Saturday, March 26, 2005

Weekend Edition: No Man's Land

This Saturday, the nameless day that comes between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, seems as good a day as any to consider "No Man's Land"---a topic that came to me as I caught up on my favorite sport:

I used to race bikes in college and still follow the sport, especially every July for the Tour de France.

Here in America we all know Lance Armstrong, who has won a record six straight Tours and recently announced his intent to win a seventh. But few Americans appreciate the team dynamics and strategy that are the heart of what road racing is about. A rider may be strong enough to pull away from his competitors; but if he doesn't get support from his teammates, he won't get very far. Instead of winning the race with his show of power, he will merely end up in no man's land:



No man's land is a hopeless and lonely place doomed to be swallowed by the multitudes (or peloton as bike riders like to say).

Being in front in a bike race isn't always bad, of course. In fact, being in front at the end is called winning:



Here we see Alessandro Petacchi winning last week's Milan San Remo, the pinnacle of Italian cycling classics. Petacchi is alone in front at just the right moment---a moment only possible thanks to the strength and strategy of his Fasso Bartolo team.

3 comments:

Harold Jarche said...

It's amazing how many North Americans don't understand that cycling is a team sport. Denham Grey has used the cycling analogy for KM too. Maybe there's something to explore here ...

Anonymous said...

Well, those of us who are Episcopalians call it Holy Saturday... not the most original name, to be sure, but it gets the idea across.

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