A group of racing cyclists functions very differently for safety reasons than a number of individual cyclists

Braking and changing direction
A group of racing cyclists cannot easily brake or change direction. That has to be very gradual in order not to run into each other’s wheels. If cyclists switch from two to two cycles to one behind the other, for example to make more room for passing motorists, it takes a while.

Not tight on the side
Sometimes cyclists do not drive tightly along the roadside, for example because the road there is bad or dirty, or because the speed is high. Then they drive a little further for safety.

Yet on the road, where there is a (non-mandatory) cycle path
Sometimes a group of racing cyclists rides on the road instead of on the cycle path if the latter is not mandatory. For example if there are many pedestrians, city cyclists or children on the cycle path. Or if the cycle path is full of potholes and holes for the narrow road bike tires.

Calling is for own use
A lot is called in groups of cyclists. Cries like “Before”, “Against”, “Behind” are meant for the group members, so that they know what to do.

Gestures for trailing traffic
If a motorist cannot yet see whether he can pass a group of cyclists, but the cyclists can already see that, they sometimes gesticulate to the motorist driving behind them whether he can overtake or not.

Estimating the speed of cyclists is not always easy

Passing a group of racing cyclists who ride 40 km / h or more with the wind in their backs takes more time than a city cyclist who runs 20 km / h or less. If the road is also narrow and unclear, a wrong estimate as a motorist is easily made.

How a motorist can make it easier for cyclists

Show that you have seen the cyclists and take them into account
If you meet a group of cyclists on a narrow road, drive a little slower and a little more to the side of the road.
If you arrive at an intersection where you must give cyclists priority, brake a little earlier and more clearly so that
they are certain that you will stop.

Honking in windless weather is usually unnecessary, with a lot of wind it is sometimes useful. If you are honking, do it well in advance and not when you’re close by.
If a group of cyclists does not use a (non-mandatory) cycle path, but drives on the road, it is usually for a reason. Pointing out with honking that there is a cycle path does not produce anything. Just drive past the group and remember that that is the best way to keep it safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Passing shorter than 1.5 meters sometimes scares cyclists and can be dangerous due to a gust of wind.
A group of racing cyclists overtaking and shortly afterwards strong braking, for example for a road narrowing, means that cyclists have to brake far too hard with the chance that they will run on each other.


If you can sprint well, you can win if you are not the strongest. We also enjoy a sprint every now and then as a recreational cyclist. And as a cycling enthusiast, we look at the sprints of the professionals. Sprinting is a fun game and a profession in its own right. If you have never done it, it is not easy to do it fast, powerful and controlled. It is a separate form of movement that you do not naturally perform well. It’s about speed, explosiveness without blocking your muscles, increasing the range of your cadence. In addition to the technical side, there is also a tactical side to it. Choose position, choose resistance. Timing. In addition, sprinting is also a mentally interesting game. Sprinting is not only fun to do, but there is also much to learn and improve. Also how you as a group on public roads keep it safe and enjoyable for yourself and other road users.



In or out of the saddle

You almost always have to get out of the saddle for a good sprint. Then you can develop more speed because you not only use your legs but also your arms and weight. Right up and down or wagging? Do you jump right up and down?

Erik Zabel image

Or do you use your shoulder belt to create extra leverage? Most top sprinters do the latter.


Compare sprinting on the road with track cycling, where it goes up and down in particular. With a standing start and the fixed, and therefore terribly heavy, resistance at the start, there is no other option. You kick yourself down like this. Explosive and controlled.

The trick is to hit the pedals explosively. And not to get lost or to let your muscles block each other. The greater the range of the cadence that you can handle, the less you have to switch in the meantime.

Photo / video


Aerodynamically you have to sit as deep as possible, but of course keep looking.

Photo Caleb Ewen / Viviani

At higher speeds, the frontal aerodynamics, especially the frontal surface, is more important than the power.

The last jump

Just before the line you push your bike forward. Making your front wheel move 10 – 20 cm forward.


Timing is also important there. Too soon then you lose speed, too late then you don’t get the benefit.

If you can’t do all that well, then remember that for most sprints, such a nice build-up is less important than pedaling as hard as possible for as long as possible.

In a sprint, you mainly use fast power and you don’t have to be too deep in the red. It is nice and interesting to see how sprinters come to a final hill, completely demolished, go down crazy like a madman and if they only have a kilometer to recover they can tap into a (different) pot of energy for the sprint itself. While if they have to sprint in the last kilometer to get in a favorable position at the front, the game is already empty before the actual sprint. The following also applies to us recreational users: saving enough, but certainly not too early. Although it is useful if others drive themselves more empty than you, right? You actually save more to ensure that you can go with all kinds of gears before the sprint, than before the sprint itself.

Who are your opponents?
How are they doing now? Cycling is a strange sport: sometimes you work together and then you don’t. So the question of who you can work with temporarily and who is not willing to do so and who wants to save is just like you, of course. That is having knowledge of the others and a nice negotiating game while driving.

Whose wheel are you sitting in? Someone who responds nice and quickly to a failure, but is not so strong that he just drives you out off the wheel. Can you work with a ‘train’of riders who want to attract the sprint for you? The latter is also a wonderful training form.
Photo / video See …

You want to sit behind someone for as long as possible, but you have to prevent being trapped. If the finish is short on a sharp last corner, it is necessary to go first or maximum second through the corner.

At what time do you get out of the wheel? If you have the wind on your head, you will try to wait longer than if you have a strong wind in your back. In order not to get trapped, you sometimes have to come out of the wheel sooner than you would like. Or vice versa, you sometimes let yourself be passed if you risk leading too early.

Choice of gear
Depending on the wind direction, wind strength and the initial speed in a sprint, you choose a gear before the sprint where you will basically continue to ride the entire sprint. Usually it is one or two teeth heavier than what you ride in the group. If you want to make a difference especially in the first few meters, the resistance will be a bit lighter. Do you want to be able to accelerate further, it is a bit harder.

Deviate from the line, touch each other
When sprinting, it is a necessary skill that you can handle accidentally touching each other so that you do not fall over each other. Lean with shoulders or elbows and especially do not lean away so that the handlebars can hook into each other.
Video Viviani Giro 2019
Video Matthieu van der Poel
Also see ….

The rule is that you do not deviate from your line. But within that rule you can have a more or less straight line which will get someone behind to get stuck, so he has to make a correction, which cost him time en energy. It is a thin line, but clear, practical and safe in practice.
See Viviani 2018

Deception is part of the game. For example, you imagine to be weaker or stronger than you are. It already starts when you skip a turn in the lead-up and are moaning if you want to save. If you come too early in the sprint and you suspect that you are going to stop, you can consciously do that earlier, so that someone behind you will come out of your wheel and therefore in the wind. Then you come with your remonte, your second gear. If you head too early and keep sprinting, the person behind you can wait much longer for you to quiet down and get over you more easily.

Mental: anger in the belly, cool head, warm hart
You can see from the previous that you have to unite conflicting demands in a sprint. To produce the most power you have, you have to evoke anger in yourself. But you also have to check that. In order to properly carry out the bicycle movement, but also to look at opponents and how the situation develops.
See the Greipel train video
And of course to treat each other with care. In addition, leaning with shoulders or elbows or sometimes even with the head against each other ensure safety.
Photo Three together.
Also see:

It naturally requires a lot of skills and it is a vague area between being careful and crossing the border. Then “crooks” are handed out at the expense of another. A good example of how things can be done, NK…. See also: Matthieu vd Poel with explanation

Combining those three demands, generating anger, keeping looking and thinking and taking care of each other requires a lot of practice. And can also good be used in many other situations in life.

For some groups, a sprint is the standard routine at the end of a ride. With other groups it arises spontaneously. Nothing is agreed in advance. Making a rule in advance is of course not so nice because you then have less room for deception. That is a disadvantage of making agreements. There are also advantages to making agreements. You can place the finish line where it is also safe. The last place name sign, which you are traditionally used to sprinting on, may not be as safe anymore.
You can also come up with different forms of finals. You leave single or in pairs from a certain point. The fastest last. So that at least for a longer time there is no big club together. Or you break down a group into several subgroups of the same strength, all of which have their own sprint. The fastest group goes the first way. As a result, even the slow ones get the opportunity to ride a full sprint instead of just being driven off. Of course, deliberately or unconsciously, there is also a lot of deception when making agreements. Someone shouts: “No sprint today, because weak legs, tomorrow race etc etc”. A few hours later there is no sign of this anymore and a final is nevertheless created, which is then less convenient, social and safe than when clear agreements are made and held.
See also: Psychology of cycling See also: Training on the public road


We zitten in de winter minder op de racefiets. Te vroeg donker, te nat/glad/koud. Maar we lopen hard of schaatsen. We gaan het bos in met MTB of crossfiets. Of we gaan naar binnen, de sportschool in.

Die andere trainingsvormen zijn goed om de conditie bij te houden en om andere spieren te trainen. Ook mentaal is het goed om wat anders te doen.

Het is ook een goede tijd om aan je ‘voertuigvaardigheid’ te werken. Met een fiets in bos of duin kan je goed slippen en corrigeren oefenen, met minder kans dat een val schade geeft dan op asfalt. Ook op de stadsfiets kan dat. Als je over een pad met natte bladeren of andere mogelijke gladdigheid rijdt bijvoorbeeld. Je zit wat rechterop, heb makkelijk een voet aan de vloer. Dus veel schade kan het niet.
Je leert dan ook kijken/anticiperen. Je ziet een stuk dat mogelijk glad is en je ziet ook dat dat maar een meter lang is en je er recht overheen kan. Dan hoef je minder te remmen dan als je op dat stuk een bocht moet maken. Of je verdeelt de bocht in twee rechte stukken. Wie heeft je ooit verteld dat een bocht in een mooie kromme moet.
Er zijn voldoende mogelijkheden om te oefenen. Door de berm rijden, achterom kijken en toch rechtuit blijven rijden. Je moet ze wel even zien en er bewust mee bezig zijn.
Zie bijvoorbeeld ‘basistechnieken’ en ‘bochten’.

Crash Annemiek van Vleuten

Val Annemiek van de Vleuten (Olympische wegrace, Rio 8 augustus 2016)
Ongelooflijk wat een shit. De beste in de koers, op weg naar het goud. En dan die val.
Waardoor? Glad wegdek? Afvallende bocht? Te veel risico genomen? Wie zal het zeggen?
Op TV is wel een stuurfout te zien. Het ging om een de bocht naar rechts. Vóór de bocht reed ze aan de rechterkant van de weg. Daardoor maakte ze de bocht veel krapper dan als ze vóór de bocht aan de linkerkant had gereden. Dan was de bocht veel ruimer geweest. Je snijdt een bocht buiten-binnen-buiten aan om hem zo ruim mogelijk te maken. Dan kan je met meer snelheid die bocht door, met minder kans op wegslippen.
Ongelooflijk: technische gezien een simpele fout. Te simpel voor zo’n goede rijdster? Waardoor? Aandacht afgeleid? De oorzaak achter de oorzaak, geen idee?

Froome proofs, desceding can be learned

Mooi en verrassend van Froome! (Tour de France, 9 juli)
Degene met een zeer matige bocht/daaltechniek ging fantastisch naar beneden.
Ben heel benieuwd hoe hij dat onder de knie heeft gekregen.
In ieder geval een prachtig voorbeeld van bezig zijn met leren. In plaats van met denkstoppers als ‘dat heb je in je of niet’, of ‘is een gelukszaak’. Net als het nemen van penalty’s, het is te leren als je er maar tijd en aandacht aan besteed en heel specifiek traint.

Zijn nieuwe dalen was niet alleen beter dan zijn oude dalen, het was technisch zelfs heel goed. Met een herkenbare Froome-houding maar de essenties prima voor elkaar:
Lichaams-fietszwaartepunt goed de bocht ingedrukt.
Kleine correcties met de knie.
Zelfs met meetrappend op de horizontale buis zittend.
En wat natuurlijk ook helpt om zonder (veel) risico’s op de limiet te kunnen rijden: weten dat het wegdek perfect is en dat er geen tegenverkeer kan komen en het kennen of gecoacht worden wat betreft hoe de bochten lopen.
8e etappe afdaling van de Peyresourde door Chris Froome

Het leverde nogal wat commentaar op van kamikaze, onverantwoord tot episch.
Interessante, meer analytische links zijn:

Val Darwin Atapuma (Vuelta 2016, 12 etappe)

Aan het begin van het filmpje.
Een val die uit het niets lijkt te komen. Luister naar het commentaar op Eurosport. Anderen hebben op dezelfde plek met dezelfde bochtlijn geen problemen. Het gebeurt vaker, zo’n val uit het niets. Je kan dan kijken naar allerlei toevallige omstandigheden, steentjes en dergelijke, die de oorzaak kunnen zijn. Misschien is het interessanter te kijken naar wat je kan doen om de KANS op wegglijden te verminderen. Ik denk dat een andere houding op de fiets in de bocht zou kunnen schelen.
Zoals Rouland in de Tour de France (zie reactie terug) lijkt Darwin Atapuma zijn gewicht iets te veel naar binnen te hebben waardoor het voorwiel makkelijker kan wegglijden bij een ongerechtigheid.
Misschien zijn we ons niet genoeg bewust van hoe snel je geen tegendruk op het voorwiel meer hebt. Een paar centimeter je bovenlijf meer naar binnen en de tegendruk op het voorwiel is al een heel stuk minder. Met een steentje oid is het dan gebeurd voordat je het in de gaten hebt.
Met de skitechniek – gewicht heup zadel meer naar binnen en bovenlijf iets meer buiten – komt er meer druk op het voorwiel, ook zijwaarts in de richting van de de binnenkant van de bocht. Daardoor is de kans op wegglijden van het voorwiel kleiner en heb je meer gelegenheid te corrigeren.
(Overigens: voor het achterwiel is het weer net even anders. En als het met het achterwiel fout gaat, heb je meestal veel meer kans om te herstellen))