Cycling is a weird sport to get to grips with. For a start it’s both a team and an individual sport. Only one rider can win but not without their teammates putting themselves on the line. It’s also wonderfully unpredictable where the tactics so carefully planned on the bus in the morning can be shot to pieces in seconds on the road.
Who keeps this disparate band of brothers moving with one purpose when the proverbial hits the fan? Who bellows “go, go, go!” when the cross-winds hit? Who ya gonna call? Stand up… Road Captain.
The role and qualities of this most mythical of peloton figures are explored in this brilliant Rouleur article.
“You have to not care about anybody else. You’ve just got to care about what happens on the road. You’re going to sacrifice a lot of people, and they’re supposed to be friends, or working colleagues, and you’re going to have to give them something to do that’s not going to please them and ruin their day, basically.
Ruthless then, certainly, but oh so much more is required in the road captain’s armoury, from reading the race to assessing their rivals. No wonder riders such as Mick Rogers, Luca Paolini and of course Bernie Eisel are worth their weight in gold to their teams.
And NO, I didn’t write this article just so I could get a picture of the Ladies’ Favourite on site… honest!
Featured image: Team Sky’s Captain Bernie leading his troops at Gent-Wevelgem (Image: Sky).