Rothe Training Tip Four: The Field Sprint
I can’t give away the “golden key” on how to win a field sprint (since there’s none) but there are a few things you can do (and avoid doing) in order to have a successful bid in a field sprint. Besides your own talent and genetics (think Type II or fast-twitch muscle fibers) your tactics will determine on how you do in a bunch kick.
Don’t be at the very front of the race with 2 or 1 lap to go. Think about the matches you’re burning and the Watts you’re pushing while the riders behind your enjoy that nice draft of yours and work up to 33% less. Be patient. If the field is organized and there’s a team riding hard at the front for their sprinter get behind it. If it’s very unorganized then stay towards the front and watch the riders you know have a good finishing kick. Follow the right wheels.
Know the distance to the finish. 200m is doable, 300m maybe but probably too far. So know the course and have a marker where you know you can sprint all-out until the finish line. When you’re ready to sprint, make sure you have the right gear for the right finish. When it’s fast and flat then that 53x12 or 11 will come in handy. If you have to race up the chicane (corkscrew) before the finish you do NOT want to be in your 11 as it will slow you down.
When sprinting, heads up or heads down as long as you go in a STRAIGHT line forward and/or follow the direction of the road. And one more thing, Never turn your head around when going 35+mph in a field sprint. Glance through your arms and under saddle to look back and check on competition.