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Question regarding sprint speeds.(12 posts)

Question regarding sprint speeds.Zonic Man
Oct 18, 2003 4:02 PM
In a sprint today, I topped out at 35.3mph...this was racing someone else, pancake flat road, smooth, no head/tail wind, etc.

Is that considered "fast"?

What do most crit racers hit? 5s on down to 1s?

World Class pro sprinters? What mph do they hit?
re: Question regarding sprint speeds.zero85ZEN
Oct 18, 2003 5:49 PM
The big boys tack about 10 more mph onto your speed of 35.3mph. So Super Mario would have beaten you by only about 250 meters.


But that's faster than I can go...I'm a skinny climber.
That's pretty fast for us mortals...rwbadley
Oct 18, 2003 7:00 PM
In a racing situation it may top out a bit higher due to drafting and adrenaline affect, but the speed you hit is certainly fast.
re: Question regarding sprint speeds.russw19
Oct 18, 2003 8:20 PM
With that speed you would win a few Cat 4 races and be competitive in some Cat 3 sprints too.

However the 2's and 1's would have you by about 3 to 5 mph if not more.

But most of sprinting isn't top speed... acceleration and "jump" is far more important. It's being able to accelerate from 40 to 43 mph while coming around the guy in front of you with 70 meters to a finish line that will make a difference.

Here's a little anecdote from the pro peleton to put this in perspective.
Right now, of all the top name pros, the fastest in terms of pure top speed right now are Robbie McEwen, Baden Cooke, and Oscar Friere. However when paired against guys with blazing acceleration like Cippolini or Pettachi, they tend to lose. If Cippolini or Pettachi (or guys like that) can get on the wheel of riders like McEwen, they can come around them in the last several meters of the race. In a shorter sprint, Cipo wins, in a longer sprint, McEwen wins because he's faster. So that is why team tactics play such a large role. A good team can determine the length of the sprint to help their teammate. Which is also why the Cat 1's and 2's would beat you. Team help.

Damn, that's hauling ass!Zonic Man
Oct 18, 2003 10:23 PM
I don't know about winning races though! Thanks for all the good info, this goes to everyone!

I was in a group of about 5 of us, pulled up to another big dude in the group, said, "race to the 'v'?" He was drafting, I was just outside the paceline at about 24 mph or so...maybe a bit slower. He jumped at about 400 meters, I followed. Pulled past him in the last 100 meters.

I was running a hill cassette, with only a 13. I think I coulda still gone faster with a better leadout and a 12 or 11 tooth cassette.

But damn those pros...see, they're pulling at about 33 mph up until 500 meters...that's insane! THEN they break, crap!

I'll be trying my first crits next year, I think I SHOULD do pretty good on some flat courses. Hills? I'd be done for!
Oct 19, 2003 5:43 AM
I think you're mixed up, where the heck did you hear this? Petacchi and Cipo are not know for there acceleration, but rather a long powerful sprint in which the others can't come around them. In watching most sprints you will see Petacchi or Cipo come off a leadout and wind it up so nobody can come around them, and you'll see guys like McEwen are always behind Petacchi and Cipo, waiting and then trying to accelerate around them towards the end. You rarely ever see McEwen lead out the sprint, you rarely ever see him until he pops out from behind the others, nor do you see Petacchi or Cipo on his wheel.
No, I'm not...russw19
Oct 19, 2003 5:47 PM
When have you ever seen Cipo sprinting for the line at the head of the race with 400 meters to the line? Never! That is exactly why he has the leadout train that he does. Their job is to keep the pace high enough that only a select few (read as Cipo and only Cipo) have the power and acceleration to come around them. That is also exactly why guys like McEwen and Cooke are behind him... because he out accelerates them to the line. Cipo is not fast, he's quick. There is a difference. McEwen is fast, but not as quick. He needs a long drag sprint to win. And he needs Cipo's leadout to fail if he is going to beat him. Watch the races more carefully... it all plays out right in front of you if you watch. Also, read what other riders have to say, as that is where my info is coming from.

But your own anecdote actually describes what I am saying better than what you are. Cipo and Pettachi come off a leadout (already at a blazing speed) and wind it up (out accelerate the others) to the line. If the sprint was long and Pettachi or Cipo were on a rider like Cooke or McEwen's wheel, they most likely wouldn't be able to come out and around them. Those two are simply faster. If they get to top speed, they are faster than Cipo, and he won't be able to get around them... that's why he follows his own team's leadout, as they know how fast to pull him to the line to allow for him to still have enough power left to jump away and clear of the field.

Try a back search on for Flyod Landis' race diaries, he talks about this when he talks about Pettachi's emergence at this year's Giro.

2's and 1's doing 40.3 mph, if not more???filly
Oct 19, 2003 8:35 PM
Seems pretty high. I can't say, as I'm not a Cat 2 or 1, but I've seen many of them sprint, and I wouldn't say they were doing those speeds. At least not out here in San Diego...must be in the water.
re: Question regarding sprint speeds.53T
Oct 19, 2003 5:10 PM
I sprint at about that speed (or 2 mph faster on good days)by myself in training. I just finished 2.5 years in Cat 5, and was one of the best pure sprinters in the Cat here in Massachusetts. For what it's worth. I'll let you know about the 4s next season!
A top domestic pro sprinter...TFerguson
Oct 19, 2003 6:32 PM
Jonas Carney says he does about 42.
Yes, for Cat 5 and flat with no wind.bimini
Oct 20, 2003 5:02 AM
It's a respectable peak speed for a Cat 5 race with a flat finish and no tail wind.

May not win always win the race but will make for a good finish.

At a road race I was in early in the year, the Pros, CAT 1,2 had a seperate race and us lesser mortals got to watch the finish.

It was a long 5% downhill finish with no wind. It was a flat course so there were no successful breakaways. A guy from Seven-up and a guy from Trek (no, Lance was not there it was a Trek B or C team) pulled a strong lead in the last 50 yards. (7-up won). They announced on the PA system that the radar gun picked up 55 MPH!!!

That is FAST.
re: Question regarding sprint speeds.MShaw
Oct 20, 2003 9:46 AM
You're moving along pretty well at 35mph.

BUT just to put a point on it, the Thursday eve Fiesta Island ride does about that every lap of the 10 lap "race" on the downwind leg around the island. Its hard, but if you're in shape and drafting, you may be able to come around the train for a bit.

There was a ride here in the North Co. of San Diego (the Triathlon Ride Wednesdays) that went through Camp Pendleton and up to San Onofre. They used to do about those speeds too, into a side/headwind. Then again, when guys like Chris Horner show up you know that there's gonna be a hammerfest! I've done the ride once. Got dropped at the first of the two gates getting into the state park. Last I saw of the ride till they came back at me... Since 9/11, Camp Pendleton has been closed to cyclists. The way around Pendleton is on the 5's shoulder, so that ride is gone temporarily...

So... the trick is to be able to accelerate around whatever is in your way to get to the line regardless of how fast the pace is. Goes back to my favorite saying when racing "let some other sucker pull."

The other hard part about field sprinting is setting up on the right wheels. What looks like a good leadout can evaporate in the last few corners. I've been behind more than a few like that... Since I haven't had a team around me in a long time, I've had to learn to pay attention in the field in the last few laps. Figure out what teams are actually organized enough to lead out their sprinter and sit on their train.

IIRC, the world class track sprinters are hitting 70+kph for the last 200m. Someone may want to verify this.

That help?