A team effort

Cadel Evans stands on the podium in Paris with flowers and lion, wearing the yellow jersey

Team effort for a solo win: Cadel Evans had a whole team behind him even though he was the only one to stand on the podium. Image source: BMC Racing, http://www.bmc-racing.com/ch-de/team/tdf-2011.html

Congratulations to Cadel Evans on being one of the oldest winners in history of the race and first Australian to win the coveted Tour de France, a sentiment that would echo across the Cycling World, Australia, Geelong Region, and Barwon Heads in particular. A wonderful affirmation of what courage persistence and timing can produce after being a podium bridesmaid.

Cadel certainly equipped himself well and made best advantage of what each day brought not losing sight that the race is not over until the last stage and there are many mountains to be ridden and remaining calm and composed was the order of the day.

The past laments have been “if only Cadel had a strong team around him he could have won”. Team cycling is some what of a mystery to many of the uninitiated as to how it all works. Certainly for the sprinters we see how teams combine with their lead out men to catapult their chosen ones into best position. We occasionally see teams within the peleton combine on the front of the train to chase down breakaways. If there is a rider that has been fortunate to get in a breakaway from the team there will be no assistance given back in the peleton to chase down as this defeat’s the purpose of the team strategy.

It must stand to reason that Cadel this year did have a strong team around him even though as a viewing public we may not have seen the critical moves within the peleton when required. The team is not just riders and every member of a team makes a significant contribution. The mechanical problems that Cadel experienced on the last of the climbs made many hearts sink as they watch the attacks being launched off the front while Cadel was languishing over what the problem was until casting off the bike and climbing onto another. That’s the sort of team work we don’t necessarily recognise in the bigger picture.

Cycling team strategies are like playing chess and occasionally there are some strategic moves that are thought out days in advance and keeping in touch and waiting for the right timing. There are not many team sports across the world of sport such as this where there are such selfless acts to ensure one rider is given such a chance to win and stand out. Cadel’s team held this view that they were always in the background focusing their attention on every aspect of the race.

All levels of the team right down to the mechanics keeping the team viable on the road each day and the cooks and masseurs the body mechanics all adding their expertise. There would not be one rider that could achieve all this alone at any stroke of the imagination without having a united team working for the one set goal what ever that may well be.

There is certainly a lot of life’s analogies we can draw from this event, in how an organisation can operate to keep the main goal in front of all its members. How the selection of the right committed team players can be lead and directed with the right overview of the bigger picture.  As long as each member does their part as required there is success for the team getting the right timing in unity is crucial.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon  God willing.

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