Video: What Irish riders can learn from move that won Aussie champs

Posted on: January 6th, 2019

As the elite men’s road race reached its final stages, it became clear the eventual winner was not the strongest at the front. However, he never gave up and deployed cycling’s biggest weapon; the element of surprise.


Michael Freiberg winning move at Australian champs


Michael Freiberg is a name not many Irish cyclists will know. But he’s the new Australian elite men’s road race champion.

And considering the style of racing in Ireland, especially in the A3 and A4 ranks, the manner of his victory earlier today is well worth us having a close look at.

You can see his winning attack in the clip below. Freiberg is a very accomplished road and track cyclist, having won the omnium world title on the track.

During the national road title race today in Buninyong, Victoria, he rode aggressively and was part of a breakaway early in the 185.6km event; some 16 laps of an 11.6km course with a climb each lap.

While fresher riders would catch them – including WorldTour man Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) – when the race came down to three out front on the last lap, Freiberg was there; with Meyer and Chris Harper (Team BridgeLane).

Freiberg suffered a mechanical and he was also dropped on the climb. But last time up the hill when he was dropped by Harper and Meyer, he fought hard to stay in touch.

That strongly suggested Meyer and Harper were much stronger than him; being able to distance him when the road went up.

But Freiberg never gave up; coming back at the leading pair in the final kilometre after closing a 20-second gap.

And when he caught them, as they played cat and mouse, he immediately attacked and gained a small gap.

The fact he jumped as the two other riders were stalling was crucial. He immediately gained a small gap and hit out for the finish line, with no hesitation; a glory or die effort.

The two behind didn’t fully commit to closing the gap; each clearly wanting the other to close it so close to the finish.

But Freiberg just about hung on. His fight to stay in contact with the two leaders when he was dropped kept him in it.

But his catching them by surprise gave him the winning advantage. And when he had that advantage, even though it was very small, he went for it.

With so many races in Ireland coming down to either bunch sprints or sprints from a small group, this is a tactic Irish riders should try.

The key is to judge when a stall is starting and to attack just as it starts.

You can be lucky in this moment. But the more you watch out for the stalls so you can attack, the better you will become at picking the moment.

There is no point attacking too far from the finish as it’s hard to keep it going on your own. But once you get clear, you need to hammer it.

Some riders attack and then hold a little back for the sprint in case they are caught.

But if you’re doing these efforts they way they should be done, you’ll either make it all the way or you’ll be caught and come nowhere.

Try it and see how you get on.


Winning move towards end of video