The double row

by | Feb 5, 2020 | Technique


Hi guys, today I wanted to explain to you the concept of the DOUBLE ROW during a bike race, because a lot asked me to explain it. And I’m very happy to do it!
The Double Row technically allows a group of cyclists to travel at high speed while saving as much energy as possible.
It is usually adopted in escape attempts with at least a margin of advantage of at least 15/20 seconds, or in pursuit actions by a group of cyclists on another group positioned further ahead.

If you have started racing in the youth categories, you will certainly be familiar with the double row. But if you have approached the world of cycling races and Gran Fondo at an older age, this concept may be a little more complex for you to understand.

Often in amateur races I see that you don’t have the slightest idea what the Double Row is.
The first ones in position don’t have any difficulty because they usually practice it and also quite well.
Behind me I often see chases and situations of 7/8/10/12 athletes where everyone pulls on their own, in the midst of others, but without collaborating at all to advance and win.
The result will usually be that everyone will get tired and will not even produce a valid chase phase, on the contrary they will waste more and more time, wasting energy and will no longer take the cyclists and groups of cyclists who have already detached.
The conclusion?  The speed slows down,  you’re out of the game and you don’t even understand why they go fast in front and we don’t.

The Double Row Concept doesn’t have to be a CHALLENGE, but it’s a clever way of working with other cyclists to make less effort.

Here below I enclose some photos where you can have a “mechanical” and practical idea of how it works.


The English call it “Pace line”, we call it Double Row but it’s the same thing. To better understand what is, live broadcasts of the Professional races can also be of great help, because every time there is an escape in progress by a small group of cyclists, you will see that they pedal in Double Row.

Watch carefully how they ride in two parallel rows and the methodical, fast and continuously rotating way in which they change. And how fast they fall back in the wake of the companion who passes them, reducing “dead” times to a minimum.

Often the Double Row is done with the hands positioned in the lower part of the handlebar, this is important to have more speed, a greater grip and more safety. Moreover, in case of abrupt braking, you will always have your fingers ready on the brake levers.
Then you can proceed as follow: stand very close to the front mate’s wheel for more wake and less energy.
When you get to the first position you can lighten the gear of a tooth.
It will keep the speed higher as the companion passes you.
You will return with a harder gear to your next turn in first position.
This is the Double Row method.
WARNING, you need a good practice, freshness, but you should feel really confident in doing it.
Don’t dare simulations in training.
There is already enough traffic on the streets and you risk bothering and getting in the way of the cars.
Try it in the race, at least we will have a better safety situation.

In the cover photo is me at the Vuelta 2009 (Alto de Aitana) at a stage where the road climbs slightly and the athlete behind me is slightly distant.
Apart from that, I remember a long breakaway and a good synchronization with my teammates.
And a nice final victory for me with gap.

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