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How is biking a "team sport"?(7 posts)

How is biking a "team sport"?blakester
Apr 26, 2003 12:14 PM
I don't understand how in the big road bike races there are teams, how do they work together, and how is it scored for a team to get the win? What makes some races "team races" while others have just individuals out for themselves?
re: How is biking a "team sport"?byker
Apr 26, 2003 3:17 PM
In big road races team tactics play a big part. Each team usually has a head rider that they want to help win. The rest of the team sets the tempo and allows the head rider to draft off of them, thus reducing the amount of work that the head rider must do. Also, if there is a break away and a team has a rider in the break away then they want to keep the rest of the peloton from catching the break away. They do this by placing a team rider in with the chase group. The rider in the chase group refuses to work and therefore slows the chase group down, making it less effectve.
re: How is biking a "team sport"?blakester
Apr 26, 2003 4:02 PM
So how does a "team" win? First person across the line gets the win for the team? Is drafting really that effective so that the head rider stores up extra energy?
re: How is biking a "team sport"?Spoiler
Apr 26, 2003 4:49 PM
In single-day races, when any one member of a team is the first rider to cross the finish line, the entire "team" is considered the winning team.

Like when you hear a post-race interview, the winning riders says, "Today was a great win for our team. Our team has been needing a win."
If Sammy Sosa hits a home run, you don't see the score board say "Sosa 1, Mets 0", it says "Cubs 1, Mets 0".

I'd imagine the origins of cycling as a team sport went something like this:
In the very first bicycle race, there were no teams, everybody was out on their own. One rider discovered that if he rode directly behind another rider, it was easier to pedal, he could save energy. Other riders discovered this and didn't like the idea of being taken advantage of, so they started swerving side to side, hitting their brakes without warning, and farting, just to keep other riders from riding directly behind them.

So, just before the start of the next race, one smart rider finds another rider and says,
"Hey, if you let me ride behind you for the first half of the race, I'll let you ride behind me for the second half of the race. If either of us wins, we'll split the money."
Bingo, the first racing "team" is formed.
Apr 27, 2003 6:04 AM huge, without it the average speeds in races would be much slower. Even if it was only a slight advantage everyone would use it, isn't that why we all want to shave a few grams?
re: How is biking a "team sport"?blakester
Apr 27, 2003 10:46 AM
So in a big multi-day team race like the TDF.. the team will usually start out the day together and at some point the drafter will (with stored energy) break away from the group and go for the win? And so if one person on this team comes in first, then the whole team wins that stage of the race, correct?
Apr 27, 2003 3:38 PM
In a race like the TdF, there is a separate team competition, and it places the teams by combining the times of the 5 best place riders in the GC (general classification). At least I'm remembering 5, could be fewer but I'm pretty sure it's not more. The lowest combined times means that team is in first place, etc. At any rate this is a separate competition, just like the points jersey or King of the Mountains, and has its own awards and prizes. In most races, there is not a team competition - while I am sure there are more, the only ones you hear about are the TdF, Giro, and Vuelta. If a rider from a given team wins a race, it is a victory FOR that team, but the rider, and not the team is declared the winner - not the same as in baseball, soccer, football, basketball, etc. where you can't separate individual performance from the team score. When it comes to overall team ranking for things like entry into the TdF or the UCI Top Club, all the UCI points for all the riders on a team are tallied, so all those 10th and 20th place points get counted as well. The top team in the world is the one with the most combined UCI points, just as the top rider is the one with the most UCI points. But it is the team working together that gets their sprinters to the front at the finish, blocking if a good move goes away, chasing down dangerous breaks, etc.