Team ClifBar race tactics called out in NorCal Cycling Videos

Thoughts on a dropped rider disrupting the field when they get caught by the breakaway?

I’m interested if there is an alternative explanation/point of view to this move, other than NorCal’s scolding of it.

Jeff is right, that’s BS.

It’s one thing to latch back on to the main field at the back, but joining the break and actively trying to help out your teammate is trash.

Well Clif Bar clearly violated the rules in that race. For those that haven’t watched the video a CB rider got lapped, latched on the back of the lead group, and worked for the CB rider that was in that group. A clear violation of rules.

However in this case the rule was not enforced.

So CB will probably say, hey, we weren’t the only one who jumped on. If the race director doesn’t enforce the rule how is that on us? Terun will say…no fair, we don’t recruit the calibre of rider who gets lapped so we’ll never be able to take advantage of such a situation.

And so we go.

It all goes back to the point of my ‘Prevalence of Cheaters on Zwift’ thread: If you know you won’t suffer any consequences do you violate the rules to your own advantage? It’s a dividing line in life. Some people will say if the rule isn’t enforced CB should violate it…other people will say you should ride honorably within the rules regardless of whether or not you can escape the consequences.

In many cases, the only thing you can REALLY decide is which side of that dividing line you will place yourself.


Here’s the rule:

3D4. Riders who have lost contact with the field, and are then caught by a breakaway from the field, may not lead. Riders off the front of the field may not accept assistance from riders who have lost contact with the back of the field. Lapped riders may rejoin and race with the field in cases where lapped riders are not being withdrawn by the officials.

USA Cycling Rulebook, Chapter 3 Road Racing (page 69)

This past weekend I was in a race with clear center line rules. When the commissionaire would ride ahead for whatever reason, several women would race through the oncoming lane to move from the back to the front. In fact, it happened on the last lap of a four mile circuit where one of the women who moved up ended up winning.

It’s kind of disappointing really. And you’re absolutely right, @Brennus, it has everything to do with what you decide. It seems as though victories like this would be hollow in my eyes :woman_shrugging:t3:


In the future, you can bring this to the attention of the officials at the finish. You need to have at least one other woman in your field from a different team come with you to the official. (And it’s better if there’s three of you, all from different teams.) Yes, this is from experience. :slight_smile:


I think we should draw a distinction between what @Pete was talking about in the podcast, and the situation mentioned:

  1. Pete was not the rider providing the assistance in question in the video
  2. Pete’s podcast comment about getting a ride up to the front by teammates if you lap the field was in the context of the lapping the peloton, not getting assistance from dropped riders.

Obviously this situation seems against the rules, but targeting this thread at Pete specifically seems incorrect.


Hey guys, I thought I would weigh in and give you the view from this side.

First, it’s definitely against the rules and we would never plan anything like that. I was in the second group on the road, and when we would lap people, I would ask them to sit on the back of our group if they were able, but please don’t contribute. I think that’s where the line is drawn.

To be fair, I have been in the breakaway when this happens and the above rule is not always enforced either right away, or sometimes not at all. It’s usually when the race is shattered like the one above and the officials have a hard time making calls on the fly. I don’t exactly know what made JD decide to start attacking etc, but not getting told my the official not to was a bad call in my book as well. We didn’t actually discuss that portion after the race.

Here’s what I would say I would normally do if I was the lapped rider in this situation. I would bring my teammate to the back of the group, ask if they needed any food or water and let me soak up some of the work with him on my wheel. It might be half a lap with them not pulling through and me handing over any supplies. I would still say this falls into the grey area but it is slightly helpful. If I was in the breakaway and another team had a rider come back to us, the first thing I would do is attack through them trying to jump on the back. If they are lapped, most of the time they won’t be able to sit on the pace of the breakaway. It’s much easier to not have to worry about the disruption, even if it’s just a short one to your group and pace. If they were able to catch on, I would ride back and convince them to sit on the back or drop off completely. Yelling at officials to do something has never worked in my book, so I don’t really do that. I do yell at other riders sometimes…

All of the above is easier said than done, and breakaways are always heated. It’s hard to make rash decisions while you are on your limit and concerned about the results. I think Jeff did a good job in the position he was in, and we’ll have an internal discussion about what JD thought he was doing and why the end result is not okay.


This is a big part of why laws don’t work. But I digress…

Victory is all about fulfilling the ego and “right” or “wrong” is meaningless to the ego.

Most times in life it’s not the cheater who prospers most, nor the do-gooder who looses most, it’s mostly the opportunistic cheater who benefits the greatest. They don’t care if they get caught sometimes, (because, as above, most times there will be no material consequence) as long as they get away with it most times.

Fair play to you, @Pete , for replying. It’s what I expected and not at all disappointed.


Thanks for the other point of view. This is the balancing of the explanation of the situation I thought was necessary.

I figured it would be a far more nuanced situation than it may first appear.

And my apologies for misidentifying the rider, have removed from the title.

1 Like

What do you mean? The rule was broken and it was completely the wrong thing to do.


Did I say it was the “right” thing to do?

I was interested in a discussion of the situation, to better understand the context of the rider’s decisions once lapped by the field.

Things are rarely as simple as being a ‘dick move’, and I was not ruling this out, just opening up the floor for people more knowledgable of racing and race-craft :grinning:


Most people are commenting on a lapped rider pulling someone in the break, but looks like the op is asking about the claim that a few of the lapped riders blocked or broke up the break on purpose or was just careless and ended up doing it instead of just pulling to the side for the leaders.

Similar to how lapped riders in a mtb race should always pull off and let people pass but there are not usually team tactics in mtb racing.

If you have been lapped you shouldn’t be allowed to have ANY influence on the race.



I agree that the moto official should have intervened, but I don’t think he knew the rules. It can get messy when the field is shattered and the break is lapping smaller groups. What is “the field” in that case? It’s ultimately up the the official, and in most other racing jurisdictions, the rule is even more clear-cut to avoid such a subjective dilemma - any lapped rider is immediately pulled. The specific language of the rule is to prevent riders from intentionally dropping back to assist teammates in the breakaway, and like you said, if they are lapped, most of the time they won’t be able to sit on the pace of the breakaway.

We tried to drop Matt, it didn’t work, and he handily beat me in the sprint, so ultimately I don’t think Clif Bar’s tactics changed the outcome of the race. I have no hard feelings and appreciate your response. I’m glad it opened up some discussion because I think this rule is not very well understood.



That isn’t necessarily the case. If the field was completely destroyed (like Pete said it was) it is possible that the group that Pete was in was actually considered a second break or chase and the two riders that were lapped were the “field”. It’s hard to see what else is transpiring on the course to make it a cut and dry situation.

I know this from personal experience when in a crit I had a teammate in the 1st break of 4-5 people and then a second group of 2-3 broke away to bridge. The remaining field was probably 10ish people, of which all but 2 were eventually dropped, myself and one other person. When we were lapped by the first break we went to the back and did nothing. After the race I did go ask the official if I could have lead my teammate out that was in the 1st break and she said absolutely, because we were the field. A confusing situation no doubt but totally legal.

Not saying this is the same situation, but it could be similar.

1 Like

So the real question in everyone’s mind!

@Nate_Pearson how about a special guest of @Pete and @NorCal_Cycling talking the dos and don’ts in racing plus tactics extravaganza podcast!


I don’t think this should happen.
Teams shouldn’t share tactics. It is meant to be a competition .
Let Norcal do their thing.
Let Cliffbar do their thing.

1 Like

So it’ll all be show with lots of make-believe but entertaining nonetheless. I’m in!

1 Like