Team Building

We might think of Paris-Roubaix or an mountain stage of the Giro as being one of the toughest moments of the year but actually right now is one of the trickiest times of the season.

Why? Several teams are meeting up and it’s the first get-together for the riders that will form a team in 2011. Cycling is an individual sport that relies on team work. It’s very important a team works in harmony. If riders don’t begin to gel today then things can crumble later on the road to Rouxbaix or when they tackle a hors catégorie climb.

Hard at work

Take the examples of Garmin-Cervélo. Riders from Garmin and Cervélo know their respective team mates from 2010 very well, they’ve found out all sorts of details. Not just about how they ride but how they behave off the bike, what sort of men they are. As such there will be groups of riders, you could call them cliques. Getting the Garmin lot to mingle with the Cervélo riders is obviously going to be a big and obvious point of the meeting, to build relationships, friendships and co-operation. The same is true of Team Luxembourg where the squad is made up of large chunks of Saxo and Milram riders, plus others. It goes without saying that riders will be forced together.

These meetings are also used for admin and other humdrum purposes. For example many pro teams don’t have their kit in Small, Medium and Large. Instead it is cut to their measurements, like a bespoke suit and kit manufacturers will size up the riders. Many teams will also instruct their riders on the sponsorship so that the riders can become ambassadors for the products and brands who pay their wages.

So whilst some riders enjoy the Caribbean and others fool around in the snow there is a serious purpose to these pre-season riders.


3 thoughts on “Team Building”

  1. As the Cayman organiser of the Team Garmin-Cervelo camp (as well as a fan of this blog!), but with a "day job" as a Business Coach for clients around the world, I found being part of a camp with such a focussed purpose to be fascinating.

    It was certainly great to meet so many world class riders (and great guys they are too!), but for me it was most interesting to talk with the staff and management and get insights from various angles of the inner workings of a professional cycling organisation.

    Such insights provide me with my writing inspiration (on leadership, strategy, marketing etc), so the payback for all my efforts will be in what it leads me to write, and learnings to apply for my clients.

  2. Thanks Tom, nice to hear directly from you. I think the interesting thing with the Garmin-Cervélo team is the increasingly professional aspect. Several other teams have made similar improvements and it's good to see those in senior positions learn ideas from outside the world of cycling.

  3. You have hit the nail on the head with "Increasingly professional" and with your Dec 5th blog.

    Whilst the photos from the Camp have got huge traffic on all the big cycling sites and so hit one of my targets (awareness of Cayman as a great place to cycle on vacation), the team was totally focussed on the team building element.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, whilst the obvious stuff was done (race programmes, bike fitting, uniform measurements), a massive amount of effort was put in to setting up and executing a programme that maximised opportunities for the team to bond in advance of the season. Everyone was there, from soigneurs, bus drivers, mechanics, doctors… but also the top people from Slipstream, Garmin and Cervelo.

    By coincidence, Jon Cassat of Garmin was interviewed for local TV after the "Ride with the Pros" on Thursday, you can see that he enjoyed the trip in this video !

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