200 meters left. There are a dozen riders scattered along the road. The leading riders have left the leaders, drifting back through the pack. The pedals are spinning furiously. Suffering is etched on the faces of fast men and women.
The one who set off earlier, hoping that their go-long technique will lead them to victory, is being caught. To their right and to their left, their competitors catch them and then overtake them. 100 meters to go. The favorite is still sitting on the edge of his biggest rival.
And then, boom, the favorite darts to the right, arrives and sprints at chain speed to the line.
Victory is his. The glory is all his. And everyone watching marvels at how fast the man can sprint on a bicycle.
(Image from SWPix.com)
Sprinting is the purest form of cycling competition. Whoever reaches the line first is the winner. Simple. It is also the facet of cycling that causes the greatest adrenaline rush.
But above all, it is what we all want to improve. It doesn’t matter if we want to be the fastest sprinter in a criterium, during a Zwift race or against our friends when we race to be the first to pass the city sign, speed is addictive, and being faster is one thing to which all cyclists aspire. .
Read more: What can Zwift do for you?
Improving sprint speed and technique is now more possible than ever thanks to Zwift, with hundreds of workouts specifically aimed at a faster paced turn and countless group rides and races providing the perfect platform to train.
Arguably the fastest man on the British home criterium scene of the last decade, ex-pro Jon Mold says Zwift gives everyone the tools to go even faster than ever before.
“One of the biggest advantages that runners have now is that there are so many sessions done for sprinting, and if you stick to a plan, you can really level up your sprinting.
“There are sessions that play sprint from easy riding, and then sprint from zone 3 and zone 4, jumping from that intensity to a gas sprint.”
(Image by Alex Whitehead/SWPix.com)
The latter is key, says Mold, because most runners will need to perfect their sprint for the criteriums, races that usually last around an hour and take place on a short circuit. They are characterized by repeated short bursts of sprints with a fast and furious race to the finish line.
“If you’re doing reviews, Zwift is definitely very useful,” adds the Welshman. “You can even race the Zwift critics and they’re becoming even more like the real thing with the curves and how people approach them. It’s really starting to replicate what sprinting is really like.”
As Mold mentions, Zwift is full of races to practice sprinting, with the Champs Elysees, London Classique, and Crit City’s Bell Lap being some of our favorites.
The benefits are not only limited to the feeling of winning the race or personal best, but also extend to real-life racing. The adage that the more you practice, the better you get can never be said enough when it comes to racing.
Take part in a critical race on Zwift and you can try different things, see when it’s best to launch a sprint and how to improve your way through the pack and maintain a better position.
To better improve sprinting, runners should first see how long they can hold a sprint, as well as Review how long it takes them to reach peak power.
Then he should follow a structured training program, based on the hundreds of training sessions available, where the riders should vary the type of driving.
Practicing their VO2 max efforts will allow them to recover from sprints more easily and therefore help them reach the race line with enough energy to still sprint.
Read more: What is VO2 max, why is it important and how can you improve it?
“That’s one of those things that a lot of people miss,” says Mold. “In a crit, you’re riding in a high zone 4 before you start sprinting, so you’re working really hard and then you have to sprint at the end of a race.
“It’s important for people to practice sprinting from upper zone 3 and 4. Winter is a good time to practice this, between strength efforts and walking in a lower gear.”
The latter is often associated with going to a higher cadence, another thing that should not be overlooked in training.
Watch any sprint and you’ll notice how often the legs turn the pedals; if a good pilot has an average cadence of between 80 and 90 rpm, in the sprint it is essential to practice a higher cadence of between 110 and 120 rpm.
Of course, the most obvious workout is sprint reps. This can result in a number of different approaches, but something like 10 sprints for 20-30 seconds is good practice, with Zone 2 in between efforts.