If you’ve been following and enjoying my take on all things cycling via this Tumblr the past few years, then I’d like to invite you over to roadie - my new cycling website and the place where I’ll be spending most of my time.
roadie is my meditation on all things road cycling. Much of it is devoted to the world of professional road racing, though occasionally I’ll try and present perspectives from my own time out on the bike. The photography and writing are all mine but from time-to-time you’ll also find video from right around the world that best shows off this wonderful sport.
And right now, it’s all things Tour de France. With previews of every stage and insights into how the tactics should play out each day on the road to Paris.
“To design something really well you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something – chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or have thought more about their experiences than other people have. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. They don’t have enough dots to connect, and they en up with very linear solutions, without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.”
There’s something very intriguing going on at this year’s Tour from the brains trust at Team BMC. Most of the other GC hopefuls had been on message prior to the Tour’s start, saying they planned to stay out of trouble in the first week; and that the fireworks wouldn’t really start until Stage 12 to Luz-Ardiden. Other than some idle chat about opportunities for echelons along the coastal stages of the first week, the likes of Team Sky, Rabobank and Leopard Trek were mostly planning to keep their powder dry. Not Cadel Evans and John Lelangue - they’re up to something.
The brilliantly taken 2nd on Stage 1 by Cadel Evans where he stole a few precious seconds from his rivals got me thinking yesterday. The opportunistic way he raced and the way his team kept him out of trouble ahead of the sprint up the 2km finishing incline showed absolute premeditation. A carefully considered plan executed almost perfectly - only denied by the brilliance of Gilbert who was executing his own perfect plan.
Equally, the fantastic ride by Team BMC into 2nd on the Stage 2 TTT resonated in a similar way. “We’ve been quietly working away, doing our homework and keeping at it,” Evans said after the finish. “Our first goal was not to lose any time and our second goal was to actually gain time. The fact that we were actually there, nearly in the running for the win, was really something.”
There’s a pattern here. In fact it’s more than a pattern - it’s a theory. It’s the theory of the ‘aggregation of marginal gains’. It’s a theory that David Brailsford has very successfully used to great success with the Great Britain Track Team and is at the centre of his plans to turn Brad Wiggins into a Grand Tour winner. Only this year, it looks like John Lelangue and Team BMC may have stolen a march on the British super coach.