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7 essentials every Tour de France cycling team needs

Team buses, jet washes and water bottles are just some of the essentials every team can't do without

All the attention might be on Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome at the Tour de France at the moment, but behind the scenes, there are some essential things that every outfit needs to ensure things goes smoothly for the racers. In no particular order, here are some of those essentials...

1. Team bus

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No professional team would be complete without the now mandatory team bus. A relatively recent addition, the team bus can be relied upon to transport the riders in comfort to the start of the race, and it’ll be waiting for them at the end of the stage too. The team buses are fully featured and customised to suit specific needs, with comfortable reclining chairs, showers, coffee machines, large screen televisions and a plenty of luggage space for all the food and drink the team get through.

2. Team cars


Each team has a fleet of team cars and they follow along in the peloton, with a roof full of spare bikes, a back seat loaded with spare wheels and food and extra clothing filling the boot. The estate car is the preferred choice due to its cavernous boot and roof rails for fitting the huge bike rack. 

3. A comprehensive tool kit

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The three-week race is demanding on the bikes and they need to be in perfect working order. The mechanics are some of the hardest working individuals in the Tour de France, working tirelessly to ensure all the bikes are in tip-top condition. They’re kept extremely busy with routine maintenance as well as dealing with any other issues that might crop up during the race. A high-quality took kit is an essential, and each mechanic using their own.

4. Jet wash

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The bikes get cleaned following every stage. This involves a wash with a sponge and brush and favoured degreaser/detergent, a blast with a high-pressure jet wash, before being dried with an air hose and then lubed and prepped for the next day. Watching the mechanics clean the bike is to witness someone that works quickly and efficiently. With nine bikes to wash every day, they don’t exactly hang around. 

5. Lots of water and bottles

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Lots and lots of water. And energy products. And fizzy drink, too. The belly of this team bus was absolutely crammed with crates of water and other energy products. Given how quickly the team and staff get through water, we doubt this lot would last long at all. 

water bottles.JPG

Water bottles (bidons) are perhaps the biggest consumable for every team, and we saw huge boxes of them squirrelled away on the team buses. Water bottles are pretty much disposable, riders chuck them away when they’re empty and the mechanics are usually very generous and hand them out to children when asked nicely. As all cyclists know, they make good souvenirs.

6. Scales


The UCI sets a weight limit of 6.8kg for all race bikes, so it’s down to the mechanics to ensure each race bike is no lighter. It’s not uncommon for bikes to be fitted with steel axles or have weights added to the seat tube, to ensure the bike doesn’t dip below the weight limit. We're certain the mechanics will know what the bikes weigh well before the Tour de France, but it can't harm to double check.

7. Food truck

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This is the latest trend in cycling. With the quest for marginal gains, more teams have embraced the idea of taking a dedicated food truck around France with them, parked up at the team hotel overnight with their own chefs preparing all the meals for the team.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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