23 Days in July – Le Tour – Stage 2.

TTT – Team Time Trial.

Normally this is a short run. Sometimes it even occurs after a short flat-ish stage. Everyone in the team gets on the time-trial bikes and goes against the clock as fast as they can go, with the team’s time being set at the 4th placed rider across the line. It doesn’t suit everyone and some riders are dropped because they can’t keep the pace or because they put a huge pull in early on.

Rather than focusing on the the teams which are likely to win the stage, pundits and commentators focus on Team Sky, or Team Ineos as it is now, and then they never win the stage. Commentators curse or as Peter Kennaugh summed it up in the ITV Tour Podcast by saying that Team Ineos’ training is focused on being strong in the second and third week so other teams can match them early in this first week.

Team Sky/Ineos have never won a TTT stage in the Tour.

This brings up an interesting point. You don’t need to win every stage to win overall.

In sport in general – where there is a long-haul/league/season format – there is the expectation that you must win all of the time. Sometimes you just need to be near the top on a regular basis.

When I started following the Tour, the Green Points jersey was awarded to the most consistent finisher on each stage. To win it you needed to be as close to the top on the flat, the mountains, and the time-trial stages. In this format Irish rider Sean Kelly was the undisputed king.

There seems to be an important lesson in team work here.

Not only does everyone need to be at their best and on their limit in the TTT, but the team work needs to be mindful of the whole race. Too many team situations seem to focus on the immediate and forget the long term. The personal in your team need to be picked with this in mind.

Interestingly, Nicolas Portal, Director Sportiff for Team Ineos, revealed in the Cycling Podcast that they don’t race to other team’s times. They race to their own schedule which is based on their estimates for the team, which is based on all of their training and race data. Reacting to other teams’ times leads to emotional responses and you lose your focus.

This seems a good lesson for creatives as well.

Stay focused on what you are doing. I may only have written 1 page today and Stephen King tweets that he has hit his ten pages for the day. The main thing is that I finish my full set of pages in the time scale I set myself or the editor requested. Focus on your plot, your plan, your deadlines.

Team Sky/Ineos may ever have won a TTT but finishing 4th or 5th seems to have set them up nicely for winning 6 out of the last 7 editions of the Tour de France.

Stage Summary:

27.6 km – Brussels to Brussels – A pretty flat and fast course with Team Jumbo-Vismara taking the stage in 28 minutes 57 seconds, leaving Mike Teunissen in the Yellow Jersey for the second day.

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