Yesterday in the Classics opener Omloop Het Nieuwsblad we saw the world champion Alaphillipe launch some incredible attacks.
Being able to raise the pace quickly and “attack” is one of the most important abilities you need to develop and continue to improve in cycling.
Here are some techniques Alaphillipe used to make his attacks work that you can use to make your attacks more effective both attacking and responding to attacks.
I. Making the attack:
a. Choose a side of the road that is open and traffic free. Start your effort towards the back of the group so that you have more speed than the front of the group has when you pass them. This is to try and establish a gap. When attacking the gap is the only initial objective you should have.
b. Commit to your effort and go all in for AT LEAST 30 seconds without looking back.
c. After 30 seconds or more look behind to see your gap. If there is a gap, ANY gap, keep going. If there is no gap, sit up and get ready for the counter attack or to try another go at the attack.
II. Responding the the attack:
a. You must decide to either COVER the attack or LET THE ATTACK GO. Not chase it down! The chase-down is only reserved for moments of desperation. As you can see in this video, two riders covered the attack while the riders on the front CONTROL THE PACE.
b. If you have decided to cover the attack you must commit. Do not go halfway and look back to see a rider on your wheel, flick your elbow, and ask them to pull. Stay focused on the wheel you are covering until you get there.
c. If you chose to not cover, keep the pace the same at the front of the group. Watch the break and see how much time they are gaining. Try and find the pace where you can hold them. Share this pace with the other riders at the front and ask them to help you hold this gap. Decide if you are going to bring the break back with those in the group. If you are, discuss the timing of when and make sure it aligns with everyone’s objectives. Too soon and you risk another break forming. Too close to the finish and you risk being spent at the finish line.