First time racing a crit (road elimination race)

Hi. Have signed up for a local crit happening in 2 weeks time. This will be my first time racing a crit so any advice would be helpful.

The course is a “hotdog” course with a sweeping turn on one end and a tight u-turn on the other. It will be an elimination type race where 6 riders line up and every lap the last rider gets eliminated. Laps are about 1km long. We have to do 4 in total and i proceed to the next round if i get through.

My question is this. As someone racing without team support, what are some strategies/tactics i can employ in this scenario. I understand this is a different format from the traditional crit so i am kind of at a loss here. Appreciate any input on this.

With only 6 riders per race, team tactics are unlikely to help anyone, so all in the same boat.

Those races are really short. It will be full gas. Only tactic you need is not to be last over the line!!

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Honestly have never done a race quite in this format, so my advice is based more on watching elimination races in track cycling than anything else! General tactic there seems to be for riders with a decent sprint to conserve energy in the early laps. I.e. hang near the back of the pack, then put in enough of a kick as you approach the line to ensure there are at least 1-2 riders behind you, then drop back in and recover for the next lap.

Of course that depends hugely on your strengths relative to the other riders in your race. If they all have a bigger kick than you it won’t work, but then in this format you might be doomed anyway! Danger also is if everybody else is planning the same thing then that might give 1-2 riders the chance to take an early flier and establish a big enough lead that the race is over and done with right there.

So I would say:

  1. Take every opportunity to size up your opposition. Watch other heats to see riders you might meet in the next round (if you get through yours). Stalk them on Strava if rider lists are published in advance.
  2. Conserve energy if you can. No point being a hero and winning the first 2 laps and then being gassed for the third, you only need to do enough to not be last. Caveat of course is that you don’t get any second chances so cut it too fine and that’s the end of your day.

Sounds like a fun event, enjoy!

Tactically, that should be similar to an elimination race on the track which is quite a bit different than your basic win a crit tactics, I’ve never raced on the track but I have watched some elimination races and searching for some general tactics guidance for that type of race might be a good idea. Generally, i think if you are actually in the mix you want to watch for getting pimped at the line and position yourself coming to the line so you don’t get boxed in so you get pimped at the line. Early on in track races at least, it appears to me that most people get eliminated because of bad positioning rather than just being slower,

We’ve done a few of these type of races in training - they’ve got various names, but essentially it is an elimination race. The big danger with trying to conserve energy is that you get mugged in a sprint early on. With only six riders on track at a time, it’s going to hard to hide. Expect it to be a really cagey affair, and expect the unexpected!!