What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: Preview Tour de France: Logistics

2200 bidons, 220 muzettes, 250 caps, 5 l washlotion, 120 tubes, 70 pairs of wheels; it’s only a part of the material that is necessary for three weeks Tour de France. A big part of this material left already last Sunday. The Tour is always a big logistical undertaking, but because the start is on Corsica this year, all material has to be brought to the island by boat, only the cook truck stays on the mainland. The first days our kitchen team will cook in the hotels. All other vehicles go to Corsica: 5 team cars, the brand new team bus, the truck, one camper, one smaller truck and four VIP cars.

Next to the nine riders, who took the plane to Corsica yesterday, there are nineteen people of the staff: general manager Marc Sergeant, three sports directors (Mario Aerts, Herman Frison and Marc Wauters), a doctor, an osteopath, five soigneurs, four mechanics, a bus driver, the PR and communication manager and two chefs. Three times during the Tour an extra mechanic will make the trip to France in a camper with 18 time trial bikes. The material for the time trials doesn’t stay with the team the whole Tour. 27 road bikes of Ridley – 13 x Helium SL and 14 x Noah Fast – are coming for the whole journey.

Reservations for hotels, applying for accreditations, setting out the route, … Months before the start of the Tour that is already being organized. Valérie D’haeze and sports director Herman Frison coordinate that project.

Valérie D’haeze, head logistics and administration Lotto Belisol: “The preparations for the Tour started already in March, this was earlier than other years because of the visit to Corsica. Tour organization ASO gave us some possibilities to make the transfer to Corsica, then we could make the reservations. From Wednesday before the Tour until the last Sunday ASO points out the hotels for each team. There are 6 single bedrooms and 9 twins available. That isn’t enough for everyone that comes with Lotto Belisol, so extra rooms had to be booked, those can be in another hotel.”

“Besides the sportive part there’s also the VIP programme, which is completely our own responsibility and we have a separate plan for that. There are always two night’s stays for our guests, they arrive one day before the stage they’ll follow and then stay another night and have dinner before they return home. Lotto Belisol has two VIP buses for six guests each, we’ll receive about 250 VIP’s.”

“There is much preparation before the Tour. The Giro and Vuelta are stage races of three weeks as well, but the Tour is much bigger. In June my entire work is for the Tour. But after June, it’s up to the men in France.”

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