This is what it’s like in the pack at the end of a pro sprint
Nerves of steel are a mustPhoto by: Velon/Youtube
The finale of a pro race can get pretty hairy. Between the lead-out trains and riders jostling for position, there’s always quite a bit of drama.
If you’ve watched the end of a big bunch sprint, you know that things don’t always go according to plan, too. The lead-out may fail, there might be a crash, or someone might choose the wrong wheel. And if you’re stuck behind someone, you’re going to have to have “sharp elbows” to move your way back up into position. After all, there’s always that fine balance of getting to the front, but not too soon and getting in the wind. You want to start your sprint at the right time. Too early, you might falter. Too late, you might run out of road to catch up and take the win.
It’s key, of course, to understand the wind during the sprint, so you can close half the road to the rider behind you and force them to work harder to come around you. In the finale, pros ride in the gutter to keep an eye on their opponents, while trying to slingshot around at the right time.
In this stage of the UAE Tour, you can see just how tight the riders are as they get to the final kilometers of the race. Riders are jockeying for position, which means that it involves quite a bit of physical action as they squeeze by each other. It also means using your body to push ahead, and at the same time, making sure you stay upright.
Ultimately, a good sprinter needs to be fearless, only focused on getting to the right spot, at the right time, and then launching for the win.
To get a feel for the chaos, check out the clip below.