The classic Road Race is a test of stamina, fitness and tactical acumen. Team tactics often come into play. Riders often have particular strengths: some can climb hills and mountains very quickly; others have a devastating turn of speed or sprint; other have the ability to ride very well against the clock in Time Trials (which often form part of multi day or stage races). The art is to restrict your rival’s gains in the areas where they are strong and maximise your gains in your preferred terrain.
Road Stage Races
Some Road Races are contested over several days and several stages. These “Stage” Races or Tours often feature prizes for each stage winner, plus others for the best sprinter in the race, the best climber (aka King of the Mountains), the leading team and, of course, the overall winner, who is the rider with the best aggregate time. The Tour de France is the world’s most prestigious Stage Race and lasts for three weeks.
All top Road Racers need to be able to stay in the saddle for hours at a time (endurance). Some are exceptionally good at going uphill and target wins in hilly terrain: these are known as Climbers. Others have a big ‘kick’ or ability to accelerate and are known as Sprinters. They often win races where the finish is contested by a number of riders – a bunch or sprint finish. Few riders can win, however, if they are not tactically very aware and at pro level team tactics and strategy can be very complex.
Endurance, Sprinting, Climbing, Tactics – these are just some of the qualities a successful road rider might possess. Which is the most important? Well, it’s open to debate, but compared to the sledgehammer tactic of just trying to ride faster than your rivals – something which will not work at anything but the lowest level of the sport – the rapier blade of genuine tactical nous is potentially a race winner for you.
Road & Circuit Racing
Categories, Points, Rankings and Event Classifications: Road Racing is categorised into different classifications of race, open to riders of differing age/ability categories. Many races carry ranking points which are sought after by riders hoping to make it up to the next ability category.
For a list of Road Races events planned follow this link to British Cycling or alternatively you can also take a look at the SSSCCRRL website that runs a series of evening races on a Thursday night, run through British Cycling and take place in our local area. They are an excellent stepping stone for new riders and provided more experienced riders with some excellent training for bigger longer weekend events.