Championship Strategy/GC Tactics
28“There must be one leader and eight men ready to die for him.” Jens Voigt, Champion Domestique, converted Soloist, on Tour de France team-of-nine strategy
What we would accomplish in life if we had 8 people ready to die for us! Even one or a few dedicated to our success is empowering, particularly if one of those is one of the world’s best winners. Even with this knowledge, the rarity of total team commitment to this principle distinguishes great performances. Riding for oneself is an incredible urge to fight and valid temptation for the best pros capable of individual glory. Yet a complete team totally sold out to one winner creates a greater glory.
Protecting the leader is the first rule of team strategy for individual GC contention, with various tactics applied from keeping the jersey to helping others take it…for a while. A team committed to GC may also practice the ole “bait and switch.” This tactic is riding for one whose strengths play in certain stages while planning to ride for another in later stages to take the overall win. Sometimes this is planned and sometimes it turns out that way. Dominating GC teams tend to not worry about other jerseys or prize categories, although occasionally a team is so dominating it can sweep a lot of booty while pirating the peloton.
Often the championship quality for GC tactics is being willing to lose to win and its companion attribute of knowing when to work and when not. Egos that helped achieve a position in the peloton and win a spot in the event are bridled to then rightly estimate competitors and energies and work for the leader. If you want to experience real race suffering, do the work of champion domestiques: shield wind, keep the leader in the sweet spot, keep pace high, chase and block. These are tactics that play well with love motivation: the force behind true discipleship – martyrdom if necessary.
Prayer for GC Tactics
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 291 John 3:16
We are thankful for an example in Christ of willingness to lay down life for another – even adversaries! We confess it’s difficult even to sacrifice for friends. We pray for championship tactics for stage racing.
Ponder Am I willing to be dropped for a team win? Affirm I can go to the front even if I go off the back to save my leader. Watch your leader and serve however is necessary.
28Stage 21 CSC Feature on Versus Channel: Tour de France coverage July 27, 2008
29The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society