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How to take control in crosswinds and use the conditions to your advantage

British Cycling has produced a video supporting its Racesmart campaign that shows you how to race in strong winds.

Strong winds can be a tactical challenge and often have a big influence on the outcome of races at all levels. In the video, former professional rider Daniel Lloyd explains on-the-bike strategies, and talks through positioning, effort levels and equipment choices to help you take control in these conditions and use them to your advantage.

Positioning is crucial in crosswinds and the video concentrates on getting it right. If you’re not positioned correctly you’ll never move from the back of the bunch to the front in a crosswind, no matter how strong you are.

The video advises you to study the route and the forecast ahead of time so you know where the wind is likely to come from and how strong it will be, allowing you to plan accordingly.

It also tells you the best position to ride in an echelon in order to get the most shelter from the wind, and how to ensure you get into that position just before the start of a section where a crosswind is likely to make itself felt.

You might want to make equipment choices to take account of crosswinds; the video suggests that you swap from a deep-section front wheel to something shallower to make your bike’s handling more manageable.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

4 comments

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mingmong [253 posts] 1 year ago
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This is an easy one. Basically, find out which way the wind is blowing and then cycle in that direction. Have a good weekend  4

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andybnk [97 posts] 1 year ago
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These Racesmart videos do actually seem to be having an effect! Racing part of a series the other day and very suddenly there is a lot more indicating direction and talking going on than the weeks before! Hopefully it can cut down on stupid crashes and keep more people safe, not good for bike shops and kit manufacturers if everyone stays upright all the time though!

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mrmo [2013 posts] 1 year ago
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andybnk wrote:

Hopefully it can cut down on stupid crashes and keep more people safe, not good for bike shops and kit manufacturers if everyone stays upright all the time though!

But then you can buy those bling wheels, carbon frame, EPS/Di2 and not worry about trashing it. So maybe shops won't loose out?

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jimm [6 posts] 1 year ago
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"...equipment choices to help you take control in these conditions and use them to your advantage..."

That's also easy: ride a recumbent or velomobile. Less air turbulence down there, and the 'bent position is generally more aerodynamic. You can typically use up to 30% less power than a n upright in a headwind at the same speed on flat ground (with a velomobile that is - an un-faired recumbent is probably closer to 10-15%, but still better aero than an upright).  4