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Strategy Advice?

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Old 02-14-07, 10:28 AM
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zvalmart
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Strategy Advice?

I'm curious to hear what you all think about race strategy(ies) for the following situation:

Only two people from my team are entered in a 50 mile road race (basically flat) with field limit of 50, but there are two other teams that each have 8 riders entered. Other than those two teams, no other team has more than 2 riders. We're both pretty strong riders within this grouping. My teammate is a good sprinter.

Any thoughts on strategies to prevent being crushed by the two larger teams?
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Old 02-14-07, 10:34 AM
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branman1986
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okay, I'm a novice, but I'm bored at work so from what I'm hearing this is what I'd do.

At some point, one of the teams will probably take up pulling the field and trying to stretch it out to prevent attacks. Hopefully you'll see their guys rotate out from pulling and maybe one or two guys on their team not taking pulls or hanging a few places back. I would surmise that he's the sprinter and I'd work to stay on his wheel.

If it looks like nobody is pacemaking, one team might try to send some riders up the road, hopefully one of the other teams will take up the chase. But just be mindful of the other teams and try to stay near the front and hopefully catch onto the rear of one of the attacks. I guess best case scenario is that you get in a break with a rider from each of the big teams.

Okay, that's what I'd do...someone tell me what's wrong with my suggestion
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Old 02-14-07, 10:37 AM
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Well, this kind of thing tends to happen a lot around here, IMO it can work to your advantage.

1. Those two teams are not going to let a break go without one of their guys in it. If you're in the 4s or 5s, they're also going to race negatively once they have a man/men up the road and block. You'll need to either be with the break if it looks strong, or in a good position near the front to bridge up once the break has 30s or so. More time can pass if you're a strong time trialist.

2. If no breaks go, try to size up their sprinter. They may even go out and talk about who they're trying to line up for the sprint. Have your sprinter follow their leadout train and get on their sprinter's wheel. Pull past him with 50 to go and try to pull it out for the win. You should stay up there as well and fight for the top 10 if you're in the 4s.
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Old 02-14-07, 11:53 AM
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If you want to bring your sprinter to the line then you will need to chase all the breaks, latch on and do no work at all while breaking the rhythm trying to drag them back. Sit in if it looks like the field is chasing the break.
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Old 02-14-07, 12:05 PM
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A lot comes down to how well those larger teams can work. You are there, you have to figure that out.

You might want to work with some of the other 2 man teams. Of course take advantage of any situations.

If nothing else has come through as the finish nears and the big teams seem organized then you might want to try for a last minute break. That would be your job. The odds are almost sure that you will get chased down, but it might serve to disorganize the finish enough to give your teammate a chance.
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Old 02-14-07, 12:33 PM
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Bobby Lex
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You don't mention what category you're racing. In the 5's and often in 4's there is very little strategy and/or teamwork. If that holds true for your race, then it won't boil down to team vs. team, it will boil down to rider vs. rider.

OTOH, if there actually is going to be some semblance of teamwork, then you and your teammate are obviously outnumbered and I think that you may benefit from that. You can sit back and let the two teams beat themselves up covering each others' moves while you and your teammate sit on until the definitive break. Make sure you're in that last break and do your best to lead your teammate out in the final sprint.

Flat road races in the 5's and 4's often boil down to a pack sprint finish, regardless of how the various teams are represented.

Bob
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Old 02-14-07, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith99
A lot comes down to how well those larger teams can work. You are there, you have to figure that out.
You might want to work with some of the other 2 man teams. Of course take advantage of any situations.
+1. If the bigger teams do work well, expect a few things. They will spend quite a bit of time throwing riders off the front trying to break up the group. If a break does go off without one of their riders it will most likely be allowed to hang off the front if deemed unlikely to stick. If it starts to show signs of lasting they'll send someone out to reel it back in. Your best bet in this situation is to ride at the front of the pack and see how their tactics are working out. Get into breaks with their (the bigger teams) riders, those are more likely to be allowed to stick. If it comes to a field sprint mark the 1 or 2 riders that have been sitting in for most of the race from the bigger teams. They are the most likely going to be the sprinters.

Of course this all assumes that you know the other teams well. Just because a team has a large presence doesn't mean that they're the team to watch. I've got a race coming up in April and the riders that I'm marking aren't those in the hugely represented teams, but the 4 or 5 that I know were strong last year and are strong this year and who I know can exploit any given opportunity. Those are the guys to both watch out for and the guys to try and become imho.
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Old 02-14-07, 12:41 PM
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Field limit of 50 makes me think this is a Cat 5 race. If that's correct, those 8 guys may be of widely varying abilities, and the odds they'll work together are low. However if the 2 8 person temas really work as a team, they will dictate the race.

Which means 1) a break which only has one of the 8 man teams can likely be let go (use the other 8 man team to real it in.
2) a break with both of the 8 man teams represented has a good chance of sticking, and has to be covered. Either you or your team mate has to be in any such break.

3) Group sprint. Both of the 8 man teams should be trying to set up a train for their sprinter. Figure out which one of the teams is stronger and latch on to their train.


All of this assumes that these teams has the knoweldge, horses, and willingness to execute team strategy.
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Old 02-14-07, 12:49 PM
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marcelinyc
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Have fun, go with every break, pull, attack, sit on wheels and sprint if neccessary.
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Old 02-14-07, 03:30 PM
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Don't pull the pack, attack, or chase any breaks unless both of the 8 man teams are represented. If they both have a man in the break attack like crazy and try to bridge up to the break (or go with any breaks that look to have both teams on board from the start).

If it comes down to a feild sprint don't worry about the two big teams. I have never seen a team in the lower cats (4, 5 or even 3) execute a good lead out train with multiple leader outers. The timing is just too difficult - even the Protour teams flub this quite often and leave their sprinter 400 meters from the line. You have two people, one of which is a good sprinter - that is all you need. Try to get in the top 8 people or so heading into the finish. The lead out guy goes all out from 300 - 400 meters with the sprinter on his wheel, and I mean an all out sprint. The sprinter should be at 95 - 99% just to stay on his wheel. The leader will die at about 200 meters, at which time the sprinter comes around and goes 100% to the line for the win. This takes two people that have good legs coming into the finish (this is where the big teams have the advantage - they need 2 of 8 people rather than 2 of 2 with good legs). If you don't both feel good, then find the wheel of a guy who looks like a sprinter and try to use his wheel for a lead out.

Now get out there and win!
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Old 02-14-07, 05:02 PM
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singswhileridng
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Originally Posted by marcelinyc
Have fun, go with every break, pull, attack, sit on wheels and sprint if neccessary.
yeah i have my first race in two weeks and this is exactly what my strategy is going to be
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Old 02-15-07, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by singswhileridng
yeah i have my first race in two weeks and this is exactly what my strategy is going to be
"...go with every break...attack..."

You're going to burn a lot of matches unneccessarily doing this. My advice: there ought to be a purpose behind every match you decide to burn. If you're considering going off the front or some other energy-draining effort, you better understand why you're doing it and you better have a good reason for doing it.

Bob
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Old 02-15-07, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Bobby Lex
You don't mention what category you're racing. In the 5's and often in 4's there is very little strategy and/or teamwork. If that holds true for your race, then it won't boil down to team vs. team, it will boil down to rider vs. rider.

OTOH, if there actually is going to be some semblance of teamwork, then you and your teammate are obviously outnumbered and I think that you may benefit from that. You can sit back and let the two teams beat themselves up covering each others' moves while you and your teammate sit on until the definitive break. Make sure you're in that last break and do your best to lead your teammate out in the final sprint.

Flat road races in the 5's and 4's often boil down to a pack sprint finish, regardless of how the various teams are represented.

Bob
+1
it's rider vs. rider, these guys aren't a team just guys wearing the same uniform. if they've got 8 guys 4 of them will barely be able to hang on and won't be doing any other tactic than trying not to get dropped. if they do any team tactics it will be at the beginning of the race when the pace is slow and will ride at the front together to look like they know what they're doing, which will fall apart at the first acceleration.
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Old 02-15-07, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by zzzwillzzz
+1
it's rider vs. rider, these guys aren't a team just guys wearing the same uniform. if they've got 8 guys 4 of them will barely be able to hang on and won't be doing any other tactic than trying not to get dropped. if they do any team tactics it will be at the beginning of the race when the pace is slow and will ride at the front together to look like they know what they're doing, which will fall apart at the first acceleration.
Assuming this is a cat 5 race we're talking about, that pretty much sums it up. From my observation, cat 5 races play out in 3 ways. 1) (most frequent) ride around in a ball with folks being dropped out the back until field sprint; 2) a couple riders will ride away from the field, the field doesnt know it and rides around in a ball waiting for the field sprint while the race is up the road; 3) crashfest and chaos. If you can get out of site on this course, you and your teammate should try scenario 2, but assume that scenario 1 is the way the race will unfold, and hope it isnt scenario 3.
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Old 02-26-07, 11:17 AM
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zvalmart
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Thanks for all the advice.

I thought I should post a quick report for you all. The group was 45+ open (i.e. all cats) and the race was Snelling in N. Calif. The two "big" teams were Alto Velo/Webcor and Morgan Stanley.

I stayed near the front and went with any attacks that contained both Webcor and MS. At the start of the 3rd lap I managed to get in the break of the day. One Webcor, one MS, myself and another guy I know to be a strong rider. We worked together for the last two laps and stayed away. Unfortunately my sprint was lacking and I got 4th out of our 4 person break.
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Old 02-26-07, 12:28 PM
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Great job! I think the wisdom of bikeforums served you well:

merlin: "a break with both of the 8 man teams represented has a good chance of sticking, and has to be covered. Either you or your team mate has to be in any such break."

cmh: "If they both have a man in the break attack like crazy and try to bridge up to the break "

daniel: "Get into breaks with their (the bigger teams) riders, those are more likely to be allowed to stick. "

branman: "I guess best case scenario is that you get in a break with a rider from each of the big teams."

snuff: "Those two teams are not going to let a break go without one of their guys in it."

marc: "Have fun, go with every break, pull, attack, sit on wheels and sprint if neccessary."
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