Oh, Sky . . . Will You not Learn?

team_sky-svgThis just in . . . Team Sky is announcing two leaders in the Giro d’ Italia. No, you are not re-living a Ground Hog Day moment from the 2012 Tour de France. Once again, Dave FAILSford makes a ground-breaking decision to have two people in charge of one team. Okay yes, Team Sky wins . . . in spite of team manager Dave Failsford, like having a ten-year old kid coaching the New York Yankees. If enough talent is loaded onto a team, winning is basically inevitable, despite the coach. So, why the fuss?

As with anything in life, there can only be one person in charge of an team. Co-captain should not even be a word, a contradiction in terms. When any team is placed into a position of trying to serve two masters, the end result is frustrating and divisions occur. Anyone remember the Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault races? Yes, a chain of command is absolutely the correct way to structure any form of team, but the bitterness (Froome vs. Wiggins [No, no one believed that Froome was all-in for Wiggins]) of the 2012 Tour de France proved without a doubt how hard it is when a manager cannot make a decision; this trickled into 2013, when the reigning Tour de France champion sat at home (sick . . . wink, wink), while Chris Froome wins the Tour. Of course, in 2014, Team Sky rolls the dice again on the same premise, leaving Wiggins out and Froome crashes out, placing a very nice team of domestiques without anyone to domestique. No, Porte was not ready to lead yet. He had trained for his role and was placed in a terrible position, when Froome went down. Speaking of Monsieur Porte . . .

Fast forward to the years of the Richie Porte and Chris Froome duo. Team Sky knew who was there to lead. Porte knew what his role was. It worked like a well-oiled bike chain. Richie Porte gained valuable experience and moved on to become the head of another team; albiet, Team BMC also tried two heads with horrible results. Sure, load a team with good classic riders for the Classics, a stud GC rider for the Grand Tours, sprinters, climbers, a strong lieutenant, and the unknown soldiers of the domestique ranks, but for the love of all things holy, when a particular race starts, have one rider for whom the team is protecting and giving its all. Place the lieutenant as the lead domestique and back up, but he is not the guy unless the GC goes down. The early years of the Wiggins and Froome spat had left a young Richie Porte as a third wheel of sorts in the 2014 saga, when in the last minute it was decided that Wiggins would not be selected for the team. I am aware that this is getting murky, so let me be clear: It is okay to have two powerful riders at #1 and #2, but there has to be a line of who is in what position. Wiggins had said that since Froome was the reigning champion he would be riding for him (#2). No shenanigans.  But instead, the former Tour de France champion watched the tour like I did . . . on the couch.

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