Besides the 198 riders preparing to start the Tour de France tomorrow, there are hundreds more team personnel ranging from DSs to masseurs and chefs to mechanics looking to make sure that the men vying for stage wins and the maillot jaiune are in the best possible condition. Ahead of the Grand Départ, here’s some videos looking at some of those roles.
Since its debut at the start of the season, Orica-GreenEdge has used its Backstage Pass videos on YouTube to give fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life at a team at the highest level of the sport.
Here, DS Matt White introduces us to the support staff who will play a key role as the team becomes the first from Australia to compete in the Tour – the most recent recruit being Robbie McEwen, who retired from racing after last month’s Tour of California but whose role on the Tour will include providing a recce of the sprint stages.
In case you missed the presentation yesterday, there is also a look at the team’s new kit.
As White alludes to in that Orica-GreenEdge video, some of the hardest working people on the Tour are the team mechanics, up early to prep the bikes and off to bed late after all the cleaning and everything else that needs to take place after the stage.
Some of course will travel in the team car with their spanners, actual and magic, to deal with the aftermath of mechanicals and chutes, and throw in the odd lengthy transfer after a stage and you have to wonder where they find time to get everything done.
Here, Garmin-Sharp team mechanic Alex Banjay, speaking at last month’s Tour of California, talks us through a typical day. To be honest, he looks like he’s rather be in bed than being interviewed…
Another essential member of the backroom staff is the team chef. There seems to be a bit of a fashion of employing Danes in that position at the moment – Team Sky and Orica GreenEdge among others – though Garmin-Sharp’s Barb and Chris Grealish are definitely from the other side of the pond.
Again talking at the Tour of California, Barb talks us through her cooking and some of the challenges she faces. We love the big Le Creuset pot she’s cooking in, and we love the Garmin bike trailer in the background that Chris uses to lug the washing-up back to the hotel.
Finally, just in case you haven’t had a chance to get an overview of the three-week race yet, here’s the full official flythrough video.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.