Sprint Skills & Fitness
Maillot Vert Sprinter’s Jersey
36“If you brake, you don’t win.” Mario Cipollini, Sprinter Extraordinaire
To win races as a result of a sprint should be in the skills arsenal of every amateur racer. Especially with America’s preponderance for the criterium, you can’t win races if you don’t feel comfortable negotiating and executing the sprint. Even if your clear abilities are stronger as another type of racer, to move up the ranks and be useful to a team, you have to know what goes on in the fight for the finish.
At the pro level, fighting for position at strategic portions of a course is similar to the mentality, physiology, and technicality of a sprint finish. As a “non-sprinter,” how can you perform a proper lead-out or be well-placed heading into a narrow place or into a climb unless you understand timing, distances, positioning, and can bang through corners faster than a speeding car? You must become familiar with all the sprint dynamics in the lower categories first: it just gets harder the higher your rank.
It’s true that top road sprinters tend to have a higher composition of fast twitch fibers – a faster contraction yielding quicker speeds – and emphasize speed endurance. Sprinters tap into the energy systems fueled by ATP and anaerobic glycolysis. Yet there’s no point doing sprint training if you can’t make it to the finish to use it, so a large proportion of a road sprinter’s work is aerobic.
Perhaps just as important as the genetics is the sprinter mentality. Winners of the green jersey seem to have a higher degree of geospatial awareness and comfortability in navigating narrow moving channels. They not only find the flow, good speed specialists become the flow. It’s like the clutch player that gets the pass with 1 second on the clock, down by just enough to win if he scores. The true sprinter LOVES the fight and looks forward to that moment in the final kilometers when fangs drop, eager to chomp on the flesh that opposes a perfect line to victory. Cipo said it best, ““We are taking risks every day on twisty and slippery final sections.”
Prayer for Sprint Fitness & Skills
“A nation has invaded… powerful and without number; it has…the fangs of a lioness.” 37Joel 1:6
We are thrilled by a sporting battle. We confess we brake for fear of invasion. We ask for top speed savvy and blessings on Sprinters.
Ponder Can I learn how to see green? Affirm I gain the fitness and moves to be among the 38Sprinters Seven. Watch the surges and where you put yourself; think like a hungry lion chasing prey.
36So many sources have used this quote, it’s difficult to know who first recorded it. There is no doubt, however, that this is the sort of quip that would come from Super Mario.
37The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
38Sprinters Seven is my term for that exclusive group which trades wins via sprinting. Almost invariably, a perfect bunch of speedsters separate themselves from everyone else. You’ll see the same seven or so names all season in a sprint contest. They know how to surf the surges in such a way as to wind up in the final decisive move, as well as take advantage of their genetic dispositions.