Episode #56 – Criterium Racing: Tips, Tactics and Strategy

Episode #56 – Criterium Racing: Tips, Tactics and Strategy

Whether you love or hate criterium racing it’s best done with a plan to attack or sit in and sprint. This episode is all about the options you have when riding for the win. Learn the where and when to get a jump on the pack to give yourself the best chance possible at the win.

[buzzsprout episode=’107359′ player=’true’]

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There is a perception that sprinters are all egotistical hardnuts that like to take risks, and put everything below the importance of winning. Well it may be true in the PRO ranks, but the


What does this have to do with criteriums. Well if it’s going to come down to a sprint, you need to be fierce and fearless in the last few laps to jostle for position, and stay there. But, I don’t believe it’s a matter of putting safety on the line for the win. Nor do I think you need to be an alpha type of rider either. If you’re smart and can put yourself in the right spot, it can be done without the bravado of being a dangerous wanker.


The key here though is confidence. I was talking about this on Monday with my buddies in our weekly cycling accountability group. Confidence is riding like you are a contender, it’s the difference between taking that super tight gap that meant you got in the breakaway, it’s holding a wheel, it’s getting on a wheel. It also knowing that moves you’re making on race day, are the right ones.


So today I’m going to cover some of the basics, and discuss the best tips, tactics and strategy when your riding for the win. Listen in to learn about:

  • The rules of criteriums
  • Your best two options for the win
  • Having a flexible race plan
  • Attacking
  • Lactic acid head
  • What to do in a break
  • What to do when the cat and mouse begins
  • Last lap attacking
  • Committing
  • Sprinting
  • Conserve energy
  • Picking a wheel or lead out train
  • Why you should race to the last corner



Photo Credit: decalitre on Flickr


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  • Darren

    Thanks Damian for another great podcast. Funny you should mention Damien Howson in the same episode as Crits.

    It was of course he, who led the breakaway (with some guy named Jens Voigt) for most of the People’s Choice Crit, at this year’s Tour Down Under.

    • I’m interested to see what OGE do with him (Howson). There are a lot of young cats in that team, but I hope he gets to have a go at some smaller races. He is an exciting prospect once he has developed a bit further. I will definitely be keeping an eye on him.