As a road cyclist, one of the most important skills you can have is the ability to win a bunch sprint. Bunch sprints often decide the outcome of races, so it’s crucial that you learn how to win them. Here are some tips on how to come out on top in a bunch sprint.
Most races end up in a bunch sprint, which usually is exclusively for the sprinters. But it is only a tiny percentage of Training4cyclists.com’s readers are pure sprinters and play a role in the last 200m. So I will now make a short description of how you can win the next bunch sprint – at least in theory.
1. Pick your parents carefully
When it comes to true sprinters, genes play a central role. Sprinters are born to be sprinters. You can turn a slow donkey into a faster donkey, but you can never make a racehorse out of a donkey. This animal is born to be slow, which is also the situation for many non-sprinters.
Natural-born sprinters have a higher percentage of fast-twitch fibers than ordinary people. As a result, road cycling sprinters are not as pure sprinters as you see them in track and field. The sprinters have to carry themselves a long distance before seeing the finish line.
Before you give up, it is essential to note that in many races, stronger riders use the terrain to challenge the sprinters before the final 200m. They attack the hills and make jumps in the crosswinds. That is their chance to beat the sprinters.
So if you already know that the sprinters are faster than you, then you have three options: attack, attack, attack – Got it?”
Save your energy for the final kilometer. Until then, your job is to get through the race as quickly as possible. Many riders who could do reasonably well in a sprint make the mistake of spending energy in desperate attacks because they do not believe in themselves as pure sprinters. So please make your decision before the race and stick to it. If you decide to go for the sprint, do it 100%, otherwise forget about it and make a different strategy.
This means getting near the front of the pack and staying there. The closer you are to the front, the less ground you’ll have to make up in the final sprint. Plus, if you’re at the front, you won’t have to worry about getting caught up in any crashes that may occur further back in the pack.
Sprint is all about position. You will never win a sprint, even the fastest sprinter if you are not in a good place. So keep the wheel of a sprinter you know will be among the first riders. If you are lucky or talented, you may have teammates who will help you get in a good position.
Power is always essential, and for sprinters, power is critical. If you want to make a high-speed sprint, you need to train for it. That means specific sprint and anaerobic endurance training, and maybe also strength training. Once you start your sprint, give it everything you’ve got until you cross the finish line. This is where conserving your energy earlier on will pay off – because now you’ll have enough energy left to give it your all during the final sprint.
5. Practice makes perfect
The best way to become good at winning bunch sprints is to practice, so make sure to do some training sessions specifically for this purpose. You can even enter some local races just for practice and experience purposes without having any real intention of trying to win them overall.