Great Britain, the joke goes, excels at sports that involve sitting down – and last week, Team Sky swapped bikes for boats as they took to the water off Weymouth during their end of season camp, with cameras following them for a day of yacht racing.
Chris Froome – presumably for once staring at his stern rather than his stem – was among the riders taking part in the team building exercise under the supervision of British Sailing team manager Stephen Park, known as Sparky, as well as team staff including Sir Dave Brailsford.
Brailsford has shared some of the secrets behind the success of Team GB and Team Sky with leading figures in other sports and even business, and taking the riders and staff to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy demonstrates that learning from others is a two-way process.
He told RYA.org.uk: “This year we just thought we wanted to do something a bit different. We were looking round at some different ideas and we wanted to preferably do something that was totally different but in a world class, high performance environment.
“I’m good friends with Sparky and was chatting to him about it, and we came up with the idea of coming to Weymouth and Portland and of course it’s one of the iconic world class environments and programmes, not just in Britain but in the world now, so to come here and be in a high performance centre, in an academy with GB sailors – it just felt right.
“And of course sailing is something that none of us have done so we were all pretty excited about what it could offer, and now having done it, I’m very, very happy about what it delivered.”
We’re not sure where the team went on training rides once back on dry land, but if they headed towards the New Forest, we’re sure they won’t have inconvenienced any locals too much. Having seen them flash by on a pre-season training camp a couple of years back, the last thing they’ll have been doing is holding up traffic.
As for that joke about the country’s prowess at sedentary sports? Well, with more than half the country’s gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics coming in cycling, sailing, canoeing and equestrian events, it’s difficult to argue with it.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.