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Old 05-28-14, 02:09 PM   #1
EventServices
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If cycling is a team sport, why do we award single medals?

Seriously, after watching the USPro road races, it seems silly that only one person gets the spoils when it takes a team effort to make it all possible. UHC's Katie Hall buried herself so that Alison Powers could win. And the SmartStop guys worked as one to put Marcotte in position to win. Marcotte and Powers will wear the stars and stripes (in one form or another) for the rest of their career. Their teammates have nothing to show for it.

I've always said this about the Olympic Road Race. In rowing, it would be like awarding the medal to the #1 seat in the 8-man crew since he's the one who crosses the line first. Heck, the #8 seat can finish in 30th place in a tight race.
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Old 05-28-14, 03:07 PM   #2
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Their teammates have nothing to show for it.
Teams with a national champion on them have to have a stars and stripes band or flag somewhere on the kit, right? So maybe that's supposed to be their reward.

But yeah.
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Old 05-28-14, 03:50 PM   #3
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Teams with a national champion on them have to have a stars and stripes band or flag somewhere on the kit, right? So maybe that's supposed to be their reward.

But yeah.
I don't think so. The whole Jelly Belly squad didn't this last year. I thought those accents were only for past national champs/world champs
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Old 05-28-14, 04:26 PM   #4
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I agree. It's silly.

Though, where do you draw the line? To the teammates in the race that day, probably?
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Old 05-28-14, 04:38 PM   #5
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I don't think so. The whole Jelly Belly squad didn't this last year. I thought those accents were only for past national champs/world champs
All I know is my old Seattle team had a little flag on the kit, and the explanation was that an old team member (Tom Perterson) had won a jr Natl Champs race a while back, so we either had to or were allowed to have it.

But I guess the little flag is different than the stars n stripes band, technically?
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Old 05-28-14, 04:54 PM   #6
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Practically speaking, because only one person crosses the line. That's where your analogy with the crew team breaks down (it's the nose of the shell everyone is sitting in that wins, not the person, unless I'm mistaken). Only one person wins, but that person should be sharing the spoils with his/her teammates, otherwise that person is an asshl. If it's just about giving out stars-and-stripes jerseys to the teammates in the race, then it's an easy change, but also trivial. Perhaps this is the team's responsibility, not the responsibility of USAC or the individual race organizer.

We can all protest otherwise, but, while cycling has team tactics, it is not really a team sport as is football (either kind) or basketball.
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Old 05-28-14, 06:51 PM   #7
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Seriously, after watching the USPro road races, it seems silly that only one person gets the spoils when it takes a team effort to make it all possible. UHC's Katie Hall buried herself so that Alison Powers could win. And the SmartStop guys worked as one to put Marcotte in position to win. Marcotte and Powers will wear the stars and stripes (in one form or another) for the rest of their career. Their teammates have nothing to show for it.

I've always said this about the Olympic Road Race. In rowing, it would be like awarding the medal to the #1 seat in the 8-man crew since he's the one who crosses the line first. Heck, the #8 seat can finish in 30th place in a tight race.
Because it's not a team sport.

At the end of the day, you can always have some super strong solo artist steal the thunder. If one of the solo ProTour guys had won, you wouldn't make this post, right?

Happens all the time where a strong rider whens despite a weaker team. Opportunistic riders do it often, even sprinters.
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Old 05-28-14, 06:52 PM   #8
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All I know is my old Seattle team had a little flag on the kit, and the explanation was that an old team member (Tom Perterson) had won a jr Natl Champs race a while back, so we either had to or were allowed to have it.

But I guess the little flag is different than the stars n stripes band, technically?
That makes no sense at all. That's just a bit of an anomaly or your mates were yanking your chain.
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Old 05-28-14, 06:54 PM   #9
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I don't think so. The whole Jelly Belly squad didn't this last year. I thought those accents were only for past national champs/world champs
If you're not a past champ, you don't get the stripes.

That's not to say jerseys won't have flags or stripes of some variation, but nat/world champs stripes are ONLY for past champs.
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Old 05-28-14, 07:48 PM   #10
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Come on, OP knows that there is more at stake than just a jersey and medals. Money changes hands at these races. Good teammates get rewarded, in one way or another. If they didn't, the idea of a "team sport" would quickly disappear.
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Old 05-28-14, 08:11 PM   #11
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I agree with the OP, and have for years. If the team were recognized, maybe it would lessen the doping problem ? The last bit is more of a question than a opinion.
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Old 05-28-14, 08:27 PM   #12
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I agree with the OP, and have for years. If the team were recognized, maybe it would lessen the doping problem ? The last bit is more of a question than a opinion.
Nothing would lessen the doping problem, just like nothing lessens white-collar crime or cheating or any other under-handed way of getting ahead.

Not sure why you guys are so adamant about a team-aspect when cycling is about individual glory and always has been. Most of the people on a team have little chance of winning. The awesome thing about cycling is that there always is that small chance, but for the vast majority of the peloton it is very small. Yet they can still have lucrative careers filling in a niche that's needed in their team.

At the pro level, their reward is a paycheck and hopefully another year of getting paychecks. If you can't win, then what could be better than getting a paycheck for riding your bike?

Should office workers get the glory and recognition of the CEO? That's not how the real world works. You earn the position to be a leader and then you either continue to do the work to maintain that status or someone else takes your place. But it is earned. Winner's win, that's why they get the glory.
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Old 05-28-14, 10:16 PM   #13
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cycling is about individual glory and always has been.
Not on my current and past teams. We've had folks pass through who expected differently, but the team culture was to spread the glory. I've used this example before, but I've had Cat 1 Racer Ex and a few 2s on the team all throw down in order to get my Cat 3 self and another Cat 4 teammate on the top two steps of the masters podium, and it worked. I get to share the glory when I help a teammate win too.
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Old 05-28-14, 10:25 PM   #14
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I don't mind. Some of my most satisfying finishes have been for 60th or so, when I have helped a teammate win.
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Old 05-28-14, 11:26 PM   #15
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We can all protest otherwise, but, while cycling has team tactics, it is not really a team sport as is football (either kind) or basketball.
They don't call it a cycling tactical squad. They call it a team because it functions as a team within the confines of a sport, at least at the professional level.

The goal is for the team to win, whether it's a trade team or a national team. Selections are made the same way you'd draft a basketball team, and the similarities do not end there.

Even the best player is less likely to win regularly by himself or with a weak supporting cast. Having a superstar on the team often opens up opportunities for the other players, pay too much attention to one guy and the other guy is open to hit the game winner. And when the star is hot he might, in fact, beat you single-handedly. Players are assigned roles according to their strengths and weaknesses and paid accordingly. Bad coaching means losses. But in the end, as long as the team wins, no one cares who hit the game winner, except the fans.

Would Niki Tepstra have won PR riding for Health Net? Maybe, but much less likely. Why would that be?

I would absolutely agree that for the Olympics, medals should be awarded to the team, not just the individual. In the team pursuit they do this, even if one guy drops out with laps to go. You can sit on the bench the entire Olympics in basketball and get one.

On the national jerseys let the winner wear it for the coming year, but give one to each team member who participated to hang on their wall. Same with worlds.

FWIW, USA cycling puts a little medal next to the results for team members in a stage race, not sure about the one day stuff.

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Should office workers get the glory and recognition of the CEO?
Next time when you're dumpster diving and you find an analogy wrapped in old newspaper with the fish carcasses, leave it there. Someone threw it away for a reason.

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Old 05-29-14, 03:53 AM   #16
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FWIW, USA cycling puts a little medal next to the results for team members in a stage race, not sure about the one day stuff.
Maybe. I've seen medals on there that confuse me, so that could be it. It is, of course, USA Cycling so it's also possible that it's just confusing.
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Old 05-29-14, 05:40 AM   #17
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Not on my current and past teams. We've had folks pass through who expected differently, but the team culture was to spread the glory. I've used this example before, but I've had Cat 1 Racer Ex and a few 2s on the team all throw down in order to get my Cat 3 self and another Cat 4 teammate on the top two steps of the masters podium, and it worked. I get to share the glory when I help a teammate win too.
You realize how that has absolutely nothing to do with anything, right?

One person stands on the podium. One person gets the medal/jersey/trophy/podium kiss.

Individual. That's the way the sport is.
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Old 05-29-14, 05:41 AM   #18
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Next time when you're dumpster diving and you find an analogy wrapped in old newspaper with the fish carcasses, leave it there. Someone threw it away for a reason.
Hey, I know, instead of coming up with a cogent rebuttal why not just throw out a little more of your asinine drivel?

Nothing like a good distraction!
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Old 05-29-14, 05:41 AM   #19
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Do people in cycling countries have conversations like this, or do they just understand the dynamics of the sport differently? Baseball is a sport where the individual statistics are often celebrated more highly than the team. and yes, in the end the team wins but history largely recalls the individual achievements.

I'm not against this, mind you, but it's hard to track. Sometimes my wins come due to, or with teammates. And sometimes I'm alone, or the race is of such a level where I may have teammates but they're not really in the same race I'm in. State crit last week for instance. I saw my guys in the parking lot before and after. Many teams are huge, and folks may span categories, genders, states and regions. Where's the line?

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Old 05-29-14, 06:50 AM   #20
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One person stands on the podium. One person gets the medal/jersey/trophy/podium kiss.
You think that's the only glory available at bike race?

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Do people in cycling countries have conversations like this, or do they just understand the dynamics of the sport differently?
If _____________ don't go to Europe.
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Old 05-29-14, 07:50 AM   #21
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You think that's the only glory available at bike race?



If _____________ don't go to Europe.
In professional racing there is normally an overall individual winner and an overall team winning. Normally the overall individual winner shares the prize money with his team and often some of the stages are won by a team member, different to the overall team winner.

Not sure one could manage the system any different?

In the recent Tour of CA, Bradly Wiggins was the overall winner, but the Garmin Sharp team won the race as a team. Wiggins rode for SKY.
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Old 05-29-14, 08:00 AM   #22
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They don't call it a cycling tactical squad. They call it a team because it functions as a team within the confines of a sport, at least at the professional level.

The goal is for the team to win, whether it's a trade team or a national team. Selections are made the same way you'd draft a basketball team, and the similarities do not end there.

Even the best player is less likely to win regularly by himself or with a weak supporting cast. ...
I think the acid test is, if your teammates don't show up, are you forced to forfeit? Team time trial, team pursuit, team sprint all more or less fit this criteria in cycling, and each team member is given the same placing regardless of contribution. In your analogy of a crew team, the same criteria fits. If your teammates don't show up, you are forced to forfeit.

This criteria does not apply for teammates in a road race or crit. There are plenty of individuals racing alone in many of these races, and even at the pro tour level, there are many cases of short handed teams participating and even winning. Your tactics change, of course, if your teammates don't show, but you yourself are not forced to withdraw from the race.
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Old 05-29-14, 08:17 AM   #23
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I think the acid test is, if your teammates don't show up, are you forced to forfeit? Team time trial, team pursuit, team sprint all more or less fit this criteria in cycling, and each team member is given the same placing regardless of contribution. In your analogy of a crew team, the same criteria fits. If your teammates don't show up, you are forced to forfeit.

This criteria does not apply for teammates in a road race or crit. There are plenty of individuals racing alone in many of these races, and even at the pro tour level, there are many cases of short handed teams participating and even winning. Your tactics change, of course, if your teammates don't show, but you yourself are not forced to withdraw from the race.
Interesting, I never thought of the forfeit thing. And in those team events, on the track, the whole squad gets the glory. A local woman was on the Worlds winning TTT squad in Benidorm and she has the striped jersey hanging in their bike shop, aptly named Benidorm.

On the other hand for certain stage races you do have to show up with enough teammates, else you have to forfeit. I don't remember if 2006 was a ProTour or some other "name" but Vino had to withdraw because most of his squad (and his director I think) was implicated in Operation Puerto and were not allowed to start. Your teammates can drop like flies after the start but you have to start with a certain number.

Lemond, in his '89 Tour, had only a few teammates finish in Paris, three. Museeuw was one, his trusty lieutenant Lammerts was another. I never heard of the third guy but he finished much higher than the other two (Rene Martens). Reading about the other half of the ADR team it seemed like a pretty dysfunctional team, but Lemond was strong enough to make it work even if he didn't have support in the mountains. The following year he had at least one incident where if he had the ADR team like the prior year he probably wouldn't have won because he really needed the team on one day.
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Old 05-29-14, 08:21 AM   #24
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Interesting, I never thought of the forfeit thing. And in those team events, on the track, the whole squad gets the glory. A local woman was on the Worlds winning TTT squad in Benidorm and she has the striped jersey hanging in their bike shop, aptly named Benidorm.

On the other hand for certain stage races you do have to show up with enough teammates, else you have to forfeit. I don't remember if 2006 was a ProTour or some other "name" but Vino had to withdraw because most of his squad (and his director I think) was implicated in Operation Puerto and were not allowed to start. Your teammates can drop like flies after the start but you have to start with a certain number.
...
Notice also that in these certain stage races where you are forced to forfeit if your team doesn't show, there is also a team competition.
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Old 05-29-14, 08:29 AM   #25
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I would have a hard time arguing for team members to receive identical treatment to the first racer across the line in a crit or road race, but there's something to be said for some kind of official recognition of team players. Sure, you might argue that sometimes that recognition would be unearned, but don't the third string guys also get a Super Bowl ring? Not all team contributions happen on the field, too. There is some effort in many stage races to recognize teamwork with team prizes, but these competitions are pretty strange as they have little to no relationship to the actual value of teamwork provided.

By the way, yes, USA Cycling does have the little team medals in the results for all event types that I'm aware of. They may even be included in ITTs.

Cycling actually isn't all that unusual compared to how some sports that we recognize unambiguously as team sports work. The success of a basketball team is pretty closely connected to the performance of a small number of star players on that team. Should we start awarding wins to LeBron James instead of to his team because he scored the most points? That bike race wins are awarded to the first across the line rather than by points scored*, most of the time, is an arbitrary reason to award wins individually. We do things this way as a matter of history and convention, not because the alternatives are unreasonable.

*Obviously, the points race and the Madison on the track are pretty good evidence that there are different ways to score a bike race, and the Madison in particular is a good example of awarding wins to teams rather than individuals. Because of the way the Madison works, one racer will typically score more of the actual points than the other, but teamwork is essential to success in the event, and is rewarded accordingly.

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LOL. Cause everyone's going to agree on the answer to thatquestion.
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