Rider_X referred to rolling attacks in an answer to this question. What are they?

  • Google didn't help much... Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 15:17
  • I have watched almost every second of the Tour de France on TV, and don't recall that term ever being used. I've not heard it before. Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 15:28
  • I think he meant "rolling attacks", not "rolling attack." If so, rolling attacks are a series of attacks and counterattacks. This is common at the beginning of a race when breakaways are trying to form, and near the end of races when riders are trying to winnow the final selection. There are also a series of "set pieces" such as when you have a team mate attack then expect the other teams to cover the attack.
    – R. Chung
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


"Rolling attacks" are a series of sequential attacks on the peloton by typically a team or a group of riders acting as a team. R. Chung covered this nicely in the comment section, but I will expand a bit here.

Typically you get two or three groups of riders together to orchestrate this (where a group may consist of one or more riders). The first group launches an attack (preferably when there is a lull in the peloton after a recent hard effort - gotta make it hurt to respond). They will either escape or the peloton hunts them down. The exact moment the first group is caught, the second group launches another attack. The moment they are caught the third or first group (depending on how many groups of riders you have) launches an attack. You then keep repeating as necessary or logical.

The idea behind doing this is that typically only a few riders (often tasked with this job) hunt down the breaks. If you have the manpower, by doing this you are working to wear out the other teams by brute force. Eventually, if you are lucky, the peloton may decide not to respond and you have yourself a break or you have tired out key players on the other teams. Again this only really works if you have a manpower advantage, leaving a few riders who are never involved with the attacks to conserve for the sprint or some other similar strategy.

As a caveat, I will add that I am not certain how much this strategy shows up in big shows (such as the Tour de France or Tour de Giro) as they know so much about the capabilities of the various riders, but I saw this was fair bit in our local racing scene.

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