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Date Posted: 05:14:32 06/30/03 Mon
Author: Kevin Smith
Subject: AGM Remit re grade races

I can't be at the AGM but thought I would make my comment here (on this sadly neglected discussion board) about the remit to replace all but one of the handicap races with grade races.

I haven't been racing long and freely defer to more experienced heads here but for what its worth my observations follow. I should also note that I only cycled a few vet events last season as I mixed up my racing with PNP events and a brace of fun rides.

Grade races do provide more results for publicity purposes and more winners and place getters to boost egos and encourage participation.

Winning handicap races unless you are in scratch is dismissed as being the result of the handicapping rather than your ability. If you are in a group other than scratch and manage a race winning breakaway you are a 'burglar'.

However, handicap races do force cyclists to work together and race harder than might otherwise be necessary.

Grade races with only a handful of riders can turn into tame affairs where there is no incentive to race hard as faux breakaways are chased down quickly, then the pace drops again and it all comes down to a bunch sprint. Much as I love bunch sprints I think my racing would improve if I was forced to cope with more variable race tactics.

The most enjoyable race I had all season was the mass start road champs. It was a somewhat unusual race as the A graders just doddled along in the early stages making life easy for the rest of us but the result was determined to a great extent by tactical decisions rather than just brute speed. And isn't it one of the real attractions of cycling that tactics can be such a part of the sport.

So my vote would be for mostly grade races but with a couple more mass start races.

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