If you have become keen on road cycling and want to take part in races, you will appreciate some tips to help you save some precious energy and achieve better results. The general rule is that the ability to save as much energy as possible in a given race – meaning if you ride economically – makes a serious difference in the overall result.
It is crucial to stay somewhere near the front of the peloton, ideally in the first third. The deeper down the peloton you ride, the harder you need to work during the race. This is especially true for races with hillier terrain and large pelotons. Every following rider has to brake a bit more than the one in front, which creates large gaps that need a lot of effort to close up.
Racers should be considerate of others and behave correctly, give hand signals, and not make any unexpected moves. However, everyone wants to achieve the best result they can, and so it is good to hide in the slipstream of other riders and focus on high-cadence pedalling, which saves your legs and energy.
When riding in a small group, it is only fair to take regular turns in the lead. Avoiding the leading position completely is not ethical.
The chain gang is a specific way of taking turns in the lead within a small group, or taking quick turns in a line. The riders change their position as soon as they pass the reversing rider, and reverse through the group in the slipstream formed by the rider in front of them.
During races you often see a situation when the peloton is spread across the whole road due to a crosswind. Some riders are left with nobody to hide behind and are forced to face the wind on their own.
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