Cycling is an interesting individual sport that requires teams. That seems like a paradox, whenever you are riding you are alone. There is no one to pass the ball to. There are no other rowers. Its just you and the bike and you personally have to make all the decisions. It is like a chess game where you have to continually calculate moves. Do I sprint? Do I keep pulling or do I wimp out? What is the rider in front of me doing? Do I need to pull back? Should I prepare to brake? Where are my escape routes if the person in front of me wrecks or brakes or passes gas?
You have to ride in a pack if you want to go fast. The increase in efficiency provided by a paceline can mean the difference of several miles an hour and will carry you to the end of the event.
However, the team part adds some mob mentality. All the riders can agree to a certain style of riding – how long are pulls, how fast should we go, etc. However, at any given second it is up to the individual to decide how to react to conditions.