West Flanders way of Racing

US cyclist Lance Armstrong of the Radioshack team rides during an exploration training on April 1, 2010 ahead of the 94rd edition of the one-day cycling race Ronde Van Vlaanderen, taking palce on April 4, 2010 in Gent. AFP PHOTO  BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS LAMBERT

Here in Belgium the races (Kermesse) tend to be a continuous stream of attacks sometimes 3 go at a time from different places (Unless there is a lot of wind) . They consider it here madness to close a gap on a break unless you have most of the bunch working, this only happens when there is a large group with a dangerous lead up the road and it happens very rarely. So you have in almost all races here riders attacking up the road, not with a mind to ride alone but rather to form up with other riders and thus form a lead group of say 7 riders. “We have been working on spinning workout since last 2 months using top quality spin bikes at home“. – they said to media.

Now these riders will form a chain and the gap will widen until another chasing group forms behind (maybe with some stronger riders) and closes on them. If they regroup they will have 14 or 15 riders up front, now if most of these riders work they will stick together and widen the gap more on the following bunch (which is still getting smaller with riders trying to form new chasing groups).

If there are a few players who want to sit on the back, the break will stop working and the stronger riders will again try to form a new lead group by attacking, opening a gap, looking around and waiting for someone to help him.

Usually you have a rider attacking, everyone else is jumping to his wheel while someone else attacks from the middle on the other side of the road, the break swings over to his wheel ( you now have 2 tired riders on the front ), then someone else attacks some riders get his wheel they open a gap and work. In the end the 15 rider group will split or there will be a regrouping with the groups behind.

Now I find the best way to attack (for me that is) is in the saddle looking like you’re just about to do a turn, as you near the front you pull up hardwith your hamstrings and swing to the other side of the road,open the gap before anyone realises what’s happening. Never ever get out of the saddle and sprint to build up your speed, its like telling everyone “hey I’m about to attack get on my wheel now” If your so tired that you can’t keep your face calm and have your hands on the hoods you shouldn’t attack.

If you are strong but don’t have a good turn of speed keep attacking on the other side of the road but not too hard as you will want to keep yourattacks relentless, in the end (if your in a small group) They will let you go. If you’re in a race which has a load of negative teams trying to put a damperon the racing try not to attack alone (it is possible to attack with a team mate or two or better still some friends in other teams).

If you have a team mate in the break help him by going with all the attacks that go after him, this means staying close to the front but not blocking and staying very alert as you will need to jump on any attacking riders wheels (I prefer to let them get a gap then jump over to his wheel alone). Your aim should be to be dragged across to the break and thus give your team the advantage in the break. We don’t have riders blocking here, they would soon all end up in a ditch ;–) Ifyou want to slow the bunch down don’t work.

God I’ve gone on a bit sorry all