money, but really it's the win that matters.

Sweeping a podium is neat, but not really all that useful unless there is some kind of team omnium going on.

If anything the #2 rider should be resting up, making everyone else chase and then jump them at the end (since they're presumably tired from chasing). It's also an insurance policy of sorts, in case #1 riders flats or crashes out somehow, or is caught.
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Old 06-19-17, 02:43 PM   #21
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They had #3 rider for that (and she did beat them in the sprint)
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Old 06-19-17, 02:45 PM   #22
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Even so, I don't think #2 did the right thing by trying to bridge, much less yelling at her teammate for winning. #2 was greedy and wanted the win, is all I see in this situation.

Part of being on a team is having faith in your team mate that they can execute the win properly once things are out of your control (i.e. they're up the road).
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Old 06-19-17, 02:50 PM   #23
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I tend to agree. Maybe #2 got OTF at the same time as OP but couldn't match pace and got stuck in no man's land. Or, maybe #2 marked an attack that created a gap but fizzled, and she countered over the top effectively getting OTF without giving advantage to another team. Regardless, wanting OP to slow down makes it sound an awful lot like #2 felt she could win a 2-up sprint.
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Old 06-19-17, 02:51 PM   #24
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I agree with everything you said except the act of bridging (in my view) is perfectly fine. It is clear that the intention behind the action matters though. The way I am presenting it, it's a team-player move. As it turned out in this case, it probably wasn't. Oh well.
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Old 06-19-17, 03:20 PM   #25
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Tell her she should have gone faster.


Tell her she should have set on the front of the group, rode false tempo, and covered anyone else's attempt to bridge.


What she did was not to try to help you win. It was her effort to win herself, without considering any obligation to work for the team.


If she just sits on the front and marks any attempt to bridge, a couple of things can happen. One, you stay away and the team wins.


Two, the other team does try to bridge to you. She sits on; gets a free ride up to you and counter attacks with fresh legs when they catch you. She then has a good chance to win for the team.


Third, no one bridges, and as suggested above she makes a late solo attack after you've comfortably got the win in hand.
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