The task of a domestique can, at times, be a thankless one – putting in the hard miles, slogging away in the wind and then having to sit back and watch as your team-mate bids for success and the headlines which come with it.
And the same can be said of lead-out men, with every great sprinter having a trusted train leading the way through the frantic final kilometres.
Some, however, have made their name as leadout specialists and none more so than Mark Cavendish’s chief lieutenant, Mark Renshaw.
Renshaw was Cavendish’s leadout man as the Manx Missile destroyed all before him at the head of the famous HTC-Highroad team and the duo have been reunited at Omega Pharma-QuickStep this year.
The popular Australian has been central to some of Cavendish’s biggest victories, also working with other great fast men like Andre Greipel and Thor Hushovd, and it is not for nothing that Renshaw has received widespread praise as the world’s greatest lead-out man.
But what goes into crafting the perfect lead-out? A lead-out which, for Renshaw and Cavendish, has at times seen them blow their opposition apart to such an extent Renshaw has followed the Manxman across the line in second place.
Read Renshaw’s thoughts on what makes a successful lead-out over the following pages.