When do tactics become playing dirty?

We completed the first stage of Panorama this morning, a 4 day cycling race in Nelspruit, one of the most beautiful but also most hilly areas in SA. If it weren’t for cramps, we would have stood a superb chance for coming third in the mixed category. We call some of the things we do tactics, and I’m all for tactics since it makes a race extremely exciting. I do question certain tactics though, and my husband always tells me that I’m too nice and should be more aggressive if I want to do better.

Examples of the tactics I question are:
We’re all sitting in one straight line drafting, and then a person will come sit next to you so closely that they basically intimidate you into the wind and/or eventually towards the back of the bunch if you don’t have the balls to grit your teeth and hold the position even when handlebars start touching.
A person from another team creates a gap between them self and another rider when you’re sitting behind them so they can then suddenly accelerate in the hopes that you won’t be able to close the gap and then loose the bunch.

So yes, ask any cyclist and they’ll call it tactics. Ask me, and I’ll call it dirty play. Today we were strong enough so that none of these worked, and usually that is my motto – I’ll get strong enough so it doesn’t matter.


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