We now know that Chris Froome is the 2nd British winner of the tour de France in as many years, an extraordinary achievement. Cycling might not be everybody’s favourite sport but it does offer fascinating insights into the relative importance in human nature of both individualism and being a group player.
How often in this race did we see individuals or small groups breakaway from the main pack of riders. How often too were they clawed back by cyclists working hard for each other. These of course were cyclists who were also arch rivals yet when they needed to they pulled together. When a breakaway group did succeed and escape the peloton this was partly because the breakaway group all worked for each other, and often also because the main peloton had too many people making individual breaks rather than working together. Groups of individualists, however brilliant, will never outcompete highly cooperative groups. This is true of all team sports but also it seems of groups in human evolutionary history