A bike race is a process of attrition; those who prosper are the ones who can withstand the wearing down that each kilometer and mountain bears upon them. This year’s Vuelta a España has been the most wearing there has been in the best part of a decade. For EF Education First Pro Cycling, it has been one of the toughest races they’ve had to endure. On stage six, the race plans the team had were blown apart as and Rigoberto Urán found themselves at the bottom of a huge, high-speed crash. As the pair of them sat roadside clutching their collarbones, sport director, Juanma Garate could see straight away their races were over. Hugh Carthy
Moments later, was seen flying off the side of the road and crashing into a tree. As Garate and road captain Tejay van Garderen tried to process what was happening, it was crystal clear that from that moment the whole race was going to be different. The two young Colombians, Mitch Docker and Sergio HiguitaDaniel Martínez, were now going to be the main focus. But how does a team pick itself up off the floor when they have just lost nearly half their team?
Early on the morning of stage seven, Garate posted this tweet:
“This ship, the one that is full of big dreams, has a big hole in the waterline, but I assure you it is too strong to sink. All the crew on board will fight to the last port with all our strength to return a smile to the EF Pro Cycling family that awaits us at the end.”
This podcast episode takes you behind the scenes of a team that came together in challenging times, and displayed an amazing example of what teamwork can achieve when no one is prepared to give up. It tells the tale of a story of rising each morning and going out there side-by-side, preparing to put everything on the line for one another, time and time again. Cycling is rarely filled with fairy tales, but on stage 18, everything we were dreaming and hoping would happen, eventually did.
Garate took to Twitter once again, “The smile is back on board of EF Pro Cycling 😄⛴. Thanks for your support.”
On Sunday evening, stage 21, as this bright pink ship sailed into Madrid, the sun set on a three-week journey that had seen tears of pain and tears of joy. A team that rallied together as much around the dinner table as they did pedalling next to one another. The five remaining riders had done it, they had made it to the final finish line together.
You can also find this podcast on iTunes, subscribe to The EF Dispatch and don’t miss an episode.