Sprinting - Bike

1.  Get into your Power Position.  Put your hands into the drops.  Get out of the saddle, get your butt up into the air.

2.  Drop your gear and plan ahead.  Make sure to drop into your sprinting gear 2 to 3 seconds before you sprint so you are ready to pounce!  You want to shift just prior to acceleration because there is often a slight delay getting the chain to drop into the last cog.  And, once you have started sprinting, it is much harder to change gears without disrupting the sprint.

Try to plan ahead all the time.  One of the worst things that could happen to you is to shift into a gear that is too big in the middle of a climb.  The chart below contains some recommended distances for planning your sprint to the finish based on the type of terrain:

Finish Line Is

Start Sprinting


125-175 meters


175-225 meters


200-275 meters

3.  Your hardest gear may not be the best.  For many of the best sprinters, a 52x11 is preferred, since it gives them the power desired while letting them get on top of the gear with greater ease.  Also, depending on the terrain, you may want easier gears.  We recommend easier gears when sprinting through curves and other technical sections of a race.  Most racers make the mistake of being in their 11cog for sprints, despite a curve, etc.  Try these sections a 12, and if the turn slows the pack enough, you will have an opportunity to jump away from them.

4.  Lean into it.  On your left leg's downstroke, you will want to lean your bike to the left, but your body weight should be on the right about 30-40 degrees.  This will maximize power while maintaining some aerodynamics--but don't worry about aerodynamics during your sprint; it's all about power, power, power!

In road sprinting, you will be throwing the bike left and right as you pump the pedals as hard as you can.  For track sprinting there is less movement due to the smaller gears.  Whatever the race type, your goal is to get on top of your gear as quickly as possible.

5.  Bump like a pro.  What do you do when you start bumping into the riders next to you?  First off, don't freak out and panic.  Secondly, don't swerve away, since you are likely to hit someone else and you will end up with the reputation of being a pushover.

When someone makes contact with you, you want to continue the contact. Use your shoulder and lean into the jerk to keep your balance.  The weight transfer should help you both maintain balance and allow for a smooth separation while maintaining your sprint speed.

Those are the sprinting basics.  Get these down and you should be able to work your way to the finish line first.