The Misfits Take Over Cycling

Garmin team philosophy and the Giro win making headlines in the Wall Street Journal:

They began as the oddballs.

They oozed a different vibe. Talented but quirky. Free-thinking characters. If the sport of professional bike racing were high school, they were the lovable misfits. They rocked a peculiar look: argyle on spandex. Their boss was a stylish oenophile with sideburns like a bass player’s.
But this outre cycling team, which grew into a global squad now called Garmin-Barracuda, had a mainstream mission. They wanted to detoxify a polluted sport. From the start, they promoted an antidoping message. They tested internally. They pledged full transparency.

And they meant it. In team history, they’ve never had a rider test positive for doping.

Garmin-Barracuda’s Ryder Hesjedal (right) climbs ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver during the 20th stage of the Giro d’Italia.

Now the misfits are running the cafeteria. Garmin-Barracuda is still idiosyncratic, still in argyle, but they’ve evolved into one of the best cycling teams on the planet. They’ve won Tour de France stages and major classics like the Paris-Roubaix. Last weekend Garmin-Barracuda veteran Ryder Hesjedal secured the team’s most significant victory ever: winning the Giro d’Italia, the three-week stage race second only to the Tour de France in prestige.

Daniele Badolato/Press Pool

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