When competing in a large circuit or criterium its almost impossible to maintain your position if you aren’t at least in the top 10 of the peloton. It never fails in one lap you are able to move up a few spots only to loose 3 more on the next lap. While there are many tactics to help prevent this from happening often it’s sill going to happen.
I have found that once you are one of the top ten riders this problem lessens significantly. So how do you get in to the top 10 and better yet how do you maintain the position. I hate to tell you that you are going to have to work hard and use your brain to get into the top ten. Once you are there you have to be aggressive to keep it.
I am not talking about throwing punches but you are going to have to defend your front wheel like a wolverine and develop nerves of steel. When someone inevitably flies up the side of the peloton from the back they are trying to clear everyone who has worked hard to get there current spot. I do not have a problem with this but if I am one of the top 10 riders and this is not my teammate or a trusted competitor then I am going to close that door ASAP. Especially if believe they are a physical or competitive threat to my teammates or me.
I will do this one of a few ways. If its early in the race I will pull out of the pace line and get out in front of them and ever so slowly slow down with out losing sight of the top 10. I will also tighten up the line to ensure that I am riding no more than 2 inches off the back wheel of the rider in front of me. If I have learned anything, too many entry-level racers have club ride mentality and have not learned racing etiquette. I along with the other in the top ten unless some says shut this “a$$ h*13” down will let them blow by and take the front of the pace line where we will work him like the dog he is and we will sit in. When they come off the front we don’t let them back in. Even at the Cat 4/5 level of races there are some tactics. ☺