By Les Clarke
Magenta was the colour associated with the team Bob Stapleton took over in 2007. As Cyclingnews discovers, increasing the diversity of colours within the squad during 2008 has been the recipe for it success.
"We're open to talent, wherever they come from; we're an international team and we have 19 different countries represented in the team next year," says Team Columbia boss Bob Stapleton. "We're looking for people that are committed to the team who will sacrifice their own ambitions - we've got to be really disciplined in how we support the athletes in the team."
And the American knows about discipline. Upon inheriting the old T-Mobile squad in late 2006, Stapleton was confronted with the legacy of a team where ill-discipline prospered, spawning a culture where doping went unreported, riders underperformed and management turned a blind eye to the myriad issues at hand that needed to be addressed.
Something had to be done about the situation, and Stapleton is aware that he managed the situation the best he could - at the time. "We made bigger changes immediately [after the acquisition] than was recognised," he begins. "There are a few things we missed for sure. I was probably too trusting and taking people on their word - saying they would do what they were supposed to do. I think we've moved far beyond that.
"I never really considered it a benchmark, but we moved as far as we could as fast as we could, away from the history and legacy of that team. Unfortunately a lot of it wasn't even known to me - I didn't even realise what a mess it was until, really, a month after we'd taken over. I think we would have done more and done it differently had we known better. I couldn't be happier to be away from that.
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