A more interesting story is how the tactics and strategy of a cycling team can mirror that of your team at work. Do you recognise any of these members in your team – or even your family!?
- The domestique who labours day in day out, working to push his team leader to the front of the race, with no reward save victory, praise and recognition from his leader – for example, Mark Renshaw, who is the lead out rider for top British sprinter Mark Cavendish.
- The competitors who have to work as allies in difficult times to support each other to get to the the top of the climb and then savagely compete against each other to win. Samuel Sanchez and Alberto Contador competed fiercely to conquer Alpe d’Huez. They ride for different teams, yet are good friends out of the saddle.
- The ‘underdog’ as popular hero – this year Frenchman Thomas Voekler was not expected to do so well but managed to keep the coveted Yellow Jersey for 10 days, before losing it in the penultimate mountain stage and gaining fourth place in the overall General Classification.
- The dogged reliable worker who consistently pushes on despite pain and against the odds. The Australian Cadel Evans who last year completed the course with a broken collar bone eventually won the 2011 Tour, particularly because he is a good all rounder. He can climb, he can descend well and is excellent at time trials. Although he didn’t win a single stage, his tactics, his team, stamina, skill, management and an element of luck meant he won the overall race. How often do you see this replicated in business?
- And finally the star performer with so much potential who is cruelly robbed of the chance to win through injury or illness. This year Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, commonly agreed to be in the form of his life, broke his collar bone in an early stage and tried to get back on his bike despite then almost fainting, abandoning the race and being hospitalised.
The phrase ‘put me back on my bike’ comes from the infamous Englishman Tommy Simpson who died on Mont Ventoux shortly after uttering those words, because of exhaustion and drug use. Friday 13, 1967 was the 13th day of that year’s Tour de France and racers were tackling the treacherous 6,000ft (1829m) Mt Ventoux. After he ‘rode himself to death’ he became a cycling legend.
Who do you know would push themselves to such limits to achieve what they set out to do despite all odds?
Which members of your team are pulling their weight – and doing all the work?
Which members are prepared to push themselves until exhausted – and which need support?
Which one is the good all-rounder that you can rely on to succeed against all odds?