Winning Stage Races

By Allen Giese, ChFC®, CLU®


I enjoyed watching parts of the Tour de France last month. I would catch glimpses of it on TV as we dined in local restaurants and would stumble across it channel surfing at home. I love watching the racing but I also love seeing the beautiful French countryside as the backdrop to the 21 stages the 176 racers covered throughout France.

I grew up around cyclists and remember the great Belgian racer from the 1970’s, Eddy Merckx.  Merckx is one of three racers to have won 8 of the 21 stages – the most in any single tour. Merckx did this in 1970 and 1974 and ended up winning both of those tours.

Contrast that with another great racer, Greg “LeMonster” LeMond, the American cyclist who won the Tour de France in 1986 and 1989. Then in 1990 he did it again but this time without winning a single stage. This isn’t an anomaly either – five other cyclists have won the Tour without winning a single stage.

Apparently you don’t have to win any stage races to still come out on top.

As an investor, it’s important to keep this in mind. You don’t have to win every month, quarter or even every year to end up on the podium wearing the Yellow Jersey. Actually, trying to keep up with the short-term winners can be counter-productive to long-term success. It’ll also burn you out.

I see this with other types of athletes besides cyclists as well. The greatest, those who have a history of winning, have an ability to pace their race. They aren’t distracted by what others are doing around them. They have tremendous discipline, patience and focus and don’t fall to distractions or external influences that could potentially derail their strategy.

As investors we all feel self-doubt creep in from time to time, tempting us into alternative strategies and abandoning current plans. But we know what can’t be denied, that having a detailed investment plan in place based on evidence and not speculation, designed for up and down markets, will get us where we want to go, if we stick to it.

You don’t have to win every race to make it to the podium. Have a plan, make sure it’s based on real historical evidence, and don’t get distracted. If you have questions or would like a better understanding of your investment strategy give your advisor a call.