Peter Post: Cyclist who went on to apply 'total football' principles to team management

 

To claim that one person singlehandedly revolutionised or modernised an institution is a time-worn cliche in journalism, but in the case of Peter Post and cycling team management it happens to be true. Already a successful track cyclist and road-racer before retiring in 1972, Post was the first manager to transfer the concept of "total football", which he had seen working wonders for Ajax, his beloved local side in his home town of Amsterdam, to his own sport.

"Rinus Michels introduced asystem in Ajax where every singleplayer had their own clearly defined role and goals to really work together as a team," Raymond Kerckhoffs,head of cycling journalism in the Netherlands' biggest daily, De Telegraaf, commented. "Peter Post liked that system, and from the word go in his first team, TI Raleigh, he applied 'total cycling'. It was the first, and the best: no other team has ever been so consistently successful."

For TI-Raleigh and then Panasonic, the wins ranged between a minimum of 55 in 1974 and a maximum of120 in 1980, including almost every Classic and the World Championships. The crowning achievement was the 1980 Tour de France: not only did Joop Zoetemelk win the overall classification, but Panasonic picked up a stunning 11 stage wins out of a total of 21. No squad has done the same since.

Thanks to Post's modernising efforts, a corner had been turned. However, der lange [the long one], as Post was nicknamed because of his tallness, became a victim of his own success as the other squads caught on to his secret and began thinking of collective benefits, rather than relying on a "pyramid structure" of a single leader served with often erratic degrees of loyalty and equally unpredictable levels of achievement

Post's teams got smaller and smaller slices of the cake, and to make matters worse, one of his own former riders, Jan Raas, started another leading team on home ground, in the Netherlands. By the time Post retired in 1993, it was whispered that he was happier when Raas' team lost than when his own won.

But his own achievements remained: victory in the Paris-Roubaix 1964 at the fastest-ever average speed for a major Classic – 45.131kmh; 65 wins as a track rider, more than 40 per cent of the races he started inside a velodrome, which earned him the nickname De Keizer van de Zesdaagse [the Emperor of the Six Days] and the single biggest (and arguably the most beneficial) change of direction cycling management has seen.

He was known as a harsh taskmaster, and a section of British cycling fans have never forgiven him for the way he weeded out so many of the UK pros from TI Raleigh in the early 1970s. But rather than be tied to a rigid hierarchy, thanks to Peter Post plenty of young riders got a chance to shine that they would never have got without his modernisation of the sport.



Peter Post, cyclist and team manager: born Amsterdam 12 November 1933; died Amsterdam 14 January 2011.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower