Team Sky’s bus was quickly nicknamed the Death Star when it was unveiled in the UCI WorldTour outfit’s debut season in 2010, but its latest innovation is on another scale altogether – a two-storey ‘Race Hub’ that will be unmissable at the Vuelta, which starts in the French city of Nîmes tomorrow.
The portable structure includes a kitchen, dining room and meeting room as well as a communal area, and in transit folds in on itself to be housed in the trailer of an articulated lorry.
Here’s a video of it being erected – there’s clearly going to be a bit of work involved in putting it up then taking it all back down again
And here's how the Team Sky Race Hub takes shape! pic.twitter.com/ZZbSNv5NJf
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) August 16, 2017
Team Sky rider Wout Poels features in this video as he gives a guided tour to show what goes on inside it.
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) August 18, 2017
The team has also tweeted pictures of the Race Hub and its interior.
Our new Team Sky Race Hub is making its debut this week at the Vuelta! Take a look around...
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) August 16, 2017
As requested, here's some more pics of the Race Hub with the riders and staff settling into their new surroundings... pic.twitter.com/aCYfcSM8k3
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) August 17, 2017
Team Sky says:
The Race Hub forms an important part of Team Sky's programme to support all its staff at race and modernise the on race accommodation provided for them.
The Team Sky Race Hub will provide a new flexible space for riders and staff that can be used on race in a variety of different ways - for example communal eating, Team briefings and pre and post-race relaxation. It can also be used for guest hospitality and media.
Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford commented: “As a team we have always prioritised the support we give to our riders and staff. We all know how demanding Grand Tours can be.
"The nature of our sport inevitably involves thousands of kilometres of racing, constant travel between stages, ever changing hotel accommodation and long hours. We know how much all our people give to the Team and the sacrifices they make.
“As a result we have become increasingly focused over the past year on the need to provide our staff with an environment where we can look after them even better - a space where they can relax more easily, eat and be briefed together. Rest and recovery are obviously every bit as important as training for performance."
Brailsford continued: “This is not just about the riders but also the team behind the team who work from dawn long into the night to help them perform at their best."
“I believe the Race Hub will help strengthen our team culture further and foster even greater communication and camaraderie between riders and staff.
“We will be trailing the new Race Hub at this year's Vuelta and looking at how we can best use it going forward to support the team.
He added: “We are constantly looking for ways where we can innovate, modernise and improve and we see this as an important next step of that programme.”
In June 2015, world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, amended its rules to prevent Team Sky from housing Chris Froome in a motorhome at that year’s Tour de France.
The previous month Richie Porte, still with the team at the time, had used it during the Giro d’Italia where he was Team Sky’s contender for the overall.
The UCI amended its regulations to read:
In all road stage races on the international calendar the organisers must cover the subsistence expenses of the teams from the night before the start to the final day; riders must stay in the hotels provided by the organiser throughout the entire duration of the race. The decision was made in order to reaffirm absolute fairness between all riders.
Given the Race Hub does not provide accommodation, it would appear to remain within the letter of the regulations – although for some, perhaps not within the spirit.
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.