But they don’t have to blow your paceline to pieces. Pro rider Robin Carpenter has the lowdown on proper echelon technique. – By Jason Sumner
1. Orient your echelon (‘staggered diagonal line of cyclists’) in the opposite direction that the wind is coming from, Carpenter says. Blowing from the right? Fan out to the left.
2. Just as in a paceline, you want the rider in front of you to block the wind. But instead of lining up directly behind him, offset yourself just outside his shoulder.
3. When it’s your turn on the front, pull for 30 to 60 seconds, maintaining the group’s pace. Never surge or push the pace in this position – you’ll make it too hard for the rider who just pulled off to get onto the back of the line.
4. After your pull, peel off into the wind so you provide shelter to the line as you drift to the back. Rejoin on the protected side. Keep pedalling so you can slide back in without getting dropped.
If the road isn’t wide enough for your group to fan out safely, divide into multiple, smaller echelons. Otherwise the riders at the back will have little protection from the wind, and will have to work much harder to stay with the group.