The riders lining up at the start of the Tour de France can have very different goals from one another. From the sprinter whose sole target is first week glory and an early trip home, to the climbers targeting the victory at a mountain top finish, any rider involved in the Tour will know exactly what they want to get out of it.
For mere mortals, however, setting goals for a season can be problematic and should be approached with an attitude that plans need to change and be flexible. Nevertheless, having a clear ultimate aim for the season can provide a good focus around which to build a programme of training and racing.
Basing success purely on winning is risky, and will often lead to disappointment, but while for professional sportsman the realism of what victory means for their careers is ever present for amateurs there has to be a different approach.
So early in the season plan out your key goals. Then look at your training and racing schedule and plan a programme focused on putting you on the start line of your main event in the best possible shape. Be flexible enough to adapt your programme throughout the year, but focused enough that the 'heat of battle' won't distract you from your ultimate goal. Finally, after you've completed your hardest challenge, reflect on how it went and work out how to make it even better for next season.