Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Win the Polka Dot Jersey

So I've been thinking about how I climb recently. Last year I mainly climbed standing up. It cam from riding a lot of short steep hills, and also poor fit. I was to far back so I wasn't over the pedals, blah blah blah, Doesn't matter the specifics but needless to say the proper fit has changed my riding style so that I can do things I couldn't before. Thanks to Mike at Performance in Green for that.

Well, this year I've been trying out new things and watching races on tv and youtube seeing how I can better myself. Trying to figure out how they got away. I've come to three different versions of winning a Polka Dot Jersey.

1) The Contador (aka uphill sprint)
The first one is best exemplified by Alberto Contador, and Armstrong (in his heyday). For those keeping track that is the first time I mentioned Armstrong in a blog post. What this consists of is waiting till the last moment and standing up and sprinting to the top of the climb, much like a final sprint. The goal is to get enough of a gap on the followers and then either keep lengthening that gap or just not letting it close. The benefit of this style is you can surprise the other riders and if they aren't watching it can be easy to close that gap. It's best to do this when you see your other competitors tiring and won't be able to respond. The downside of this tactic is you go past your anaerobic very quickly and if you can't get away it gives the other riders a chance to attack while you recover. This is probably my used tactic and does work if you can get going fast. Here's Alberto Contador attacking on Verbier. It's a textbook example.

2)The Spartacus (upping the cadence)
This one is a little more sly. All it involves is upping the cadence, thus upping your speed until you pull away from the other rider. The beauty of this one, unlike the uphill sprint, is that you don't show your cards before hand. Stay seated pick an easy lower gear than normal, wait for your moment and just spin up. I've done it where the other rider didn't even know I attacked, the next thing he know I was 50 feet up the hill and by then I was gone. The beauty of this one is that you stay aerobic so if it doesn't work you aren't in the red zone as bad. Fabian Cancellara used this tactic to win this years Tour of Flanders on the Kappelmur. Watch the video below about 1:14 in they hit the climb and watch the gap he gets in a short amount of time.

3) The Cadel (uphill grind)
Ok so this one isn't an attack, per se. All it is is just keeping the pace high enough so that your competitors drop off the back. It's that simple. No videos of this because there's really nothing much to watch on this one.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. Up next is a review of the Cannondale Cross bike I wont from OMBC, and the transformation of my ratty white Fixed gear into something I want to ride.

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