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
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Recruitment Genius: Reprographics Operator

£12500 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest independent Reprogr...

Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

Tradewind Recruitment: French & German Teacher

£120 - £145 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: French & German Teacher X2 Materni...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer / Systems Administrator

£25000 - £32500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in SW London, this compan...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee