Sibling rivalry. It’s been around ever since Adam whacked his little-known brother, Keith, over the head with an apple and was sent to the naughty corner in the Garden of Eden. And it’s still very much alive and well today. Even in cycling. Now before you get the wrong idea, I’m not talking about the Schlecks here. No, I’m talking about the veritable population explosion of elite racing teams from within Australian cycling clubs in the last year or two.
Just as children develop and grow under the careful gaze of their parents, then fly the coup to live their own lives, so are more and more of Australia’s top club riders. They learn the skills. They get the experience. Then they wave goodbye as they roll off into the big bad world on their own two wheels. (But they don’t leave completely, of course…they still need to be registered to their old club to race!).
Considering many of the riders on rival teams come from the same club this is making for some rather interesting racing and training rides. Not to mention hilarious banter in social media. Just like the love-hate relationship between brothers, they’re best of friends, but also the worst of enemies. The rivalry is good natured most of the time. But a little like State of Origin, it can also get intense. Julie Bishop intense. Even though no-one actually says it, bragging rights matter. And they go on the line pretty much every weekend; a far greater prize than any trophy or bike shop gift voucher.
The other thing I’ve been noticing is the rivalry between teams extends far beyond the road. Who has the best team kit? The best logo? Best sponsors? Best coach? The best team van? Even the best Facebook page and website? To an outsider, the stakes may not appear to be especially high for these things. But try telling that to anyone involved. It matters. A lot.
Of course, just like a backyard scrap between brothers, in every race there can only be one winner. But there’s always another race. Cheers bro.