What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: Physiotherapist and osteopath Tim Aerts in the Tour

The Tour de France is one of the most intense races of the year. Three weeks long the riders have to deal with one heavy stage after another. This is why it can happen that a rider starts to suffer from a blocked body part or wrist. Our physiotherapist and osteopath Tim Aerts is there with the Lotto Belisol riders to treat their physical problems and to make sure they are fit for the start of each race.

Tim Aerts: “During the Tour my job is to deal with acute physical complaints of the riders to ensure that they are able to start in the next stage without problems. This procedure is called ostheopathy: a manual and manipulative treatment of the blocked body parts. On the other hand physiotherapy has to do with movement, which is not really necessary for the riders in the Tour as they move enough already. Besides that I also support riders during their recovery after a serious injury for example.”

“For me a day in the Tour begins right after breakfast. Whereas the soigneurs already put away their massage tables in the bus mine is still available to riders who had a bad night or feel a body part is blocked. After breakfast I also take care of the riders who need elastic therapeutic taping. Normally I don’t do massages because that’s the job of the soigneurs. I only massage if it’s really necessary. After that I help with the preparations for the race, such as filling bottles and making supply bags.”

“Just before the start of a stage I visit the riders’ bus to do some extra elastic therapeutic taping if necessary. As an example I check up on Jürgen Roelandts each day before the beginning of the race because he still suffers from his rib that he broke during the Ster ZLM Toer. When the race has started I either join the sports directors or I go with the soigneurs to the supply zone. It also happens that I’m standing at the side of the road with bottles and extra wheels.”

“After the race the most important part of my job begins. In the hotel I give the riders with physical complaints a treatment, but mostly all riders come to see me for a preventive check-up, even if there’s nothing wrong.”

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