This week, the Tour of Britain has racing cyclists rolling along our roads once again. It’s an event that dates back to 1945, but its history is chequered and its future has often seemed uncertain. Nevertheless, in one key respect it remains distinctive: it allows young non-professional British riders to compete against some of the world’s best names, and the resourceful teams and powerful sponsors who support them. It’s an event that has ‘humility’, and maybe that has something to do with the extraordinary leadership we’ve witnessed recently in British cycling.
So on Monday, after a gruelling stage in the Lake District, it was such a thrill to see 21 year old Simon Yates secure second place overall in a field of 100+ riders. What a marvellous experience for him and an inspiration to the other young talent taking part over these 8 days.
Despite the recent renaissance of this sport in Britain, the extraordinary haul of medals – on the track especially – and our Olympic success last year, the Tour of Britain seems to be steering its own course, resisting any temptation to match the scale and show-biz exuberance of the European classics.
This Tour doesn’t seem to have an ego. Similarly, those that lead and coach within British cycle sport seem solely focussed upon serving the athletes. We only have to turn to Sir Dave Brailsford to get a sense of his winning approach: a determination to achieve astonishing success for athletes and recognition for the entire team’s contribution.
I wonder how this compares to leadership values and styles in your organisation?