Greetings from seat 15B of Continental flight 34, Denver to Houston. It’s leg No. 1 of a two-flight journey that will deposit me in Chihuahua, Mexico, a few days ahead of next week’s seven-stage Vuelta a Chihuahua.
I can’t tell you a whole lot about the race at this point, except that it has a lot of climbing (the north-central Mexican state of Chihuahua is roughly along the same latitude line as Colorado and the Rocky Mountains), Garmin-Chipotle is sending a team, and I think I’ll get to see Copper Canyon, a gap in the earth so grand it apparently dwarfs Arizona’s Grand Canyon.
To the casual observer, road racing looks like an individual sport. Racers and educated spectators, however, know this is not the case at all. The sport is really like a complex chess game on wheels, in which attacks, blocks, and sacrifices are constant, right up to the finish line. This is most obvious when watching a top professional team, such as the U.S. Postal squad, during the Tour de France. However, by following some basic guidelines, even an amateur club team can employ team strategy and tactics for one-day road races and criteriums.
KNOW YOUR ROLESIn laying out the team’s strategy