How To Win Bike Races | The Art Of The Sprint Lead Out


– [Narrator] Winning bike races. Now there are a few techniques that will help increase the
chances of a team’s victory. Time after time again, pros
like Potocki, Cipollini and Mark Cavendish very
much relied on the lead out. But what is it? – The lead out, delivering the fastest
finisher in your team, or string of riders, to the finish line in the
best possible condition in order to win. – Sounds simple really, but
there’s a lot more to it. So in this video we’re going to explain the intricacies of the perfect lead out. (whooshing) (up beat music) – Over the years, the
lead out has evolved. Gone are the days where
riders are scrapping out solo on the run into the finish line. For over 30 years, the lead out has been the go to method for delivering consistent results for the fastest finishing rider in a team. What is a lead out? A lead out is simply sharing
the increased workload in ascending speed order, to deliver the fastest rider on a team to the finish line in the
best possible position from which to win. (upbeat music) – An often overlooked
aspect of the lead out train is losing pace before the finish. You don’t want to go too
soon, run out of men, and drop your speed. Other teams ‘ll capitalize and
overtake you in the run in. (upbeat music) – And with that in mind, you do need to maintain
control of your effort. There is no need to go full gas the second you first get into the wind. Instead, you should calculate how long your turn’s going to last, how far is it to the finish line, and how many turns
you’re going to be doing. Do a warm up James, time for a change. (upbeat music) – Now you’ll want to really pay attention to the gradient at the finish line. Will it be a short steep incline
or a fast downhill tailwind where you’ll really want
to maintain that high speed to the line. (upbeat music) Riders usually communicate from behind. Nobody has eyes in the back of their head so it’s very important that the sprinter verbally communicates to his lead out train
what he wants carried out. Now this could be a variety of methods, either to stay to the
left, stay to the right, increase speed, or it could be that he comes to the finish line and you just need to go all out. So, you need to listen very carefully to your sprinter about what they want. – [Sprinter] Squeeze it a bit. Go. Go go go. – Go go go. Go. – [Sprinter] Stay on the left. – Left left. – Sprint sprint sprint sprint sprint. (upbeat music) Ideally you’re going to want
your endurance focused riders to play their part further
away from the finish line. And the closer you get
to that finish line, the more faster and sprint oriented you want those riders to be. Ideally, the final lead out rider should be someone that knows
how to handle themselves in a sprint pretty well on their own. Someone that can move around
the bunch efficiently, but also someone that can
create space for two riders, and accelerate for a
prolonged period of time at the end of a race. Judging by this lot, I think
I’m going to have to go Hank, Connor and then Manon
as my final lead out. Let’s get some practice runs. (upbeat music) – Now, length of turns are
important in a lead out. And this’ll depend mostly
on the riders’ ability and the distance to the finish. Stronger riders will
look to do longer turns, and as you get closer to the finish turns will become shorter as
the pace in the race rises. So you want to bear all this in mind when you’re planning when
to start the lead out and when you want to
deliver your sprinter. Right. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] The final acceleration should come within the last 500 meters as the final lead out rider
makes their move for the line. Be careful not to go too hard. Your sprinter may then need to make two abrupt accelerations
which will cost them energy in the final dash for the line. Instead, aim to ramp it up to max speed at the end of your lead out,
swinging off into the wind, sheltering your team mate all the time. It should be a progressive and smooth, but powerful surge to the line. (upbeat music) – Now, critical to knowing which side of the road the
sprint is going to unfold, is knowing the direction of
the wind at the finish line. If the wind is coming from the right, you’re going to want
to be all the way over on the left hand side of the road, and this is because you do
not want to afford any shelter to any other team than just your own. So allow enough space for
your riders, but no more. Left a bit guys. – [Rider] Left a bit. (upbeat music) – It’s ideal if you stay
to the side of the road when practicing the lead out. This will allow you to only
have to look over one shoulder to keep an eye on other teams
that are competing with you. It will also shelter you from the wind and allow you to command the
perfect position on the road. So team, how are we getting on back there? – [Middle Rider] Good. – [Rear Rider] Over to the left more. – Okay. Well, I think we’re getting
there so let’s go and practice. Realtime now guys. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] If you
are in a race scenario, the final 50 kilometers
are going to fly by. At this point it is more than likely you will know everything
about the finish line, the wind direction and the
conditions that await you. Therefore, it’s important
to ride as a unit. You may well need a backup plan. Anyone can puncture, but
if you’re all together, you can be prepared for any
eventuality you will find whilst out on the road. (upbeat music) – Before each race teams
will have a pre-race meeting to discuss the day ahead. Now, this will consist of many
things but it will mostly be, what the terrain will be,
the weather, wind direction. It will also be the team tactics. It’s very important to get this right and that everyone is on the same page. Now, I’ve had a look at the course, and me and my team will be
facing quite a hilly route today and I think it’s best that
Manon be the sprinter, so I’ll just go and tell the group. Okay. So, the plan is Manon’s sprinting today. You two just aren’t going
to get over the climbs, so work for Manon, she’ll
bring home the bacon. – [Rider] Right, plan. Let’s do it. – Okay, let’s go. Break. Let’s go. (upbeat music) – As we all know, bike races
are wildly unpredictable. And in the finale almost
anything can happen. In the pro races this is
easy, you simply radio in and call for plan B. But, we’re not in a pro race, we’re out here in the middle of nowhere, and I’ve punctured in
our run up to the finish. Hank! Hank! Ride for Manon! Don’t think he’s heard. – Now don’t forget to give
this video a big thumbs up. I hope it’s helped you in
your lead out ambitions. – And for more content right now, click through to the link on your screen.