Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Team lessons from Le Tour

In case you missed it, British cycling sits at the mountain top of world cycling. Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome are top of the Tour de France standings.  Both are capable of winning the biggest and most important title in cycling and it will be the FIRST British winner in the 99 editions of Le Tour.  My love of this race has only increased as I have discovered the joy of personally cycling long distances plus the added bonus of British riders doing very well - I miss the finishing commentary of  "Cavendish on the HTC train".

But the joy of the Tour really is in the complexity of the team dynamics. So here is my 4 top things to learn about team from the Tour.

1. The domestique is crucial.  The domestique is not a derogatory term, in fact the domestiques are essential to everything a team does.  Fetching drinks and snacks, pacing their team leader up a mountain, willing to give up their bike if a leader has a puncture and another 101 things. Lesson - Service to others makes a team work.

2. Everyone serves the ultimate purpose.  Even world champions serve others, Mark Cavendish is the current World Champion but on this Tour he is drinks and waterproof carrier for other members of his team.  Lesson - the ultimate aim determines every decision.

3. Riders surrender their personal ambitions.  Froome-dog as he is known (Wiggins right hand man) or TJ Van Garden (Cadel Evans understudy) have both had to wait for their team leaders on key climbs when they could have attacked themselves.  Both think they can win the Tour but instead this year they are serving others - their years will surely come. Lesson - Excellent no.2's are required to make a team successful.

4. The leader is the one who is most consistent always near the front but not the one who shines on every stage. Wiggins has gone at his pace, which is exceedingly fast, and not got drawn into chasing prizes that would distract him from the ultimate goal. Lesson - Leaders need to stay close to the front but be prepared to let others shine!

So there we are - simply the best sporting entertainment there is!  Team is what Le Tour is all about but if Bradley Wiggins wins Le Tour on Sunday I will be voting for him as the Sports Personality of the Year (even in an Olympic Year) as the leader of a Remarkable Team!