Yesterdays stage of the Giro was full of drama and excitement. A massive crash in the final kilometres decimated the field and the debate will run as to what the leaders should have done in the aftermath.
However, the manner in which overall leader Michael ‘Bling’ Matthews won the stage and his comments afterwards can teach a really valuable lesson to cyclists and for life in general.
Before the Giro started in Belfast the whole team knew that they had the work done and were very confident that they would win the team time trial. – They won !
The ‘team’ worked as a team and delivered Svein Tuft, a 37 year old who spends 99% of his time in the service of his team leaders, into the pink jersey. Each member of the team values the contribution that every rider makes to the success as a whole. They have an incredible family atmosphere within the team and this transfers into incredible results.
The next day 23 year old Michael ‘Bling’ finished eight in the sprint into Belfast and retained the pink jersey within the team, and has done so since.
Yesterday whilst wearing the ‘Maillot Rosa’ he stormed to an incredible stage victory at the summit of Montecassino.
To win a stage of a Grand Tour is an incredible achievement that very few cyclists, even professional cyclists can ever dream about.
To win a stage of a Grand Tour whilst in the leaders jersey is beyond even the dream capabilities of most.
Yesterday ‘Bling’ did both.
‘Bling’ had the courage to dream. He had the courage to believe in himself. The team had the courage to believe in him and to do everything in their powers to help him achieve his dream, and he delivered.
However this wasn’t just a dream, it was a planned goal, that he spoke about after the finish.
Bling had gone to Montecassino and trained numerous times up the climb. He knew exactly where the finish was, how to take the last corner and most importantly where to launch his sprint for the line.
He said ‘I PICTURED MYSELF WINNING THAT STAGE HUNDREDS OF TIMES’
On the climb itself, Bling a sprinter who is not a climber held onto former World Champion and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, how ?
Because he had all of the work done and could just relax and concentrate on pushing the pedals around.
Throughout the winter he had worked on his core strength. He worked diligently with his coach Brian Stephens on his climbing and sprinting at the top of a climb. He visualised himself winning that exact stage hundreds of times and had no doubt whatsoever that he would achieve his goal.
He knew exactly what he wanted and set a goal.
He was willing to put in the hard work required to achieve his goal.
He visualised himself achieving his goal until it felt as though it had already happened.
He believed in himself.
Bling avoided the big crash and won the stage, was that luck? or was it something more?
Yesterdays stage win has much to offer any young cyclist who wants to rise to the top, or indeed anyone in any field who wants to know a golden rule about what it takes to succeed.