Good videos or reads on how to get in the break?

Tried googling this and seemed to mainly get videos on ‘braking’, this is my 3rd year racing road (on the way to a race this morning) unfortunately physiology wise, I’m not the sprinter type, more likely to find an advantage through long sustained climbs but we don’t have those in my local road races so I feel like I should be trying to get really good at positioning to get into breaks.
I’m thinking staying near the front of the pack 4-5th wheel but off the front and making sure I’m doing my VO2 work to be able to have enough kick to make the break.
There are definitely some guys that can attack me on a flat or slight incline when I am on the front and I have no chance of even catching their wheel, however, I feel in at least some cases, I can distance these guys on significant enough climbs that my W/kg advantage tips in my favor over their absolute wattage advantage. With a bunch sprint at the end, many will come by me due to absolute watt advantage.
For more context I am ~59kg and 237 watt FTP (4.02w/kg), have been focusing on Sweet spot with the SS90 workouts but am now in Specialty so will be starting VO2 and Anaerobic work instead along with some more fast group rides.

I tried to get a coach this year (someone local that could coach me on technique/tactics as well) but wasn’t successful but feel like I have more to learn to improve my ‘race craft’ or tactics.

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One way to get into a break is to be the one who starts it.

An advantage of starting it is that you get to decide how hard to go and for how long in trying to establish the break. That can sometimes be easier than having to chase.

I think this book talks the best about racing tactics and skills you can practice. It includes how breaks work.

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Here’s a video from the TR YouTube channell

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Love the video that @2DollarLegs shared! That should give you some great visual examples from a real race of timing your attacks to start/get into a break.

Momentum is super key if you’re trying to get off the front. One of the best times to attack is when the peloton is going fast, then the front starts to slow down, and the riders in the middle/back of the back still have a lot of momentum going forward as the front of the pack slows.

I think staying 4th/5th wheel might be too close to the front because of how often breakaways start like this. If you’re too far up, you’ll be part of the pack that is slowing down as you get swallowed up by the middle/rear of the pack. Instead of carrying momentum, you’ll be forced to accelerate hard to catch back up or follow a move.

That said, you still don’t want to be too far back… It’s a tricky balance to figure out and it takes some trial and error to gain the experience necessary to become a breakaway artist. :biking_man: :art:

Once you find that sweet spot of where to sit in the peloton, though, you’ll start to find yourself in more situations where you’re able to use momentum to your advantage. You’ll start to notice the front of the pack slowing down, and when you see that happen, that’s when you really give it some gas (even if you’re tired – remember, other riders will be tired, too!). You’ll be accelerating up from a speed that’s already higher than the front of the pack, and that large speed differential is what will allow you to get off the front to begin with.

I think it’s helpful to think of this move as a kind of “slingshot.” You fly past the rest of the peloton using momentum to sling you by everyone.

Once you’re actually off the front, in my opinion, the hardest part of your effort begins. You’ll probably still be within sight of the peloton and other riders will want to chase you down. The first few minutes of establishing a break are hard. You’ll probably have to ride above threshold power to maintain your gap during the start of the break.

Ideally, if you can hold off the peloton for those first few crucial minutes, you can start to settle into a pace closer to your threshold power. It will still be a tough effort, but it should be sustainable. If you find yourself with some breakaway companions, start rotating and working together as quickly as possible. It’s often beneficial to take short, hard (above threshold) pulls on the front, then rotate out and slot back into the rotation behind the other riders to recover for a moment before you’re back on the front for another turn.

I’m a fan of Jeff Linder from NorCal Cycling – he’s been a guest on the TR podcast before as well. He has some great videos on racecraft and tactics that might help you out – here’s one video that sounds like it could be useful:

Hope this helps! I’m not a sprinter either so most of my best results have come from riding breaks. Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!


I agree this is a good book to read

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Alex Dowsett (retired world tour pro) has a YouTube with some good videos about racing. He does one specifically about getting in breakaways.

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One of the hardest lessons to learn in terms of attacking is to attack when you are already going hard…which just means it hurts that much more. But if you attack when it is relatively easy, everyone else feels like they can attack too. If you attack when the pace is high or people are suffering, they are more likely to let you go.

One of my favorite moves in crits used to be to attack through a prime…don’t actually go for the prime, but ride the wheels of those going for it and then keep the momentum rolling to establish a gap while the sprinters sit up. A key here is to dangle just far enough in front to get a couple of riders to go with you and then really out the watts out as you will have riders to share the load.


At your power and weight, you are better suited to get away on an uphill attack. Staying in the front 4-5 wheels during selective uphill sections is a good approach because the guys with more raw watts can’t just get a free ride across jumping on your wheel. Getting across a gap or immediately responding to a break on flatter terrain is going to be tougher and that’s best done by getting a ride with someone else or jumping from further back. Trying to get away from the group starting ~4th wheel is a tough order if you don’t have a serious kick unless the group is completely gassed.

Also, a big factor for getting in a break and making a break successful is how others perceive you as a rider. If you are not seen/known as a threat, people are less likely to chase you while instigating a break. Sometimes that means they just let you dangle and nobody tries to get across to join you. If you are known contributer/instigator of breaks, it will be harder to get away, but you are more likely to get help.

Honestly, you can read/research all you want and that can give you some guidelines, but the best way to learn is to try things in races. Unless you are already contesting podiums on a regular basis, don’t focus on results. Instead, use races as experiments. I’ve learned quite a few things (and actually ended up with some decent results) from racing dumb and just trying things. Don’t be the guy who analyzes the course, picks the 1-2 best spots to make a move, and then wait for those spots. Hint - everybody is focused on those spots.