The weekend of the 20th February I had the great opportunity of being invited to share a weekend with the Trek Team and some fellow bike riders to experience behind the scenes on how they get the riders to the line every day.
The infrastructure behind the working of a Pro Team is immense.
I have been involved in helping teams many times and it’s full-on.
This was a nicer experience as, being a guest, I could stand back and take it all in and really see the workings of what is going on behind the machine.
A top pro Team for a year can cost between 20 and 25 million pounds to run so it's vital everything is taken care of to try and make it a success.
The main expenses to give you an idea are:
- Staff and riders
- Race cost (travel and expenses)
- Bike performance
- Sport science & medical
- Vehicle running cost
- Race registration
- Office expenses
- PR & marketing
- Legal & Professional fees
And more, so it really starts to add up.
The Trek team were like a well-oiled machine, everything working like clockwork from the moment the riders get up to the moment they go to sleep. The staff are the first people to start work on race day and the last to go to bed.
These guys working relentlessly. The bikes have to be in top working order, especially in a stage race like this one where they are racing back to back and where the bikes are being taken to their limits in all kind of weather. Firstly, they have to get there before everyone and unload the rider’s bikes. After this they have to transport the bike to the start fully prepped to the riders’ personal set up, as each bike is personally tailored to each rider. They are also on hand all through the race in the event of mechanical problems and after the race they will check all of the bikes over as well as chat to the riders to see if any tweaks to the setup are needed. These guys are often working into the night.
The team directors are responsible for organising the logistics of the tour for the team, insuring everything runs smoothly and that accommodation meets their requirements. Then daily staff meetings, sometimes well in to the night, insuring drivers of the fleet team vehicles know exactly where and when they need to be and who or what they are transporting. Nutritionist and physios have to be on hand preparing drinks and food before, after and during the race, where each rider has their own personal needs so it’s imperative they know exactly the itinerary of the day down to the finest details. Communication is key. Then not forgetting the meeting with the coaches and riders’ feedback from the days racing, tactics for the next day depending if they’re working for the overall win or stage wins where the team will all work for one rider to insure they reach the teams goals. The strategy for these races have been planned a long time before the event, looking at riders’ form and who will take on certain rolls. Objectives can sometimes be changed during a race, for example if riders crash or become ill.
Pro Riders are made of something truly special, riding in all conditions, day-in, day-out with some time physical injuries due to incidents within the racing but they just get on with it, truly inspiring for all of us fellow bike riders
It’s a hard game.
Hope this has given you a small insight into a pro team and how they operate. It was a great experience, many thanks to Ricardo Figueiredo from Trek.
The views shared are that of the author and are not necessarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.