With the Tour de France kicking off tomorrow, Pedalcover has been fortunate to secure an exclusive interview with John Evans, a soigneur with Tinkoff SAXO.
With all eyes on the team as captain Alberto Contador looks to do the double having taken the pink jersey at Giro D’Italia, John gives us a sneak peek behind the scenes during the last week.
“The lead up to any major race is extremely well organised. There are no hidden surprises and the team operates like clockwork. Anything and everything that can be done in advance is done so that when we arrive in France there’s minimal stress.
“The majority of preparation is done in our team HQ in Luxemburg. All the bikes are completely rebuilt at HQ in advance of the race, then the packing starts!
“All the vans are loaded in advance and we pack depending on the weather conditions.
“There’s a van for the bikes, one for equipment, another for nutrition which includes over 1,000 drink bottles.
“And one for mattresses! All the riders have their own mattresses and pillows. Given that we change hotels most days, we take no chances as all beds differ. We need our riders to be fully rested if they’re going to perform at their peak so we ensure consistency by taking our own mattresses.
“I flew out to Luxemburg on Tuesday then headed to France with the majority of the team on Wednesday.
“The riders arrived Wednesday evening as well and had a massage to get the travel out of their legs.
“The last couple of days the riders take it as easy as possible, because when race starts it is chaos.
“For the team, we’ve been on airport runs picking up other members of the team and there’s always shopping to be done. There’s over 30 of us in the team that need to be fed and we have a dedicated kitchen team of two chefs and assistant chef who prepare all our meals so food shopping is done on a daily basis.
“The riders went out this morning for two hours. With time trials tomorrow, the focus today has been on the time trial bikes. The riders and mechanics making small adjustments to the bikes as necessary.
“This evening the riders had a massage and will have food pretty soon afterwards, before a relatively early night.
“Tomorrow the riders will be doing time trials, and the team will be preparing for the road race the next day.
“We’ll be making up a minimum of 200 bottles of water. With the minerals added the morning of the race. We’ll also be packing the riders bags with energy bars and gels. Fresh food such as cakes and sandwiches will be added the morning of the race.
“I’m excited for it all to get underway and will check in again in due course.”