Tour de France: Essential lessons of teamwork

What makes cycling so unique and relatable to business is that each team comprises of different types of riders who make first place possible. Some are specifically employed for their speed and some for their rare ability to climb mountains, much like the range of skills any workforce no doubt has. But it is within their capabilities that create the gap a team leader needs to push ahead of the game.

Jim Blasingame describes it incredibly well in a blog, stating that “competing in the Tour is like running a marathon while simultaneously playing a chess match, so each member has to understand his role in the overall strategy.”

Each stage has a distinct challenge, be it terrain or distance covered, but the fact remains that each leg requires different skills. And while some riders are good in all areas, others specialise in one. Likewise, you need to find a team that compliment’s one another’s skills.

After all, role diversity as just as important to the success of the team. What happens on mountain terrain when your team is only made up of sprinters?

The key, however, is to make sure everyone knows what their role within the ‘race’ entails. It is crucial to let them know from the get go.

This also includes who the leader of the team really is. Lets not forget the controversy of the 2009 TdF where both Armstrong and Contador were convinced they were team leaders. It ended up splitting the team and confusing riders as to who they were supposed to protect.

The main ethos behind any cycling team is: trust, respect and the ability to work as one mechanism.

This was made evident by Kittel’s speech yesterday, where he said repeatedly ‘we’ – even though he had crossed the finish line by himself.

Essentially, members of the group know their leader and the leader knows the importance of the group.

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