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Tim Unkert

Winning With Teammates

I’m taking a break from discussing my “fascinating” (boring) posts about drinking water and eating omelets to talk about winning bicycle races. Winning is something every elite cyclist thinks about but, due to the amount of top level riders, rarely does. I’ve been fortunate to win a lot and I have to say it is teammates that help you win.

Teammates Helping You to The Win

Teammates are like a family in bicycle racing, backing you up when you go for the win. When you get to that last five laps of the race and all you can think about is winning you need teammates to guide you through to the sprint. When you attack off the front of the race you need teammates to block for you. Once you go for the win, they help you win, they are your bike racing family. A family that supports you, much like, I would imagine, most people’s families, but I digress, back to winning, and less commas …


Elite cyclists constantly think about ways to win. Their teammates help them to the win. They ride and ride and ride and work and work and work to think of strategies to win and make their opponents suffer. After all, if you want the win, you have to make your opponents hurt. Teammates can be helpful with this. Sometimes you would get caught out and wouldn’t win if you didn’t have support of your team or “cycling family.”

You also have to make yourself hurt to win (see below). You can make yourself suffer through more if you know you have teammates backing you. When setting yourself up for the win you almost forget about the pain and suffering and get a narrow minded focus. Teammates help you keep on track and going for the win.



Of course to win, you must make your opponents lose. This isn’t always enjoyable but it is the way of life. What is is. You have to put it out of your mind and win, for your teammates. Whether it be bumping with someone in the final straight but holding your own and making them relent or just dropping them and riding away while they gasp for air you have to do what it takes to win. It is what it is. Your opponents will lose, if you win.

Winning Over Former Teammates

Sometimes you find new teammates and have to win over your old teammates. As an elite bicycle racer you have to put it out of your mind, your old teammate losing, but it must be done. Usually, if you have good insight into human nature, you can tell when to attack and win. Since you have become close to your former teammate when riding with them you know what their weaknesses are. You can use those against them to help you win and sometimes they give away a tell (see below).


Winning is all about knowing your opponents and understanding your fellow human. I think it takes great empathy for others to be able to win. If you don’t have it you can’t really win because you can’t really understand who you are up against. Deep.

Don’t Underestimate Your Opponent or You Won’t Win

If you underestimate who you are up against you won’t win. They might feign weakness and then drop the hammer on you when it’s time to go for the win. You really have to know how they react to certain things. Some riders can be easily worn down through subtle tactics whereas others get stronger the more you mess with them. Placing fire in the belly of a rider of this sort is a bad idea. That sets him up to go all out to win and dig in deeper than he would have ever before.


Note: I will be back to my food posts tomorrow but felt I needed to mix it up today. I also may have used the word winning excessively as well, I’m not sure this post is that great, but they can’t all be winners.

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