The armchair sports director
by The Cycling Podcast in Oyonnax
Earlier this year, Dave Brailsford set each member of his Sky management team a task to come up with the perfect Tour de France team made up of current professionals.
Budget was not a factor, so they did not have to worry about what it would cost to assemble this dream team. Instead, it was an exercise in identifying which roles need to be filled in a nine-man team and which riders would be best suited to each job.
It wasn’t a case of simply picking the nine best riders in the world. As Brailsford said in our pre-Tour podcast: “A star team will beat a team of stars.”
The goal set for this fantasy cycling team was to win the Tour de France, which meant building the team around one of the few men capable of actually winning the race. By Brailsford’s reckoning there are only six or seven riders in the world who can actually win the Tour.
Then each role had to be defined according to the Tour course. The questions to ask were: how many climbers do we need? How many rouleurs will it take to defend the yellow jersey if it comes? Who do we need to help the leader on the cobbled stages or the other stressful flat days? Sky’s staff were also asked to take into account whether the riders had the right personality to fit into the team.
Brailsford declined to reveal which riders came up multiple times in the list but it was a fascinating insight into the work that went into building successive Sky teams for the Tour.
So, we thought we would ask our listeners and readers to nominate their Fantasy Tour de France team. So, it’s over to you.
We want nine riders in the team. All current professionals are eligible.
Please define each rider’s role. Leader, climber, time trialist, rouleur, sprinter.
The goal for this fantasy team is to win the 2014 Tour de France. So, who will be your leader and how will you choose to support them? Will you pick a sprinter and split the team’s responsibilities accordingly?
Please nominate your team in the comments section below, or at Facebook.com/thecyclingpodcast with the rider’s name and his role.
We’ll show some of the most eye-catching line-ups to Brailsford on the second rest day and there’s a prize for the team we decide is the best.