Sprint to Win: Page 2 of 3

Training & Health

10/14/2008| 0 comments
by Colin Izzard, CTS Pro Coach

Sprint to Win

Sprinting is often an area of cycling that riders either relish or shy away from.

the group size in the final few kilometers. In either case, a lower gear allows you to respond faster or initiate moves with more snap. Accelerate the gear to a high cadence, then shift and raise the cadence again. Keeping your feet moving fast is the key to being able to accelerate quickly.

Of course, a great acceleration won’t help if your timing is off. As the finish gets closer nervous riders begin to sprint too soon. Only a very strong rider can start a sprint 300 meters or more out and hang on for the win. If the sprint starts very early, try to stay sheltered in the wheels and aim to minimize the energy it takes to do so! When you reach the point where it’s time to open up your sprint, find or make a hole and head for the line.

Drafting strategies change a little in the final kilometer of a race. Out on the open road, riders try to draft directly behind another rider. This technique, however, can allow a rider to get a jump on you in the final 100-200 meters if you don’t instantly react to his or her acceleration. A better way to draft into a sprint is to sit just off the side of another rider. You’ll catch a lot of the draft, but you’ll also have a little more real estate to play with. As a result, when they jump you’re not right behind the wheel in case it comes back at you as they get out of the saddle and you may have a clearer lane to accelerate into.

One final aspect of the technique of sprinting is that of the victory salute. The race does not finish until you cross the line! Too many races have been lost by prematurely throwing hands in the air. Make sure to always finish through the line!!

Training For Speed and Explosive Power

Next comes the training aspect of sprinting. As I mentioned previously; there are those who are genetically better sprinters. But with some specific training, everyone can develop a more powerful kick to the line. There are two critical parts to sprinting: top end speed and explosive power. Top end speed is the highest speed you can attain while sprinting. Explosive power is more a measure of how quickly you can accelerate. The style and type of racing that you engage in will somewhat determine which will become more important. Crit racing will generally require more explosive power due to the number of corners and the relatively short distance from the final corner to the finish line. The sprint at the end of a road race will typically begin from a higher speed, perhaps upwards of 50 kilometers an hour. So here the ability to maintain a high top end speed is critical. Make sure to look at how the bike race or races you are preparing for finish and tailor your sprint work to that.

The first part of any cycling training program should focus on generating a good foundation of

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