The Ultimate Team Sacrifice?

The BBC Sports Personality Awards evening is fast looming, and we’ve been thinking about the favourite to win this year’s big award. Bradley Wiggins has had an incredible year, becoming the first British man to win the 2012 Tour de France and the only cyclist to have won the Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal in the same year. Wiggins has a total of seven Olympic medals, four of them gold.

Many people perhaps do not realise the extent of the team behind Wiggins that support and drive him towards victory. The 2012 Tour de France squad were revealed in June this year. Headed up by Wiggins, it included Mark Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Chris Froome, Christian Knees, Richie Porte, Michael Rogers and Kanstantsin Siutsou.

An individual cannot be successful in competitive cycling without the other riders in their team. As well as  8 cyclists and a ‘director sportive’ who follows in a car, the team is supported by mechanics, masseurs, coaches and psychologists. Every person in this team must fulfill their role to the best of their ability to ensure the victory of the team.

Each rider has specialist abilities and these resources must be deployed daily depending on a number of variables such as the terrain, strategy and other team tactics. External factors such as the weather and crashes also play a huge role.

In the 2012 Tour de France, Edvald Boasson Hagen was Cavendish’s key lead out man and also offered support to Wiggins in the mountains. 2011 Vuelta a España runner up Chris Froome, Volta ao Algarve winner Richie Porte, and three-time World Time Trial champion Michael Rogers supported Wiggins’ on the most testing stages while Christian Knees and Kanstantsin Siutsou were his wingmen during the flatter sections of the race (that is, until Suitsou crashed on the fourth day). Bernhard Eisel brought his invaluable experience and all-round capabilities to the team.

Before the race Edvald Boasson Hagen said:

“I’m really looking forward to riding the Tour. It’s the biggest race of the year and we have entered a very strong team, so it’s going to be great to be part of.

If I get the opportunity to go for stage victories myself, I’ll definitely try to take them, but I have a role in the team to fulfil and anything other than that will be a bonus.”

So, what appears on the surface as an individual sport is actually bursting with team dynamics. As Bradley Wiggins looks set to win this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year, will his entire team receive the recognition they deserve alongside of him? Whilst other members of the team may have the capabilities to win stages, or win the tour, or promote themselves as riders, they do not. Because the team is decided on. Bradley Wiggins leads it, and everyone works towards that common goal.

ImagePhoto credit from Sky Sports

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