Looking back and reminiscing is something I rarely indulge in. While it’s good to have fond memories, I’ve always felt that people are defined by who they are, not who they were. Cycling teams are the same.
However, it struck me as a funny thing that this year will be our 10th Tour de France. A full decade in professional cycling seems endless when you’re inside it, but then it’s all behind you too fast once you reflect. There are victorious moments; there are heartbreaking moments; there are moments you love cycling; there are moments you despise it. It’s an incredibly difficult sport to survive in, much less thrive in. And survive for a decade? History shows the odds are against a team making it that far. But then, that’s what makes the endless heartbreak worth it: When you succeed here, you earned it.
For a decade our team has been different, and we’ve measured our success in different ways. From changing the paradigm of the sport, being the first team to engage directly with our fans, to being the only team still active in cycling to have won both Paris-Roubaix and a grand tour, we have sought to change the course of the sport’s history.
Race wins are transient and forgotten quickly, but changing the mindset of the next generation of athletes is lasting. That has defined our success in this beautifully crazy sport for the last decade and will continue to do so in the decade to come.
What lies ahead in our next 10 years? We will continue to embrace what we are, not what we envy. We are the youngest team in professional cycling. We are the lowest budget team in professional cycling. And we are the hardest fighting team in professional cycling. Some things may change, but the core of what we are — trustworthy, daring, open — will always remain.
While teaching the next generation of talented WorldTour riders how to reach their natural potential, we will also strive to help them become whole human beings. We are helping them to be the great champions of the coming years, not only in what they win, but how they win it. Not only on the road, but once their racing careers end. But all this takes patience.
Ours is not the game of simply outbidding others for the services of a tried and proven winner. We’re in the game of creating one or finding one where no one else was looking. Talent and youth are fickle things that don’t mature in straight lines. And while some lose confidence waiting for a rose to bloom, it is our job to never lose confidence in the talent and ideals we believe in, through thick and thin.
So it’s worth looking back on our first decade at Slipstream Sports, absolutely. But it’s also exciting to look forward to our next one.