Mark Cavendish’s win at the UCI Road World Cycling Championships on Sunday was a great moment for British sport, and a very interesting insight into how teams can work.
I’m not sure how much you know about road cycling (I certainly didn’t know that much until this morning), but Mark was backed up by a team of another 7 British riders. He was able to win the race because his team supported him throughout the 266km and then made space for him to go on and sprint to the finish line.
When I heard that, I was immediately interested into how it happened, and how that team dynamic works. I was further surprised to hear that some of the team members didn’t have to be there as they’re under no contract to complete the race, had raced very recently so were fatigued and essentially, don’t get the winner’s medal. It’s easy to ask why they bothered turning up!
It turns out that the strategy for this race was decided 3 years ago when the course was announced. They knew 3 years ago that they would be strong in this course and they knew that Mark would be their winner. They share the glory amongst themselves and they all get their place in history as being part of the team that brought home the victory.
It’s very interesting to watch how important the team is when you see the finish of the race. The team acts almost like an American football team in the way they move around and shelter their primary rider. You can see during the video that some members of another team effectively block Mark and push him back down the line – all part of their team strategy. Even if you’re not into cycling, it’s a great video and great to see how the final stages play out.
For me, this is a great example of team-work. How 8 guys can come together with a clear goal and work together to achieve that. There may only be one official winner, but I bet that the other 7 guys all feel the same pride and satisfaction. If they didn’t – would they have turned up?
It also makes me think of our own team and how each of us puts in something different to achieve our goals of providing great products and delivering great service. By spending time working out what our strengths are allows us to bring our best assets to the table, and we create some synergy and end up achieving far more than we could individually. I don’t think we’re ready to win the world championships yet, so we’ll stick to doing what we do best for the moment!
Hope you enjoyed the video as much as I did, and great to see the title brought back to Britain again.