In the cyclists’ shadow.

Their work is hardly ever reported and remains in the shadow of the cyclists. Although they are secondary figures in the team, their role is always invaluable. What is mechanics’ and masseurs’ work like? For sure ‘light’ is not a proper word to describe it.

The former start their work a day before the race, when the folded and packed for the journey bicycles have to be put together again. – There is, in fact, a lot of work. The worst are long journeys, when we have to pack our equipment, dismantle the bikes and then put them together again. Then we have really a lot to do. Between stages, when it is not necessary to dismantle the equipment there is a bit less work, but we can’t complain about boredom. – says a mechanic of CCC Polsat Polkowice, Krzysztof Pokorski.
The working day is much longer than that of cyclists’. Usually they get up much earlier, and go to sleep last. Testing and preparing the equipment before the beginning of a stage is one of more important tasks of the support services. – It is obvious that we need to get up earlier than the racers, to check whether during the journey nothing was damaged. The bicycles have to be checked and taken care of perfectly, and this takes time – explains Pokorski.

Mechanics’ work is not easy and it requires a lot of self-control and experience. Often a racer asks for help while riding a bike, when the speed reached is very high. – Such situations happen. Even here, in Turkey, we had such a case in the third stage, when there was something wrong with Adrian Honkisz’s bike. Rear brakes needed correcting, so I had to work on it while the racer was riding.

– After a stage work is usually limited to cleaning the bikes. In this regard cyclist are very sensitive. Even when the weather is not too good, it is raining, and it is clear that after a kilometre’s ride there will not be much left of the initial cleanness, the equipment has to be shining clean. – sais the mechanic of Piotr Wadecki’s team.

Apart from mechanics, a lot of work is to be done by masseurs. The name can be quite misleading as the list of their task is much longer and not limited to a massage after the race.

– Massage is practically one tenth of our tasks during a race – states Patryk Rudziński, a professional masseur in the team of CCC Polsat Polkowice. What he says is for sure true, as they have also a lot of technical arrangements to be done e.g. arranging the rooms in hotels, so that cyclists could go for a rest right after finishing their competition, preparing cans with drinks, and bags with food given away in the buffet zone or looking after the racers’ luggage before and after each stage. Of course, what they are mainly present at races, is the massage. Each lasts about 20 to 30 minutes and starts, actually, right after the cyclists arrive at their hotel.

– Cyclists have demanding personalities, but we cannot spoilt them too much, because in a moment we will need to do even most insignificant tasks for them, and this is not what we are here for. – adds Rudziński.

source: – Fabian Florek – Pamukkale, Turkey