It’s the most asked question of every athlete in every sport: Did you win? The answer is usually a cut-and-dry yes or no. And then there is cycling, where winning and losing is complicated; individuals and teams blur the line of what it means to truly win.
From the domestique who DNF after helping a teammate get into winning position, to the best rider in the field who flats before the sprint, it’s hard to bestow the title of winner and loser. There is also a diverse classification of sprint points and prize money that adds various layers to the definition of winning. So when the inevitable, “Did you win?” came this past weekend at the Tour of Elk Grove, Team Colavita’s last official bike race of 2012, I answered the spectator as honestly as possible: “We didn’t finish first.”
We didn’t win, but at the same time, we didn’t lose. Our team was saved from sponsor-withdrawal extinction at the last minute and came into the race season in May instead of January. Our journey was different than most."