I just finished my road season here in the U.S. My big race every year is Lotoja (202 miles). The first 100 miles of the race are mountainous, the last 100 are relatively flat. So it's a sprinter's race (of attrition).
This year I was in my race group's breakaway with 5 others (a team of 4, and two lone wolves...myself and one other). The other loner attacked the finish line with about 1k to go, hoping to catch the team off guard. It almost worked, but they caught him and took spots 1-3. The attacker got 4th, and I took the final podium spot at 5.
This is 2 years in a row this has happened to me, where I don't have any pop for a final sprint. I'm a climber by nature, but want to at least add some sprinting ability this off-season. I do a lot of interval training in the winters, which includes high power/low cadence work. But I'm wondering if there are any weight-lifting regimes I can work into my workout. I've got majorly skinny legs, and I think a little muscle down there would go a long way to help with these sprint finishes.
Some basic observation..if you were in a break at a@ 200 mile event you are a stud. Any race that has big selection milestones is hard when you are just trying to survive let alone trying for a result. Beside general balance,being able to climb and sprint.. you may be trying to solve a problem you don't have.
If you can turn it up on small to medium climbs and recover enough to stay on top of the gear and keep your beats below heart attack level again.. you are part of a much smaller group than you think.
Most American racers fall beneath the wheel on the basics..,eating and drinking. Used to shorter office park crits.. racers are not accustomed to running out of fuel during the event. Volume and type of fuel is often a puzzle..not being used to getting a feeds ,gels,maybe solid food and many,many fresh bottles may be something you already do really well..or the negative..you do slightly better than others that fail.
But for sprinting..
I have found that doing squats,leg lifts and leg extensions helps..lots. planks help my overall and during times of boredom I do stairs. I find all gym and off bike training activity make my stroke feel less fluid.
I like and may I suggest that you do in the saddle , small chain ring sprints. I do 4-6 @100 meter sprints from a flying start.
I try and do a kind of cartoon leg speed thing were I am trying ( but probably never getting) @140-150 rpm as my goal. I watch the YouTube Japanese Kirin guys on rollers to remind myself that it can be done..the guys make it look like a ride in the park. ?200 rpm!!?
If I could suggest a couple of other things. Document what you do right.
What makes you good,...-example Ican go at 90% for 1minute jumps on grade responding to attacks by others or when I jump on my own.
Also how are your tactics? Maybe your desire for a better sprint is a cry for a better race plan?
Why, knowing you don't consider yourself a great sprinter,,in the traditional sense..did you not initiate the attack and ride solo for the win.?. getting into a good working break is hard enough..so deciding to attack your break-mates .is a whole new can of worms..it may be what makes you the winner.
Without knowing you,I do know that to make the selection in a two hundred mile race is no accident... you probably already have 85 of 100 things that will allow you to win..
The other and others may say NFW..motor pacing is of super value. Do 3-6 all outs..have a car or motor bring you up to speed, swing out of the draft and do a race paced,bury yourself sprint.
After complete recovery do another
. Maybe at the start do in saddle work..get the draft vehicle to get you @30 mph and then while in the saddle,swing out of the draft and break wind for yourself for 20-60 seconds and then go hide again while you recovery for the next one...I have found sprinting against cars and motorcycles helpful. The biggest benefit is learning how to calm down and recover at speed, re-establishig..the draft.. getting a drink.. following the wheel without completely losing my$hit..
Good luck in whatever you do..
Rouge Roubaix..Tour of Battenkills..??