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Verb, Noun

To attempt to catch up to a cyclist or group of cyclists ahead of you.

Example usage: I'm trying to chase the group ahead of me.

Most used in: Road cycling races and group rides.

Most used by: Competitive cyclists and recreational cyclists in groups.

Popularity: 8/10

Comedy Value: 6/10

Also see: Drafting, Slipstreaming, Tailing, Tracking,

What is the Cycling Term 'Chase'?

In cycling, the term "chase" refers to the action of one or more riders or a group of riders attempting to catch up with another rider or group of riders who are ahead in the race. When a rider or a small group attacks and creates a gap from the main peloton or a chasing group, those left behind might form a chase group to try and bridge the gap.

Chasing can occur in various situations during a race:

  1. Breakaway Chasing: In road races, a breakaway is a group of riders who have managed to distance themselves from the main peloton. The riders left behind in the peloton may collaborate to form a chase group, working together to reduce the time gap between them and the breakaway. If successful, the chase group may be able to catch the breakaway and potentially contest the stage victory or contribute to their team's strategy.

  2. General Classification (GC) Chasing: In multi-stage races like the Tour de France, the GC contenders (riders aiming for a high overall position in the race) often closely monitor each other. If one of the GC contenders attacks or gains an advantage, the other contenders may form a chase group to limit the time gap. This helps to prevent the attacking rider from gaining too much time and potentially improving their overall standing.

  3. Individual Time Trial Chasing: In an individual time trial, each rider races against the clock separately. If a rider starts later than another, they are "chasing" the time set by the earlier rider. The goal is to complete the course in a faster time than the rider they are chasing to win the time trial stage.

Chasing requires strategic decision-making and cooperation among the riders in the group. Riders may take turns at the front, each contributing to the effort, or they may have a designated strong rider who leads the chase for an extended period. Efficient teamwork in the chase can increase the likelihood of catching the leading group, whereas disorganisation or a lack of collaboration can diminish those chances.

Chasing is an essential tactic in cycling races, as it allows riders or teams to regain contact with those who have created a gap, increase their chances of victory, or maintain their position in the overall classification.


The Origins of the Term 'Chase' in Cycling

The term "chase" in cycling has its origins in the broader context of the English language rather than being specific to cycling. The word "chase" has Old French and Middle English roots and has been used for centuries to describe the act of pursuing or following something or someone in order to catch up with them.

In the context of cycling, the term "chase" was likely adopted because it accurately describes the action of riders or a group of riders trying to pursue and catch up with those who are ahead in the race. When riders form a chase group to bridge the gap between them and a breakaway or a solo leader, they are essentially "chasing" after the leading riders.

The concept of chasing in cycling has been around since the early days of the sport. As races became more organised and strategic, riders realised the importance of collaborating and working together to close gaps and increase their chances of success. This idea of chasing became an integral part of road racing tactics and continues to be widely used in modern cycling.


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