Le Tour de France: Team rivalry or teamwork?

July 7, 2009 -- Sal Silvester

Professional cycling is a fascinating sport. I really don’t know much about it, but for the past 8 years I have found myself staying up late and getting up way too early to watch the televised stages of the Tour de France.

For me, what’s most interesting about the sport is the dynamics between team members. In past years when teams haven’t had a clear leader they failed to reach their potential. When individual team members were more focused on themselves instead of team results, more cohesive teams persevered. Bob Roll said it best last night during the coverage on Versus when he alluded to the fact that racers don’t win on their own, they win with their team.

The Astana team ran away with the Team Time Trial today. But with an incredible line-up of riders – Armstrong, Contador, Kloeden, and Leipheimer – who will ultimately be the team leader? All of these men have the potential to win the overall race. Will there be an intra-team rivalry? Will Armstrong and Contador figure out how to win together? Or will they end up competing for individual glory?

The same thing happens in business. One of the costliest mistakes I see teams make is when they compete for the same resources instead of figuring out how to collaborate to use the resources most wisely for the organization.

It’s going to be an interesting 3 weeks of bike racing. What do you think? Will Team Astana figure out how to leverage their strengths and work together?

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