'Tour of Britain' Team Talk: How to Use Tactics for Road Racing
August 9th, 2017
August 9th, 2017
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
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It's official, Bikesoup sponsored UK pro team, Bike Channel Canyon, have qualified for the Tour of Britain - yay! It's one of the biggest road events in Britain and we're so excited to watch them race. They have swept up a number of titles since forming earlier this year, including podiums and sprinter's jerseys in the Tour de Yorkshire, Rory taking 2nd at the Lincoln Grand Prix, and numerous achievements throughout the likes of the Tour Series. So, seeing as they’re so good at it, we ask the team what advice they would give to newcomers to road racing…
In a good team you thrive off the energy of your team mates, it can feel like riding with the wind in your back, just knowing that you are all there together with one goal, knowing you will do anything to help each other achieve the desired outcome. The support brings you together and gives you a strength you can't feel whilst racing alone or in a dysfunctional team. The camaraderie is what helps a team achieve its success.
James "Hank" Lowsley-Williams
Bike racing is not about how strong you are, but how smart you can be at how you use your energy. The winner at the end of the race is the one with the most amount of energy at the end of the race, so always think about conserving energy. Team mates are imperative too, they help put the team leader in the best position without the team leader expending any energy until it's needed for a race winning move or sprint.
Team mates are really important. The guys were great to me at the Tour Series this year, helping me to get into position for the sprints, and eventually winning the overall sprints jersey. In a big road race they're invaluable, from the little things like getting bottles, then moving the leader into a good place before a key section, giving up a wheel to the leader can save a race. Tim (Team Manager) often deploys a big team attack, so often a couple of lads will end up sacrificing their own race for one rider.
Don't be indecisive! Team mates are hugely important, as you sacrifice all of your own chances for your team mates, but when you do pull off a big result it makes it more special.
Just don’t be afraid to have a go. You’ll find out a lot more about your capabilities if you have a good crack than if you just sat in the bunch. Also, some smaller races take part with the roads still open, so just be safe and respect your fellow racers.
Don’t worry if you don't start winning. It takes years of experience to learn how to race and also build fitness. If you stick at it and put the work in, it will come. Also, it's great mentally and physically having a team around you, because you don’t want to let them down, and vice versa. It's great.
Get stuck in, don't be afraid to attack or try something new. Team mates are very important! Especially with the nature of racing in the UK, narrow roads and crosswinds mean it's really important to ride as a unit. You protect your team mates from the wind, then it's much easier to stay well positioned.
For a newcomer I would say just race as much as possible, gain experience and then work the way through the categories. Just enjoy the racing as you're only going to get better.
Don’t get carried away and waste too much energy early on in the race, and try and stick to what you set out to do before starting the race. I’d say it’s getting pretty crucial to have a good team around you in races too, especially if you want to get results in the biggest races. Having good team mates around you just means you can focus on your job during the race whether that’s working for another team mate or whether you're helping them to get a result.
Enjoy it - it’s easier to take advice onboard and learn when you’re enjoying it. Never take yourself too seriously.
Just enjoy it, learn from everyone around you, get out with a local club. There is always someone willing to help and give advice.