Draft Legal Triathlon Racing | Everything You Need To Know
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Draft Legal Triathlon Racing | Everything You Need To Know

October 28, 2019


(electronic dance music) – draft-legal triathlon racing used to be almost exclusive
to the elite athletes, but now they’re open to the
age group competitors, too. As of 2016, the
International Triathlon Union have made their age group sprint
world champs, draft-legal. So, what is draft-legal triathlon? Well, it’s basically what I’m doing here. I’m drafting off of our GTN
test dummy, Jon Cannings. Whereas some races regulate how far you can be behind another athlete, in draft-legal racing, you
can get as close as you like. And by sitting in this slip-stream and benefiting from the draught, you can save yourself a
massive 30% in workload, which is quite a lot, really. Put up the pace a bit, Jon. Right, there are a couple
of main differences when it comes to
equipment, and you’re going to have to leave your beloved
TT bike at home for this one. You have to ride a road
bike, like this one, in draft-legal racing, and that’s because when you’re riding in a
group or close to others, you need to be able to react quickly and manoeuvre the bike easily. Road bikes are much better for handling, and getting to the brakes
from the handlebars is much quicker than
from some long aero bars. However, that doesn’t mean
you can’t get yourself into a fast and aerodynamic position. Now, the elites can use some
short, clip-on aero bars, like the ones on my bike right now, but the ITU rules currently state that you can’t use them for
age group draft-legal races, but, that said, they may
well be introduced in time. It is relatively new to age group racing. So, for now, you can still get
yourself into a fast position by getting onto the
drops, and tucking down. Lastly, a small rule,
but it could put a stop to your racing, make sure
your bar ends are plugged. They do fall out from time-to-time, so check prior to the race. The exciting element
to draft-legal racing, is that it is unpredictable. You can’t simply go to your ideal pace as you would in non drafting, you have to go with the pace
of others, to an extent. So that means making bike
packs out of the swim, so it’s no hanging around in T1. Once your on the bike, the aim is to form a group with others,
to share the workload. And the idea is that you travel faster than you would on your
own by each taking a turn on the front, and then
recovering as you pull off. And if you’re at the head of the race, you’ll be wanting to maintain,
or even increase your lead, but if you’re in a chasing group, you’ll want to work
together to close that gap. This sharing of the workload
is called through and off, or better known as, chain-gang. Now, one rider should work
their way through the group, and then pull off at the front. But it’s important that that rider eases off when they get to the front, so that they drop themselves
back and through the group. Now, if you’re riding in a bigger group, when you get to the back of the group, you should then begin
to accelerate to re-join that line that works it’s
way back up to the front. If you don’t accelerate,
you’ll find it hard to close that gap again. Now, getting people to take a turn and do some work is easier said than done. And just sitting in and
then surging through is only going to deter
people from doing some work, or even splinter the group. You gonna do some work then, Jon? This is getting a little technical now, but keeping an eye on the
direction of the wind, can make a big difference
to the pace of the group. Essentially, the idea is that you protect the line that is coming through and driving the pace of the group. For example, if the wind
is coming from the right, you pull off at the
front into the wind side in a clockwise motion, and
if it’s coming from the left, you’d rotate anti-clockwise. Although you’re all racing one another, you’re working as a team in the pack, so communication is key. Try to encourage one another,
call out if any gaps are opening, or if you need
to change the direction you’re rotating in due to the wind. And if you simply cannot take a turn, it’s okay to momentarily sit a turn out and recover at the back, but do let the other riders know what you’re doing. Hopefully that’s got you up to speed with how draft-legal triathlon works. To see more videos like
this, you can subscribe to GTN by clicking on the globe. And to see our TT vs. road
bike descending video, just click down here, and to see an essential bike skills video, just click down here. Alright Jon, do you want to do a turn now? Let’s go.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Have been watching all the gtn vids. I thought this one the best so far. It was informative, interesting, and humorous. Keep up the good wotk!

  2. The rule that most competitors miss, when entering a draft-legal race (non agegroup), is that the wheels must be UCI approved (or standard alloy wheels). Had to turn away some 14 or 15 bikes on the bike checkin of our national championships this year.

  3. I have done some draft legal races and everyone was swearing at me for not taking turns, but i'm not a very good cyclist and have a decent run so i always had to save energy on the bike

  4. Bad info. Being on the hoods with your forearms parallel to the ground is supposed to be more aero than grabbing the drops. The drops are for keeping you low when you sprint.

  5. Video seems to imply that riders push their way to the front before peeling off. I agree with the way you describe that riders circulate, moving off towards the wind. However, isn't it clearer to say that riders should get to the front because the rider at the front moves off and drifts to the back before rejoining the line. The new front rider then pulls until he/she moves off. No surges to get to the front and no speeding up when it's your turn to pull. Isn't that more efficient?

  6. Really informative video and personally I'd like to see more draft legal races (in the UK). I just got back from Rotterdam had my most enjoyable race for a long time in the 30-34 AG sprint. Big packs seem not to form in AG racing since, unlike the elites, there are big differences in people's swim times, even at the world champs. Personally I made up 22 places on the bike and the tactics of who to work with, who to drop, when to sit in etc etc added load of extra excitement compared to the 'time trial' of non-drafting races.

  7. Time for a video on how the training for draft-legal and non-drafting races is different. The relative importance of running and especially swimming in draft-legal triathlon is one thing, but the pattern of the effort on the bike (more interval-like with group riding versus steady in TT riding, esp. on a flat course) means a draft-legal race can kill your legs if you're following a non-drafting plan (and vice versa).

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