The lessons of Team Sky
Watching the careful nursing of Chris Froome up and over Joux Plan reminded me of Sir Alex Ferguson in a documentary about himself saying he keeps a photo of migrating geese in his office for it’s a perfect formation. Froome was injured the day before and the road down from the mountain was slippery making descent tricky. He was also vulnerable to attack from Quintana and his ex-team mate Richie Porte. It was master-piece of team work and his 4 bodyguards especially Geraint Thomas protected him. This is the essence of successful team cycling where the members of the team sacrifice individual palmares for the greater good of the team. You take your time and it will come: Froome was number two to Sir Bradley Wiggins, Miguel Indurain and to Greg Lemond, Richie Porte left SKY to lead another team. Now it’s only the ceremonial procession in Paris to crown Froome, the first Briton to win the Tour three times. Young Yates will wear the white jersey for best under-25 year old whilst Mark Cavendish has dominated the sprints. Quite an achievement for British cycling
Can the other sports learn from this? Decision, concentration and implementation of a winning strategy, putting the individual before the team are precisely the qualities England lacked in the recent Euros. In a fluent piece the Daily Telegraph‘s Paul Hayward argued that Sam Allardyce will not tolerate prima donnas. Hayward’s attack on lack of achievement and England’s woeful tournament performance lacked one element: the role of the press who sent England into tournaments gung-ho usually with military metaphor, excoriated the manager in vitriol and always victimise one player after the inevitable debacle, this time Raheem Sterling. So perhaps the conditions do not exist in football to emulate cycling as the Tour tends to be covered by one dedicated correspondent not a raft of reporters keen to dish the dirt. Big Sam might think he is capable of doing a job without assistance from other sports achievers citing the lack of success of Sir Clive Woodward at Southampton, he might equally easily refer to Sir Alex Fergsuon at the Ryder Cup 2 years ago. British cycling pre-Sir Dave Brailsford was in the doldrums with the odd achiever like Chris Boardman so he could do a lot worse than listen to and learn from a man that has transformed the this sport to make serial winners.