Last Updated : 9 April, 2015
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1. Keep together. Front two riders should always be in line. If you are a wheel ahead (Half Wheeling)- slow a little by putting less power on the pedal. Pulling your breaks lightly can have a knock on effect down the line and cause the riders at the rear to break hard or touch wheels.

2. Front riders are the eyes of the group.

3. Front riders should warn of:-

Hazards ahead
Change of speed
Change of direction
Manhole covers, etc
Parked vehicles
Approaching vehicles

Warnings should be both verbal and by pointing and given in plenty of time.

4. Any warnings or directions given by the lead riders should be repeated by the following riders and passed down the group from pair to pair.

5. After any interruption in the ride, e.g. road junctions, roundabouts, stopping for any reason, after a climb or descent, the lead riders should make sure that all riders are back in the group before moving off at normal pace. It is OK to keep moving, and is preferable to keep moving, but slowly until everyone is back together. But don't make dropped riders have a long chase to get back on, it just makes them even more tired.

Exceptions are:

. When riders are a long way down, then stopping is an option to consider.

· Optionally and only upon mutal agreement of the riders tehgroup may be split mid ride to accommodate different abilities. A suitably experienced leader must be present in both groups in order to safely complete the ride.

. When the route involves negotiating roundabouts, road junctions, etc, then waiting at a corner, etc, may be necessary to ensure dropped riders follow the correct route.

. If novice or unfit riders are present, avoid letting them ride for long periods by themselves on hard sections of the route, i.e. long hills or climbs.

. Ride in line with the rider in front of you; do not overlap wheels (halfwheel)

. If gaps appear in the group, warn the riders in front and request them to ease down. Avoid letting large gaps open.

. Try to ride as a close knit group, including most climbs.

. When climbing in a group and you cannot hold the wheel in front, do not let a gap open up in front of you - let the rest of the group behind you move forward to keep the group together.

. Communicate with other riders. If you notice gaps occurring because the pace at the front is too high, ask the riders at the front to ease off. Keep the group together.

. Change riders at the front frequently, stronger riders doing longer turns, weaker riders shorter.

. Rear riders should warn of any overtaking vehicles on narrow roads, or instruct the group to form single file to help following traffic when necessary.

. Rear riders should warn the group if any riders are dropped

The Importance of Pointing Out Holes; Not Just Calling Them.

aIf you are riding in a group, whether in a race, a leisure ride or a club run, we all know that it is nearly impossible to see potholes, stones, broken glass, large puddles or other obstacles when you aren't at the front.

As cyclists like to keep each other safe clearly it is important that the riders at the front communicate these hazards to the riders behind them.

Traditionally these hazards were physically pointed out to riders behind, but in the last five to ten years it has become the fashion to shout ‘HOLE LEFT', ‘HOLE RIGHT' etc. rather than point.  Hopefully I can convince you of the importance of the point rather than the shout.

Loud or sudden shouts in a bunch can startle riders and can cause more problems than the original hazard; but the main reason the point is much better than the shout is because it gives so much more information to the riders behind.  A shout of ‘HOLE LEFT' gives only a vague idea of where the hole is and no idea of its size, when the riders will pass it or its length along the road.  A point, if done correctly, gives the riders behind all this information.  Here's how:

The position of the hazard. Pothole

This is simple.  The riders at the front of the group move to avoid the hazard then point to exactly where the hazard will pass, ie. It will pass directly below where they point to so the riders behind know exactly where it is.  This is important not only for avoiding something but if riders aren't sure exactly where a hazard is they may move more than they need to avoid it and we all know more movement in a bunch can mean other issues are created

When the riders will pass it and its length along the road.

The rider who is pointing out the hazard should hold their hand in the point until the hazard is completely passed.  Then they will return their hand to the bars and re-adjust their position on the road.  This is particularly important when there is a hole which is long and thin and isn't continuous (usually formed when resurfaced strips along a road start breaking up at the edges).  If this hazard is called out a rider behind can think it has passed and return to their original position on the road only to find themselves riding into a long broken trench.  I know of several broken collar bones caused by this happening.

If a hazard is particularly dangerous, such as a particularly deep hole or a large area of very poor surface that you want to make sure everyone avoids, there are several extra things you can do.  You may wish to move further across the road away from the hazard, to give those behind a view of it, and perhaps add a call of ‘HOLE LEFT' or ‘HOLE RIGHT' to the point, but the call should never replace the point.  If you do add a call make sure you do so in a clear and calm way, take care not to startle other riders so no top of the lungs yells.

Any had signals that the front riders do must be copied by all the other riders in the group so everyone is looked after, not just those in the first half of the group.


Advice for Race Riders and Managers from Cycling Ireland

As we approach the first stage races of the 2015 Road Racing season, some will be competing in a stage race for the first time while others may not have the appreciation of the immense workload stage race organisers take on to make their event as professional as possible.

Below are 10 points that can be of use to stage race competitors and also one day race competitors that will help avoid any hassle or penalties and enable them to concentrate on the race itself:

  1. Be on time for event registration and sign on for each of the stages. Riders who are late for sign on disrupt the flow of the event organisation and wastes time searching for riders. There is no requirement to sign on for a Time Trial. Report to the start line 5 minutes prior to your start to avoid the race organisation chasing late riders if they decide to do so.
  2. Team managers – Be on time for the team managers meeting. A check is made at the start of the meeting to ensure everybody is present for the briefing. If you miss the check by the Chief Commissaire, you will be starting the stage race at the rear of the cavalcade and putting your riders at a disadvantage.
  3. Easter weekend stage races are normally over 4 stages. With races sizes being upwards of 200 riders, that's up to 800 riders that the results crew need to place in the correct order by reviewing various footage throughout the weekend, and that doesn't include KOH's and Primes during the stages. The amount of delay and frustration that a results crew can endure because of riders not displaying their numbers correctly due to Gilets and extra garments covering their numbers is unfair as they try to complete a job and end up having to resort to process of elimination in trying to identify riders with covered numbers.
  4. If a rider has a problem in a peloton, raise the hand to indicate you have an issue. The Commissaire travelling behind will call up your team car/neutral service. Only when the car is in position should you drop out of the bunch of riders to go to the car. This prevents you wasting energy cycling outside of the slipstream of the peloton. Help the Commissaire out by indicating the nature of the issue. If it's feeding, raise a bottle. If its clothing, hold up the clothing. If it's a puncture, indicate whether it is a front or rear as it could save you vital seconds standing at the side of the road. All service takes place on the Left hand side of the road for safety reasons and also behind the Commissaires car unless otherwise directed by the Commssaire.
  5. Stage Race organisers will have toilet facilities for the riders and officials to use. There should be no reason why they cannot be used so bear this in mind with your planning before the stage start and during the stage so as not to upset the passing public.
  6. The same will apply towards the discarding of litter. If it can be taken out of your pocket there is no reason why it cannot be put back in the pocket again or shoved up the jersey to deal with later by handing into the team car. The image of cycling relies on an improvement in the behaviour in this area.
  7. Respect and give way to other road users whilst warming up around the start area. This is critical to the image of the event in the organisers local area and cycling in general. Allow the motorcycle marshals to pass by. If you see that they are struggling to pass the peloton, rally your fellow cyclists to ensure everybody gives them the gap they need to get by and move ahead to their next junction to assist with your own safety. Failure to do this will only result in problems for you further down the road.
  8. Pay attention and study the race manuals and the instructions being given to Team Managers at the managers meeting. The manuals should be available for download in the days prior to the stage race start. Time Limits may apply to your stage race. This is not so much to make the race harder for the rider but for logistical reasons of attempting to maintain levels of marshal cover and distribute the stage results within a reasonable time following the stage. If you are dropped from the peloton, the onus is on the rider to keep racing until the end to ensure they finish with the time limit.
  9. If your stage race has a Time Trial, only one back number is required compared to two required for road races. While you must wear your team jersey that is identical to your teammates, with the Commissaires permission for a Time Trial only, a plain skinsuit may be worn bearing the manufacturer's logo only in an area of 25cm 2 on each leg and the upper chest. No National Team skinsuits are permitted unless competing on the National Team in that event.
  10. For prize presentations, you are at a stage race that generally carries more media coverage than One Day Races. Do your club/team a good turn by wearing your club/team clothing to the prize presentations. It looks far more professional for you, your club/team and the event promoting your club or sponsor rather than wearing a standard tracksuit.

If riders do not adhere to any of the above throughout the course of the stage race, they may face penalties as outlined in Cycling Irelands Scale of Penalties which can include Warning, Relegation, Time Penalty, Fine or Disqualification.

The Race Organisations, their staff and the Panel of Commissaires are all volunteers who are there to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and competitive weekends racing. To ensure the smooth running of the event, please heed their instructions and don't be afraid to offer a thank you afterwards. It can go a long way.

Safe Racing.

 College of Commissaires - Cyclng Ireland




















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