Race scenario question for the experianced racers


Active Member
Nov 25, 2010
Ok, so far this year the finish for all of my races has been less than exciting, at least for me. 1st race was just a club race and a 4 man break, myself included strolled across the line together. 2nd race, end of race attack from the guy on the front led to him winning and me getting 6th. 3rd race, the finish was on a climb and a wrong gearing selection led to me grinding my way to a 4th place finish. The moment that I am waiting for is the race where everything works out and I find myself 6 or so back with 1k left. Although the more I think about this scenario the more I wonder, just what would I do?

So with 1k left you find yourself 6 back in a group of 15-20 contenders, you have limited knowledge of their abilities. You are a decent sprinter, but this also makes you good at a fast hard attack where you may be able to get away with 1k left and hold it out until the end. So what do you do? You still have a match or two left, just enough for a hard sprint or a hard attack. Do you hope everything holds together until the end where hopefully you will find yourself in the right position to give everyone a good go in a sprint? Do you try to find the right moment and go out with a hard attack and try to hold out until the finish? Or do you wait until someone else trys a last minute attack and try to grab their wheel using them to get you off of the front?

I would be interested to here what some of the more experienced racers would do in this situation and what variables they would consider when making their decision.

An old Guy

Active Member
Feb 12, 2011
Since this is the end of the race ...

I would have watched the guys around me for the whole race. I would know a lot about them.

Last mile or so. There are no riders who are better sprinters then me. I got rid of them long ago. No need to take guys who can out sprint you to the line. No wheel suckers either. Those guys were gone early.

I know all the guys around me. They helped me during the race. To get rid of the guys who could out sprint me. To get rid of the wheel suckers. To help close the gaps.

No need for me to win the race. All the guys around worked with me. Let them fight it out.

Opps. There goes the finish line. Seems no one contested the finish. We had worked together. We were all happy.


Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2006
There is no easy answer to your question since it's always a gamble. Go early and don't surprise everyone and they'll grab your wheel and take the free ride or chase you down in the final meters. Go late and you lose your clean line to finish or lose a few bike lengths that you can't recover, try to be too cagey and get swarmed and boxed in.... No sure way to play it unless you have a well organized team or are much much stronger than the rest of your competition but then you'll upgrade soon and be faced with the same gamble in higher cat races.

FWIW, I think most folks wait too long to make their finishing move and my best results have come when I think I'm going too soon. I'm not talking about a suicide flyer with a full kilo to go, more about going at 300 meters rather than 200 meters or perhaps 250 instead of 150. On typical crit courses the winning move very often goes on the backstretch before turn 3 on a four corner course. A jump back there that's hard but not quite maximal opens up a hole, hard riding into the final turn puts you on the final straight with a small gap and then you lay down whatever sprint you can muster. Wait for that final stretch and it's easy to get boxed, get stuck behind a slow wheel out of the final bend or worse get stuck behind a strong rider who just doesn't launch a sprint as others go up the inside or outside, it happens a lot to those that wait.

But if you know the field is fast and you're around good sprinters with previous success then it's probably wiser to grab the most likely wheel and fight to hold that position for a big jump at the finish.

BTW, if it's not a small group but a big field coming to the finish and it slows down even the tiniest bit then you'd better go hard and be williing to stick your nose in the wind or you'll get swarmed everytime as all the folks in the middle and back suddenly see an opportunity to advance at the finish. That's no time to be cagey if you're riding without team support, get up front fight hard to keep the speed up and to hold a forward position and use whatever sprint you have left. It's that or get swarmed by a dozen or more riders and cross the line wishing you'd had a big enough hole to actual try to sprint. Swarms at the end suck but if you're strong and riding up front as the end approaches it's up to you to keep yourself up there and in contention to sprint.

Sprinting is a tough and often random game but it can tons of fun and realistically many races come down to a bunch sprint so it's worth working on.

Good luck,


Oct 6, 2003
Hard call since you don't have all the information of who you are up against but I would gamble on grabbing onto that wheel you are talking about. If you are the two best in tha pack you may have a shot if he doesn't jump too soon.