Why do some contestants dedicate so much to their leader

At the top of Peyragudes, Fabio Jacobsen collapses under the gaze of his teammates. The Dutchman crossed the line at least 16 seconds before the scheduled time on Wednesday, July 20. In this Tour de France, the runner hits every slope he is presented with, and every evening on the pad he must wonder what the point of continuing is.

But he insists, narrowly cutting the end each day, annoyed with his teammates. The latter had no other task than to take him to the next day stage, even if it meant failing at him. For a long time there was no longer any question of personal ambitions for them.


However, some within the team might legitimately fantasize about winning a stage in this round. But they gladly accept their fate. Within the peloton, the winning riders prefer to throw themselves body and soul into the service of the leader. This is the case of Daniel Os, the guardian angel of Peter Sagan since their early professional years at Liquigas in 2010.”One day, Peter Sagan arrived, and I knew he was going to be a great hero. It’s great to be by his side during my life as a cyclist, because he gave me the choice to be a part of something bigger.”reveals a Slovakian teammate of TotalEnergies.

The arrival of a team of jockey with a rare talent forces everyone to think about their position and make choices: accept or leave. “There will always be a man with intrinsic abilities better than yours. Putting yourself at the service of a leader is wonderful. We do not ask of you for his requirements, but on the other hand you will remain with him all the time”explains our consultant Yoann Ofredo. “You earned a lot when you were young. After a few years, you understand where you are, what you can achieve or not”continues Daniel Oss, who left this 109th edition after hitting a spectator on the cobblestones.

Some riders, such as world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, who essentially became a lieutenant with the Ineos Grenadiers, or Michael Morkov, the race car bomber with Quick-Step, or Belgian Dries Devenyns, who refused even out of friendship to compete against Julian Alaphilippe in the world championships, are Other examples of the very cherished idea of ​​dedication to cycling.

Dries Devenyns and Julian Alaphilippe after winning the first stage of the 2021 Tour de France (Thomas Samson/Poole)

In this career path, how do we choose an alpha runner to pamper yourself? It all starts with a clear impression. “It is important to have a charismatic leader who values ​​the work of team members.”Explains Yuan Offredo, followed by Maxime Poet, a former captain who became a teammate of Nairo Quintana at Arkéa-Samsic. “There is something magical about Cairo. You are around it and you feel a certain aura”in an interview with the climber on the France Télévisions program “Vélo club” on Saturday.

“Peter Sagan is the sexiest peloton contestant. There’s something I love about him: he’s not a liar, he doesn’t play a part. Sometimes he’s funny, sometimes he’s crazy, but he’s always a professional.”

Daniel Oss, runner at TotalEnergies

in franceinfo: sport

For this dedication to continue, recognition of the leader is essential to these men in the shadows and is essential to any victory. “You have to have a leader who can highlight his teammates. They do that in interviews, but also financially, by sharing rewards. Often the guardian angel rooms are with his leader, so there is a link that we share everything, except for the podium”Offredo explains.

Daniel Os is often the last to accompany Peter Sagan at the end of the race, savoring each time his sprinter’s packages with 121 professional victories. “We struggle at the same time, it’s hard to win races, do the job. When I see him win, it’s like it’s me!”, says the person who protected Slovaks for eight out of 14 years of professional work. But being a good leader is not given to everyone. Talent and victories are not everything.

“You have leaders, and they are miserable, and they do not know how to do it. And besides, they do not last with time. While people who have managed to unite around them, who are up to motivate the forces, this is very important.”

Yuan Offredo, former runner

in franceinfo: sport

The former French adventurer (FDJ) recalls an anecdote illustrating this concept. When Mark Madiot [le manager] Our contract at FDJ gives us during his brief presentation at the beginning of the year, there is a hay with two donkeys: one he pulls to one side and the other to the other. Then we put the two donkeys on the same side, pulled together, and were able to put the hay back on our side, ” Offredo mentions. “Cycling is exactly that: we have to shoot from the same side. The idea is above all to make the team shine and the sponsors that give us money to live from our profession”, Little advisor.

Peter Sagan (left) and Daniel Os congratulating each other during the 2021 Giro d'Italia (FABIO FERRARI/POOL)

No frustration then? really ? Everyone sees their place as an opportunity, not a demotion. A sign that devotion is not an empty word for those who give everything for one’s glory. “It’s not hard to sacrifice my ambitions for Sagan. Of course, if the opportunity presents itself, I can get results. But in the big races, Peter is Peter. He is a winner, and he deserves to be ‘to have the best team that wins.'” It is very difficult to win today, we have to provide all the help for a specific goal. But only one can win. And that person is Peter.”Developed by Daniel Oss.

No regrets about Maxime Bouyer. “I am really happy to be a teammate of such great champions, like Warren [Barguil]supporter [Bouhanni]Nairobi [Quintana]Julian [Alaphilippe] where [Michal] Kwiatkowski. It is a mental strength to become a member of the team and to work on yourself. I’m getting old and out of the bottle, I no longer have the ability to win an event so big but I know I can bring other things to the group”Runner analyzes the Breton formation.

Maxime Bouyer, 35, is the archetype's teammate.  Arriving in Arkéa-Samsic in 2017, he talks about his daily life alongside his leaders Nairo Quintana and Warren Barguil.  The Frenchman in particular says he drives with a broken rib from Denmark.

The bond between a leader and his guardian angel can be such that separation makes them understand mutual need. “At Bora-Hansgrohe in 2018, Peter wanted me to accompany him with Maciej Bodnar and his brother Juraj. Not only during the races, but also in life”Italian smiling Daniel Os. “Being a good team player is better than being a bad leader”, was summed up by Laurent Galbert on Saturday in the program “Club Philo”. Many knights in the peloton have incorporated the idea, but some have made it a priesthood.

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