Teamwork the hallmark of Team Gillette Evolution’s success
By Avenash Ramzan
Henry Ford, the American industrialist, once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
In the case of Team Gillette Evolution, that quote has been aptly put into motion in the space of two short years, and provides a perfect example of theory becoming practice.
Formed in 2014 by a group of sport enthusiasts, the team has been dominating the local cycling circuit, exemplifying the true worth of discipline, dedication, commitment and teamwork.
Secretary of the Evolution Cycle Club, Andrew Arjoon, during an exclusive interview with News Room, spoke of the successes and challenges that the executives and cyclists have experienced since coming together as a unit.
“We were brought together by a bunch of guys that weren’t attached to teams, and somebody suggested the idea in idle conversation over beers one day that ‘why don’t we just bring some of the guys together’ and it sort of took off from there,” Arjoon reflected.
He continued, “We brought them together and had them informally for a while and supported them, and then it started to come together. We [then] made it official; we became affiliated with the [Guyana Cycling] Federation and it took off from there.”
The team started out as a small group, but has grown since, with the likes of Orville Hinds, Marlon ‘Fishy’ Williams, Michael Anthony, Raul Leal, Akeem Wilkinson, Stephen Fernandes, Christopher Cornelius, Nigel Duguid and Andrew Spencer donning the signature black and white uniform. Keith Fernandes, who also occasionally rides, is the president of the club.
In April 2015, the exploits of the club captured the attention of the management of Ansa McAl Trading, who decided to sign the riders to carry the company’s brand, Gillette. Since then, Team Gillette Evolution has been in the news for all the good reasons, including their lead rider Hinds being the overall top rider for 2015.
Hinds, a Lindener, is on course to repeat that feat, as he is comfortably leading the tally with 10 wins this year, while his teammates Anthony and Leal have five victories each and Williams has three. Thirty senior races have been held in 2016, and quite amazingly riders from Team Gillette Evolution have won 23.
A great sense of camaraderie and teamwork, Arjoon asserted, is the main reason for the tremendous success the team has been enjoying.
“We have a fairly cohesive group. We tend to try to do things together- we try to train together, because as you know, some of the guys live in Linden. We try to go up the [Soesdyke/Linden] highway and meet them. We try to pretty much keep it as a team,” Arjoon revealed.
When the riders are not competing or training, Arjoon related that they would all gather for team sessions that would sometimes have no relevance to cycling. This, he said, has proven very beneficial.
“It keeps us together and we have a tremendous sense of team, and we’re supported by many people, club members and otherwise. And I think that has helped tremendously to contribute to what we’re doing right now, and I hope it continues,” Arjoon pointed out.
The phenomenal success of the riders is no surprise to Arjoon, as according to him, “I know we had great cyclists on board, and it was a matter of them buying into the team, buying into the commitment, and buying into the training, because as good as these cyclists are, if they don’t train- and some of them have been victims earlier in the season of not training- they pay the price. But they’re great guys. Initially, I couldn’t figure out why they were without a team in the first place.”
Financing for sport is a major bugbear in Guyana, and that issue has not passed the doors of Team Gillette Evolution. Cycling is touted as the second most expensive sport behind motor-racing, and according to Arjoon, it is a real tough challenge to sustain the club.
“It’s really difficult. Financing, as you said…it’s quite expensive. It’s not cheap, but we’re grateful for the support we get,” Arjoon intimated.
He continued, “We keep looking for support simply because, as you said, it is expensive, and we would like to contribute to our guys and maintain their equipment. It’s not something sustainable if we were to do it by ourselves.”
The next major event on the club’s calendar is organising the annual Digicel Breast Cancer Awareness race on October 30. The club was chosen by the telecommunication company to coordinate the logistics this year, while riders will also partner with the ‘Red Network’ to promote cycling, especially among the youth population, for the next 12 months.
Photo credit: Guyana Cycling News