Aero Gains in a Crit

Hi All,

I come from a TT/Triathlon background - of late my triathlons are taking me into the draft legal realm and so I have been racing some crits. I have done a few now, including a 2/3/4 regional A race in the U.K. and thus the field was stacked. What I did notice was the increasing amount of ‘aero’ gear on offer. This included:

Aero wheels
Aero frame
Aero Helmet
Aero socks - the type that dont break UCI rules

I can understand and comprehend the aero gains that are achieved through these items in a TT - having done my own aero testing I know that there is 4w in high end skinsuit for example. I then know that 4w at 40km/h is worth x seconds in a 10 mile TT - the maths here is understandable.

However in a crit, how do these gains contribute to performance? How do these equate to a win in a crit? is does it only matter if you are in the final sprint? - I guess if you make a break off the front it would all come into play then? Or is it an accumulation of ‘saved’ watts throughout the race?

Thoughts/experience appreciated!

Less work over the course of a race means a harder sprint at the end.


And saved for bridging gaps to breakaway groups… or making the breakaway when you want to.

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The saving watts all during the race so you have more energy to give when it matters is real. Plus,
in any crit if you are contending for win, there will be at more than a few times you are in the wind at 600+ watts. Even if each one of those only lasts a few seconds. aero watt savings will make a big difference.

And a crit can be won or lost by less than an inch. Just a 1 watt difference in the last 20 feet could in theory make the difference.

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It only matters at very specific times when you’re in the wind and then only if the 20 watts difference puts you on the limit or not.

Times when it matters
you need to move up To improve position and have to stick your head in the wind.

You need to push pace at the front for your team.

You try to bridge.

You sprint to the line.

Cheers all. Yes i can see where it might be pertinent for a breakaway attempt, or a bridge as you say. I guess i was missing the point as I know that my sprint has a bit to be desired so my legs are probably a more of a limiter than my aerodynamics.

I was just in a 2/3/4 race where I was so out of my depth that I was just staying in the bunch rather than making moves or anything so I guess it was a little bit lost on me. But if i think back to my last 3/4 race where I spent a little more time close to the front and made some attacks that having some ‘extra’ watts would possibly have made a difference.

I calculate that because the speeds are higher in a crit e.g. when bridging i was having to get up beyond 50 km/h, that the aero dynamics are probably worth more.

It’s shame that you cant field test the difference in set ups in a race situation, although you could test side by side quite easily on the course before/after a race