Teamwork in professional sport is often the difference between mediocrity and greatness - particularly in cycling. With that in mind, the leading ProTour teams do everything in their power to begin building strong working relationships between their riders as soon as contract obligations permit. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with the T-Mobile Mens' team during a recent team building meeting.
Bob Stapleton doesn't speak much German yet, but he knows two very important words: "Die Mannschaft" - the team. "These are two powerful words that we need to build power in," he told the assembled 2007 Team T-Mobile squad at its first team meeting in Lugano. "Only through a commitment to personal improvement, mutual respect and trust, and confidence in every member of the team, staff and management can we become something special."
The team meeting involved the usual photography sessions, trying on of clothing, medical tests, race planning, nutritional workshops, and, most importantly, a chance for the team members to get to know each other. Six new managers and 13 new riders are joining the team as well as new staff members for 2007.
They all took to the treetops on Sunday for a climbing course, which required the team to, well, work as a team! "Positive thinking, group motivation and effective internal communication to solve problems together: these are all crucial to setting a cycling team on the road to success," said incoming Sports Director Rolf Aldag.
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