5 Expert Road Bike Racing Tips from ex-pro Chris Opie

There’s no denying road racing is one of toughest types of racing out there, even for the most seasoned racer. It’s mentally and physically gruelling, but this makes it even more rewarding when you cross the finish line. 

With the road season fast approaching, we caught up with ex-pro and Lapierre Ambassador, Chris Opie, to dish the dirt on his top 5 road racing tips to help give you an edge when you next head to the start line. 

So, what are Chris Opie’s Road Bike Racing Tips?

1. Positioning

The single best thing you can do to improve your performance and results in a road race is to learn how to always be in the correct position.

I’m referring to your position in the bunch, not on the bike. And the correct position is always changing, it’s constantly evolving as the terrain, conditions and race unfolds around you. 

You’re looking to do 2 things with your positioning in the bunch -  

  1. Task number one is to simply observe the race. You need to be in a position to see what is happening, who or which teams are doing what; Who’s riding well, who's saving energy. You need to be in a position to respond if necessary. 

The best place to do this is between 5-15 riders back from the front of the bunch. This is actually a lot closer to the front than many people realise, and if you aren’t careful you can quickly drift back too far. So always look to maintain that position close to the front, moving up regularly if you are behind 15th as going further back can enter you into what I like to think of as the washing machine part of the bunch where there’s a lot of jostling and changing of position.

  1. And secondly your positioning needs to conserve energy for when it matters most. It’s possible to intertwine these strategies, especially if you have teammates by all riding as first or second team. But assuming you’re there and relatively isolated you should look to ride in a position that doesn’t require too much acceleration out of corners, you’re not being squeezed out by other riders and you’re not playing catch-up over the top of the climbs.


This may seem obvious but it is so frequently overlooked. Your mental focus needs to be as heightened as the physical intensity of the event. This does several things; it prevents silly mistakes like crashing and missing the crucial selection, but it also saves physical energy.

Mental focus when applied correctly will help you with the positioning we mentioned before, it will keep you disciplined with fueling and hydration, and it will keep you tactically astute. Running through possible scenarios, reading the conditions of the race as it develops.


I think it is really important to analyse the demands of an event a good 8-12 weeks ahead of it and even more if it is a goal event. This will help you prepare mentally and also if needed physically for the event. In some unique cases you may even need to alter your equipment if there are any specific requirements the event has.

Being prepared as thoroughly as possible for your event helps to reduce the chances of things not going as you might hope. Consider the terrain, the duration, the weather conditions, your opposition, road surfaces and your physical condition ahead of the event. Use this to create a goal that you can quantify afterwards to help understand how the event went for you.


To get the best out of yourself at the event it is incredibly important to arrive fresh and ready to race. In the final 10 days before the race you need to be reducing the amount of fatigue in your body to ensure you can deliver the best physical performance possible. With 10 days to go you have left it too late to improve your fitness, but by freshening up with shorter more intense sessions and good recovery in the days leading up to the event you can improve your condition. 

Have a rest day 2 days before the event, then go out on your race prepped equipment the day before the race. Make sure you include some tough VO2 efforts to really wake your system up, 2-3 efforts of 30-60 seconds will be enough. But keep the ride short, 60-90 minutes maximum and ride in zone 1-2 between efforts.


There used to be a popular trend in cycling where race equipment was only used on race day. This was predominantly because race wheels were glued on tubular tyres. Fortunately most of us now use regular tyres or tubeless meaning a puncture is no longer the disaster it once was before race day. 

This also means you can have a proper shake down of your equipment, trialling different pressures and getting used to how it performs on the bike. This is especially helpful if you race on deeper section wheels than you train on. As the chances are they will handle slightly differently on the bike. Prepare your bike a few days ahead of the event and ride it in full race setup at least 2-3 times before race day. Don’t make any last minute changes, especially not to your riding position, that’s a guaranteed sabotage of your performance.

Goodluck & Enjoy your Road Bike Racing!

The most important tip is to enjoy your road bike racing. There are so many aspects of a road race to enjoy, it doesn’t just have to be the end result! So, we wish you the best of luck in all of your future road bike races - we hope our tips have helped!

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