Tactics for A race with no knowledge of other racers abilities

My A race is in May and I am deep into my Trainer road produced training plan Low level to allow me to increase or insert valuable races for experience if I can. Thank you for giving me structure to my weeks as I was over training.

I fear am waisting calories worrying/ trying to plan my “A” race which is in May at the Invictus Games a 40 minute crit, and 2,5km TT, as this is a multi nation event there is no way of knowing the standard of competitor, we are graded on injury but not experience or ability. Even in our team it is fare to say the range is vast which is the beauty fo the Games allowing people to experience racing and cycling at any level to help them in their recovery journey and achieve a goal which for some may be getting on the start line in front of family and friends.

I am an avid watcher of your race analysis videos and during training races try to have an aim (partly because winning is out of my grasp for now).

My question is what is the best tactics for a race where the competition is un known, should I aim for the front and control the race stay a few wheels back and jump on any break away or try to break away myself? I have 11 or so weeks and think I have completed every eventuality of this race every night in my dreams, if only those hours counted to increase my FTP.

do online research based on start lists, watch old videos, check past results and strava files.
if all else fails be near the front but not on the front to patrol early moves.

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No start lists and I don’t think there will be until the day unfortunately.

I might be able to judge who is the stronger riders from the TT results in the morning but that’s about it. Maybe look out for top 5-10 and stick to any wheel that looks like making break or make a break myself in the second half of the race.

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Definitely don’t sit on the front and try to control the race, that’s a great way of burying yourself and giving everybody else an easy ride!

You say you’re in a team, your best bet would be working together and not as individuals. If you don’t have time to ride together you can at least figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are on paper, who might have the threshold to make a break stick, who has a good sprint, if anybody is happy to do domestique duties like sitting on the front and chasing breaks, sacrificing their own chances. And also set some basic ground rules, like if one of your guys is in the break the rest of you don’t contribute to the chase!

TT is going to be your best indication of who the big guns are, particularly as it’s short enough for the highly anaerobic guys to do well. Other than that you’re likely to have to be quite opportunistic on the day. I would guess that with everybody being in the same boat it could be very difficult for an early break to get away since nobody will want to risk missing out, so maybe a good tactic is to bide your time and hope the field punches itself out.

if there are breaks in the early going make sure you’re near the front of the group so you can make them, but i wouldn’t be putting in much effort in the early parts of the race to help drive the break to stay away as you’ll likely get chased down.

Later on in the race though as attrition starts to kick in, that would be a time to go in a move and do some work as the legs may not be there to chase.

this all reminds me of my first cat5 race…moves every 4-5min, no one would let anything go away. just became a game of who could do 800w to chase the 2-3 guys who went rocketing off the front the most amount of times. By the end it just came down to a “bunch” sprint, if you could even call it that in cat5.

Just to throw another variable in the mix. A lot of racers may never have raced before so odds on multiple groups form I guess this makes it difficult to tell if your in a breakaway or the front group.

As you all have said I need to stay near but not on the front and any more than two go up the road get on it with minimum effort or get our team working together to through and off and make it our race.

If you have friends racing with you, you’re already ahead of the pack. See who attacks first and pay attention to the aggressors. You’ll be able to spot then quickly. The main issue will be finding the advantageous/skilled riders as they’ll attack when no one’s expecting it. But that’s what you have your teammates for.

Any idea of how many will be in the race? If it’s a big bunch definitely stay near the front or you could easily get caught out.
I race similar races sometimes (police and emergency services games) and find the first few km really sort the men from the boys. Those that aren’t up to it are usually dropped quickly, and if not, you can tell who’s comfortable and who is not and won’t last.
I say go with your gut. If a break goes and you feel it could be the one, go with it, but only work if you think it’s going to be worth it.
If you have team mates of reasonable experience try and use them tactically if they’re up for it.

how would you race a weekend ride when a new group of people show up? do the same thing. Watch and always be attentive. watch people’s pedaling style and see who looks comfortable when things are hard.

ALways be able to launch and follow a move.

don’t show your own cards too early.

All the best and have fun!!


From a TT perspective. Ride to your threshold for what you think the TT will take.
Look at Strava for course records.
Look at My Bike Split and what wattage is required for what time your aiming.
If there are rollers work out how much over FTP you can go then back down to FTP
Look at wind, and temperatures
Gauge your warm up. If it’s warm you can shorten your warm up
Hydration. Pre TT breakfast

There a lot you can do to get the best out of yourself