Tour de France: Roundabouts and bottles

Tour de France: Roundabouts and bottles


Watching highlights of yesterday’s 10th stage of the 2020 Tour de France cemented a thought I’d had earlier in the week: that science and data are only as useful as the collaboration on any insight gained.

That, even though we continue the march towards being more advanced and more informed, the basic skills of communication remain the fundamental contributor of success vs. failure.

Yesterday in the Tour, mid-race, approaching Île de Ré, team Jumbo Visma briefly lost approx 40 places in the peloton because they weren’t on the right side of a road approaching a biased roundabout.

Pushed over to the longer, slower side, this error is of note because it affected the position of race leader, Roglič, who struggled to then slipstream with his team as heavy crosswinds began to force the peloton apart.

Had matters got worse, this could have seen him and his cohort finding themselves distanced from the peloton, allowing the latter to gain valuable time in the General Classification and potentially costing Roglič the jersey.

An isolated incident for team Jumbo Visma, but not the only unforced error of the 2020 race. This comes 5 days after then leader, Alaphilppe’s faux pas, erroneously taking a drinks bottle from his team inside the last 20k of stage 5 and losing the yellow jersey to Adam Yates as a result of the ensuing time penalty.

We learn from these avoidable mistakes that, even the most scientifically advanced organisations and the most invested teams need to remember the basics.

Course notes will have been taken. The 20km perimeter will have been marked but somehow, both got lost along the way and answers will have been sought as to how to close the intelligence gaps in both teams.

Luckily a supreme effort saw Jumbo Visma weave back to the front of the peloton and Roglič retain the jersey into stage 11, but with two separate teams making communication based errors, this highlights to us that an athlete can be a perfect machine, a team can be at the top of its game, leading the most famous Grand Tour…but if communication isn’t nurtured, mistakes can and will get in the way of ambition.

For us and the work we do, a company is no different to the riders.

For us, anyone who has a team working towards a shared objective needs to do just that. Share.

We believe that listening is the fastest way to close the intelligence gaps and create an excited, effective team.

If you would like some support with enhancing team communications, we’d love to hear from you.

Image credits: Cover –; teaser –

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