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Discussion Starter #1
Road race tomorrow, 70 miles. Couldn't make the crit today, but my one and only teammate took 1st. He and I will both be racing tomorrow. How should I race in order to not be detrimental to him finishing as high as possible. I know all the basics, such as don't chase if he's in a break, etc. For instance, let's say a couple guys attack, and I'm in position to go with them. Teammate's mid pack and doesn't jump. Should I go with, or would it be better to stay in the pack? And for what reason? I could think of many other scenarios in which I'm not exactly sure would be my best move.

Bottom line, I know the ultimate rule of don't chase your own guy. Common sense. I know I'm only 1 guy, but I want to work for him as much as possible, and I don't want to tilt the odds against him by doing something I shouldn't. On the other hand, I don't just want to sit in the whole time to "play it safe."

Another example: Let's say teammate gets in a break with a few others. They have a good gap on us, and then a couple more guys from the pack try to bridge up. Can I go with, or should I stay back? My senses are telling me if I go, I might drag others since I may make it to the leaders and be able to help my teammate.

Almost seems easier to race unattached. Anyway, thanks for any suggestions.
 

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Chase down breakaways.
If he get in a break and you are at the front slow down your pedaling to help him get away.
If another break trys to bridge up to him, jump with them if you can. If they get away and you don't have a good jump to accelerate up to them don't chase them down because you will just drag the rest of the pack up to them.
If you end up with a breakaway with out your teammate, don't work, just sit on.
Most of all, just have fun and try to make it a 1 - 2 finish for your team!
 

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Chase down breakaways.
Yes... but your teammate should be countering as soon as you complete the chase...

If he get in a break and you are at the front slow down your pedaling to help him get away.
OK... but don't do this in a way that obstructs the group or is dangerous. The main theme is just not to work at all, so the better idea would be to get out of the wind and sit on anything that goes.

If another break trys to bridge up to him, jump with them if you can. If they get away and you don't have a good jump to accelerate up to them don't chase them down because you will just drag the rest of the pack up to them.
Correct -- when anyone goes to bridge to your guy, go with them, but just sit on. When they tell you to pull through, you say "sorry man, my teammate is up the road".

If you end up with a breakaway with out your teammate, don't work, just sit on.
Not exactly... here you want to do some work if necessary with the goal of ensuring that your teammate does the least amount of work.
 

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Get in the first breakaway and bury yourself in it. In the last 1/3 of the race, start sitting on, take extra water for your teammate to help him out if he comes up.

This way, your teammate doesn't have to chase but sits on the attacks behind you. You rest for the finale, and are there to pass him a bottle and set up another counter attack.

This is not original, sorta a Patrick Lefebvre move from Domo/QS etc.
 

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"when anyone goes to bridge to your guy, go with them, but just sit on"

This is not always correct. It's hard to stay away in a cat 4 RR, and he may need help to stay away. If you have confidence in your strength and abilities, the correct decision is to work in a bridging as long as you are not helping drag a very dangerous rider up to your team mate. You should always look to increase your odds up front.
 

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tobu said:
"when anyone goes to bridge to your guy, go with them, but just sit on"

This is not always correct. It's hard to stay away in a cat 4 RR, and he may need help to stay away. If you have confidence in your strength and abilities, the correct decision is to work in a bridging as long as you are not helping drag a very dangerous rider up to your team mate. You should always look to increase your odds up front.
In which case you should sit on until the attackers have worn themselves out and then attack the break like a madman to make it to your teammate's break. IMHO, it's pretty much always bad form to help other riders get to your teammate's break. Always.

But methinks this post is too late to help the Filly. Filly, let us know how it went, eh?
 

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"In which case you should sit on until the attackers have worn themselves out and then attack the break like a madman to make it to your teammate's break. IMHO, it's pretty much always bad form to help other riders get to your teammate's break. Always."

That's beginners strategy and a typical mistake to assume that all bridging attempts are the same. You sit on and attack the bridging move if you are trying to control dangerous riders. On the other hand, you should work with the bridging move if it will increase the probability of victory for your team.

There are many reasons why a rider with a team mate up the road might work in a bridging move.

1) Numbers -- Suppose you have 1 in 4 up front and you are bridging with another rider. 2 in 6 is better than 1 in 4.

2) There isn't enough horsepower to sustain a move off the front with the current combination of riders.

3) Your team mate is quantitatively overmatched up front. Perhaps a different team has numerical superiority and will attack your team mate to death at the finish.

4) Your team mate is overmatched qualitatively. Perhaps he is a strong rider but it's a flat finish, he sprints like a snail, and it doesn't seem like he can get rid of the others. Always ride for the win (unless you're racing for time in a stage race), not for last place in a break.

5) You're bridging with a rider/riders who can't win. There is no harm in bringing up riders who will get shelled later on anyways.

6) You're bridging with riders who will create the right "combination". By helping some other team get up the road, you are possibly recruiting another team to block instead of
chasing the break. It's great for you when a weak rider of a large team bridges across and they decide to block for him since they are following the mantra of "never chase a team mate". Sometimes you even have to let dangerous riders get across because a smart team won't let anything go for real unless they have something significant in it -- so it's a price you pay for having the break succeed.

etc.


Proper team tactics requires an understanding of psychology, an ability to quickly and accurately read the opposition, and an honest assessment of your own resources and options. You have to constanly weigh the plusses and minuses of a 1000 different things (while your brain is deprived of oxygen) and is far more complicated than a simple flow chart of chase, attack, bridge, or block.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Race went OK. From my post, I know it sounds like a Cat 5 newbie question. This was actually a Cat 1/2/3 RR, and I'm a new 3. I know generally how to ride w/ a team, but I wasn't exactly sure on certain situations. I basically wanted to ensure my teammate stayed in contention as much as possible without tiring himself out too much, and I tried to race accordingly. My teammate's a 1, and it was just him and I. We're not really part of a "team," as we belong to a club, and we're the only ones that race 1/2/3. Being only 1 guy, I knew I could only do so much, and any placing he got was really up to him.

There were about 45 riders, around 20 of us were 3's, the rest 1/2's. I started out near the back, and got towards the front rather quickly. I hung out in front of teammate (we'll call him Bob), and within the first 5 miles, someone attacks. Bob tells me to go, so I go. As hoped, the peloton reacts, and we're all back together. No sooner than we regroup, someone counters. Well, if he wanted me to go the first time, I figured he'd want the same again, so I chase. This time a couple other go, and again, the peloton reacts. All together again. Only 15 minutes in, and I'm sucking wind from covering two attacks. I fall back to take a breather. Sitting 40 riders back, it takes a while to move up front again. I probably sat back there for 20 minutes or so. In that time, I think a couple more folks go off the front. Bob does some covering, along with others, but at some point, a break is established, minus Bob. Lap 1 is over. I'm hurting really bad, covering attacks, not much recovery. Lap 2 is over. Yeah, I truly don't remember what happened during lap 2. A lot of heavy breathing and pain, that's about it. Beginning of lap 3, and the break is still away. Dude goes solo OTF to bridge, and I go with. I latch on, and 2 more follow. After a couple of minutes, I look back and see no sign of the peloton. Should I be doing this, I ask myself? I wasn't really working, mainly because I couldn't. After covering about 5 or 6 breaks, I had burned a lot of my matches, and 2 of the guys in our 4-man were pulling a little too hard for me. We bang a right, and start uphill. 1 guy gets spit out the back, and I'm up next, as the other two creep away. With a decent vantage point at the top o' the hill, I can see the peloton about 20 seconds back. I decide to sit up, while the other dropped dude keeps going at it. Dumb move, I think to myself. Turns out it's not the full peloton, but about 12 dudes. Found out later that Bob attacked something fierce on the same hill and split everyone up. I latch on to the back (barely) as they come flying by me and hang on for dear life. We catch the leaders, and I don't think we went below 27 for the last 10 miles. I just sit in and try to recover. I do somewhat, and work my way back to the front to cover some more attacks. A team of 7 are at the front, and they launch some. Me and a few others mark them and keep us together. With 2 miles to go, a guy from the 7-man team launches a solo flyer. No one reacts, and I couldn't...I was shot and cramping in my right hammie. In fact, I sit up and don't contest the sprint. Bob takes 5th or 6th, and I roll in at the back of the group. The rest of the field came in a while later.
 

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It sounds like you were a good team mate and did the best you could. It helps enormously to have a rider cover attacks -- at the pro 1 2 level it's impossible to cover everything yourself and I am sure that you helped your team mate spare his legs. It also seems that you inadvertently executed a classic tactic of sending a minor rider (you) up the road so that you could be of some use later when the leader attacks or the selection is made. If you hadn't gone with the attack, you might have been dropped when Bob forced the selection on the hill, but by being off the front you avoided the brunt of the barrage and were able to help him a little later on.

One thing many riders don't understand is that it is often much easier to climb when you are in a break as opposed to the peloton. When you are in a break, you ride hard on the flats and the hills in a measured effort that is most likely submaximal. When you are in the peloton, you often end up cruising the flats and then going ballistic on the hills.
 
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