With the globalisation of cycling and the expansion of the sport in the recent couple of decades; the time where the racing season started in the middle of February in Europe is long gone. Nowadays, you can find the peloton in action throughout Oceania, South America and the Middle East in the early months of the year.
With a lot of teams, including us, based in Europe – this does bring some logistical challenges as it’s not entirely feasible (or possible at all) to take your own fleet of vehicles to these races. Furthermore, different countries require different visas or passes to get there; all of which must be accounted for too.
We thought it would be interesting to peel back the curtain so to speak and give you an insight into just how a professional cycling team manages these challenges, so we sat down and gathered insight from two of our colleagues Kim Bekhuis (Operations) and Yannick Runhart (Warehouse).
A common struggle for all travellers
Planning for these races starts long in advance both in terms of what materials are needed to be taken but also the administration side of everything. This requires Kim, Yannick and the rest of our colleagues to work in harmony to make sure everything is prepared.
One of the first stumbling blocks is arranging for all material to make it to the race location safely and on time. This firstly requires some days to be arranged at our HQ for the mechanics to make sure that everything is packed before the material is taken to the airport. Some organisers have specific flights to take materials while for other races the bikes etc might have to be taken by the riders and staff.
This leads into one of the “main challenges for packing” according to Yannick, which for like any normal person when going on holiday, is the weight of luggage and the limited space we have. That means we are limited with what we can all take to a race, so things have to be prioritised, such as the bikes and our own tools, while for example it is sometimes cheaper to buy certain materials in the country itself, like a massage table, rather than paying for shipping. Interestingly, this has seen the team in the past buy a washing machine for a week in China and then sell it after the event was finished.