Are you a sprinter?

These are the riders with the huge thighs. Their muscles are mostly made of fast-twitch (used for short, explosive power delivery) fibres and they can blast faster than anyone for up to 300m. They often look like their legs are about to burst out of their lycra shorts. Quite often, these guys are not the tallest (Mark Cavendish is 1.75m and Dylan Groenewegen 1.77m, for example). This concentrates their power in their legs where it is needed. But this is not always the case: Marcel Kittel is 1.88m and André “The Gorilla” Greipel is 1.84m.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen from Amsterdam beating the pack in Tour de France sprint. Credit: Cor Vos

Training rides for sprinters are often relatively relaxed, until you actually hit the sprints, which are always at full capacity. Ride as fast as you can between three or four roadside lampposts, then take a rest, then do it again until the quality of your sprints starts to fade. This can be a good way to start. (Here are some training tips from Marcel Kittel.) Greipel, Groenewegen and Cavendish are all ‘pure’ sprinters who excel in this type of cycling. Other riders are able to get over the hills and still keep in touch with the front of the race, however, and Peter Sagan is a good example of this. It is said that you are more able to train yourself to be a sprinter than any other kind of rider. We suggest you start in the winter with some serious ‘leg days’ at the gym, then hit the lamppost sprints in the spring, if you fancy your chances.