What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: A day of a soigneur in the Tour

During the Tour the France there are of course our nine Lotto Belisol riders. But behind them there’s a whole crew to support them. Those people are indispensable and see to it that our riders make it through the Tour circus. Among the Lotto Belisol staff there are for example five soigneurs who take care of the cyclists before, in and after the race. But what are the specific tasks of the soigneurs? How does a day in the Tour de France look like for them? Soigneur Kurt Wouters explains his role in the Tour:

Kurt Wouters: “Early in the morning before the start of the stage, two soigneurs are already heading to the next hotel in order to prepare everything before the riders arrive in the evening. They make sure that the suitcases are in the right room, that bottles of water, fruit and snacks are available for the riders and that the massage tables are ready to use.”

“Together with two other soigneurs I’m responsible for all the food and drinks the riders get just before, in, and just after the race. This means that we fill the bottles, make the ice chests ready for the cars driving behind the bunch and prepare the supply bags and recovery shakes. During the race the soigneurs are driving ahead of the riders. When we arrive at the supply zone we pull over and wait for the riders to pass. After the supply we take an alternative route towards the finish, where we give the riders the necessary support after their arrival. We distribute drinks, recovery shakes and sandwiches and escort the riders back to the bus. If a Lotto Belisol rider should win a stage, we would go with him to the podium.”

“After the race everybody gathers in the hotel. The riders have to get a massage as soon as possible after the race, preferably before dinner. With a full stomach a massage is in fact not that effective. However they are allowed to eat something small like fruit, sweets or rice pudding. The massage takes about an hour.”

“Each soigneur is in charge of two riders. One soigneur only takes care of one rider, but he also does the laundry. Before the beginning of the Tour we set up a schedule and we plan which soigneur has to massage which rider. It is also fixed who is responsible for the hotel and who follows the race. We keep to this scheme over the three weeks.”

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