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  1. #1
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    Increasing top end speed (sprint)

    Hello,
    what do you guys do to increase your Top end speed (sprint) I have the 20-30 crit placing mastered but I haven't tried getting up close to the front at the end! so as far as a sprint don't think I have one lol! any help would be great training wise, that is not wise

  2. #2
    Cat 6 rider
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    The basic way to get better at any sport- intervals. There must be a specific training method for sprinters. Someone here should chime in. You rarely see cyclists in the weight room, but I've often thought it might be beneficial for sprinters.
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  3. #3
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    "I haven't tried getting up close to the front at the end!"

    This is part of your problem.
    If you start your sprint in 5th place, at worst, you'll end up in 10th-12th place.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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  4. #4
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    I have heard it said that sprint is the least trainable aspect in cycling. Whether that is true or not, I really don't know. If you can't sprint, you need to get away off the front before the sprint if you can.

    Otherwise, I'd imagine that practicing sprints would help a bit, as would learning to use a lead out - be it your teammate, or someone else.

  5. #5
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    Plyometrics.....if you want to increase your top end speed, this is the way to do it.

    Other than that, practice a lot of sign sprints. Pick a type of sign you want to sprint for (we use the stop ahead signs) and when you see one, plan out your sprint and go all out using the sign as the finish line. Do 6 or 8 of these a couple times a week.

    Also realize sprinting is as much about tactics as it is raw power.

    It's about:

    • Putting yourself in position to win (being in 20th place heading into a sprint isn't in position)
    • Watching others contesting the sprint and knowing their strengths/weaknesses
    • Knowing how long you can hold your sprint
    • Knowing if you are a punchy or long sprinter...which will tell you when you should jump
    • Being prepared to fight for position and possibly bump other riders in the process


    It sounds like you don't know how to do any of these yet....so race more, learn more and be ready to fight it out for the final sprint.
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  6. #6
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    What wookie said.

    They do make sprint oriented trainer DVDs, so try them out. Part of it is definitely an art form of knowing when to act and how hard to sustain the effort to the line without running out of gas.

    Depending on the level of cycling, sometimes you can employ team tactics like keeping your sprinter(s) doing minimal work throughout the race, meaning as little time up front as possible. Do a lead out. Etc.

    If sprinting simply isn't your thing after all of that effort, you could always put your efforts on reinforcing your other strengths. I'm not a good sprinter by any means, but basically all RRs and crits have your run of the mill sprint finish. Even though I'd rather put everything towards climbing or TTs, I definitely need to work on my sprinting, which I have been doing.

  7. #7
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    Weight lifting can help (but lets not argue about that). Standing (track) starts help build strength. Practicing sprint intervals helps top end power. Anaerobic intervals (1-2 minutes) help you build power so you don't fade at the end of a long run up. Most of all, you need to practice getting to the front of a race and holding your position, otherwise power doesn't matter.

    Boonen schooled Farrar at Eneco last year despite having considerably less speed. He did it all with positioning and technique.

  8. #8
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    In addition to power, another thing to work on is leg speed, and smoothness. Ride with some buddies and do low-gear sign sprints, where everyone is limited to a certain gear (say, 39/15). It's pretty fun, really. We used to do entire low-gear rides in the winter, which keeps the intensity down (if you're not climbing any big hills), allows you to work on good group riding technique, and definitely helps smoothness.

  9. #9
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    I typically increase my top-end speed by choosing a faster lead-out train. These are usually at the pointy end of the race.

    Sprinting from 5th position with 200m to go will always get you a better placing than sprinting from 30th position with 200m to go.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the help, some great info for sure. This past Saturday i raced and focused on staying close to the front at the end, the race completely blew up on the last lap with no real sprint finish i was able to hang on for 22nd and i was happy with that because it blew up bad! we had 75 at the start and less then 40 when the race was over it was a 30+ 3/4 50min one of the hardest I have done ever. I felt good about it after i was one of three of my teammates left at the end we were strung out single file most of the time!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justplianfast
    Thanks for all the help, some great info for sure. This past Saturday i raced and focused on staying close to the front at the end, the race completely blew up on the last lap with no real sprint finish i was able to hang on for 22nd and i was happy with that because it blew up bad! we had 75 at the start and less then 40 when the race was over it was a 30+ 3/4 50min one of the hardest I have done ever. I felt good about it after i was one of three of my teammates left at the end we were strung out single file most of the time!
    This will happen fairly often at the end of 3/4/5 races - i.e. it comes apart on the last lap or 2.

    As a newer rider I'd focus on developing threshold power instead of sprint and anaerobic power. If you have a high level of aerobic fitness you can just stay seated near the front and power into the wind for a high placing when the race blows apart.

    I'm not saying sprinting and anaerobic power aren't important because they are; it's just that lot of newer riders think they need to work on both of these things when they are consistently placing 10-20 when in reality most of them actually need to train FTP in order to put themselves in better position for a 1-5 placing.

  12. #12
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    Like fallzboater said also try a lower gear in the sprints. Took me a while to work out that im better kicking hard off wheels in a lower gear than alot of other people use, and click up if i know im gonna spin it out too far.

  13. #13
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    I've been working on improving my sprint lately, as you've described the field can really come apart towards the end of a race. To simulate how tired I might be I've been sprinting at the end of all of my intervals. Hill repeats? End with a sprint. Tabatas? End with a sprint. 2 X 20's? End with a sprint. It hurts but my results have improved greatly since last year.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDUC8-or
    I've been working on improving my sprint lately, as you've described the field can really come apart towards the end of a race. To simulate how tired I might be I've been sprinting at the end of all of my intervals. Hill repeats? End with a sprint. Tabatas? End with a sprint. 2 X 20's? End with a sprint. It hurts but my results have improved greatly since last year.
    Mark Cav goes on a 4 hour ride and then does a single all out sprint. Apparently it works for him.

  15. #15
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    sprinting is largely genetic and based on what type of muscle fiber you are born with. I've never done any sprint specific training and that is my strongest point. Have you discovered your strength yet? Best thing to do would be get to the front so that your sitting only a couple wheels back coming out of the last turn and then just give it everything you have.

  16. #16
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    The actual ability to sprint is less important than being fit enough to get to the spot near the front that you want and keeping it without gassing yourself out.

    I once did a sprint repeat workout with a really strong cat. 2 in my area (I was a 4 at the time). I beat him easily 8 out of 8 times and he thought I was a great sprinter. I explained to him that the reason he won races was because by the time I uncorked my sprint, he had been finished for 5-10 minutes.
    Côte du Petit Pas d'Ane - Best climb name ever.

  17. #17
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    During the past month or so I really ramped up my sprint training, not so much to improve my power but to improve what I have in the tank at the end of a race. Every time I was totally gassed at the end of a workout I would pick a landmark and sprint for it. If I had anything left after the landmark I'd keep sprinting. I probably wasn't improving my top end much since I wasn't fresh, and like I said before it hurt pretty bad every time I would sprint, but I was trying to simulate how I would feel at the end of a race.

    I got to put my training to the test today, there was a road race and I held on to the end. There was lots of jockeying for position and some squirrely riders bumping around (I'm still a 5) when I decided I'd had enough and went for it. I didn't have ideal positioning and came from about 12th wheel and passed everyone, I was passed with about 30 yards to go and gained a bit but finished less than half a wheel behind the winner. Turns out I led the winner out, he said he saw me go and left his teammates wheel for mine, I would have liked to get the win, but I'll settle for 2nd.

    Compared to last year I've probably lost top end, but if you're not around or completely gassed at the end there's not much to sprint for.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDUC8-or
    Compared to last year I've probably lost top end, but if you're not around or completely gassed at the end there's not much to sprint for.
    I've got a fairly strong sprint and can hold it for decent distance BUT I don't have the endurance to be in the front to use it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbiker3111
    Weight lifting can help (but lets not argue about that). Standing (track) starts help build strength. Practicing sprint intervals helps top end power. Anaerobic intervals (1-2 minutes) help you build power so you don't fade at the end of a long run up. Most of all, you need to practice getting to the front of a race and holding your position, otherwise power doesn't matter.

    Boonen schooled Farrar at Eneco last year despite having considerably less speed. He did it all with positioning and technique.
    be careful doing standing starts on road bikes...more than one track sprinter i race with has had chains break while doing these. do them from a rolling start, maybe 10mph min if you make good power. i only do standing starts on my track bike w/ all 1/8" drivetrain parts.
    i work for some bike racers...
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    oh, those belong in another forum

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justplianfast
    Hello,
    what do you guys do to increase your Top end speed (sprint) I have the 20-30 crit placing mastered but I haven't tried getting up close to the front at the end! so as far as a sprint don't think I have one lol! any help would be great training wise, that is not wise
    Everything they all said plus -

    • Leadout Sprints - you and one or two buddies. The first guy leads it out (he calls the "finish line"), sprints balls-out and the other guy(s) have to come around him. No tactics - just 100% drag race.
    • Steve Bauer Sprints (top Canadian pro in the '80's) - get two landmarks about 300 metres apart (trees, roadsigns). Get a buddy with a stopwatch (my wife used to do it for me) at the finish line. Sprint balls-out from the first line. The watch starts when you get out of the saddle at line 1. Keep repeating (roll slowly back to the start) until three times in a row are 10% above the time for the second sprint. Quit for the day and ride home slowly. Repeat every 2nd week.
    .
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