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Behind The Scenes With Canyon//SRAM Racing At The Women’s Tour

– Canyon-SRAM is one of
the most exciting names in women’s professional racing, and we’re super lucky
to be joining them today as they prepare for one
of the most important stage races on their calendar,
the OVO Energy Women’s Tour here in the UK. From getting to know the riders, to their crucial support
team behind the scenes, I’ve absolutely no doubt
that it’s going to be a really insightful day
into the inner workings of women’s professional racing. (upbeat electronic music) So it’s 10:30 in the morning, and the riders have
woken up here in Suffolk, had some breakfast, getting ready, they’ve got some new bikes to show you, new kit, which is really exciting. And we’re just about to
head out on a training ride just to warm up and get ready
for the first stage tomorrow, and fingers crossed I don’t get dropped. This could be interesting. – So then we have, Katherine first? – Yes, thank you very much for having me. – So…
– I’ll be on my best behavior, I won’t take anybody out, promise. (laughter) (mellow synth music) We’re rolling out for
an hour and a half ride, thankfully with a café stop, too. As riders have traveled
here from all over Europe, it’s a good opportunity
for them to spin the legs and leader Alice are keen to
put in some short efforts, too. I’ve got a real feeling
of the technical ability of the team which you just
can’t appreciate on the TV, which really sets them apart from an enthusiastic amateur like me, even at these casual speeds, let alone at race pace, rounded
by a hundred other riders. (mellow electronic music) After our coffee stop, Kasia heads directly back to race HQ to get ready for press conference duties, invited as the tour winner two years ago after a career-changing solo breakaway on the very first stage. So we’ve just come back
from our training ride, and the riders have gone
in to have some lunch and chill out for the afternoon. Meanwhile, Joe, the mechanic, is out here getting all the bikes looking absolutely spic-and-span ready for tomorrow. Giving them all a good wash and also having a good check-over. Hiya, Joe. – Hi. – So, you’ve got some
fabulous new bikes here! – Yes, exactly, we have a change of color for this race so it’s something different. It’s, of course it’s women run, so to make more women ride their bike, and so we changed the
color for this event, and, yeah, I think it’s
looking pretty nice. – [Katherine] And in terms
of setup, between the riders, obviously they’ve just switched out to these bikes for this race. – [Joe] Yes. – [Katherine] Does that
take you a lot of time and preparation, in terms
of getting the fits right? How d’you manage that? – [Joe] Okay, I mean, for
sure you have to build like six new bikes, but
I tell you one secret, for this race, to make
it a little bit more easy for me or for the mechanic,
I swapped the seat poles from the normally race bike. Because they are used to the saddle, they are used to the position, so this is the only part I take from the old bike or from
the normally-ridden bike and all the other pieces are new. I mean with the handlebar,
we don’t have so much possibilities, with
angles, because we look, use like a cockpit. – [Katherine] And then,
during the race, will you be in the back of the team
car, ready to assist? – Yes, I sit in the team
car, okay on the wrong side or the other side – (laughter) so I have to get used
– On the right side. – I have to get used to
this, because normally, like in the rest of Europe,
we sit on the other side, so we have to get used to this, it also makes it for the beginning more difficult, because, like, you have to swap all of the bikes on the roof. Because normally, you
sit on the right side and you have the most important bikes on the right side, now you sit on the left, so you have to think about it to put also like, the most important bikes on the left side. But yeah, I think after one or two days you are really into it and then it, it’s fun. – [Katherine] It’s time to
check back in with the riders. So, you guys have had some lunch, and just chill out for
the rest of the afternoon? Have you got anything particular planned? – I think the days before
the race are always like, pretty relaxing days, so, we can’t wait to have our massage,
Lais and Alessandra are always giving us very good massage the day before the race,
and some NormaTec boots, so yeah, it’s all about, y’know, recovery, getting ready, and maybe, it depends from girl to girl, like, to me I prefer not to
think too much about the race so I kind of try to do
something different. Watching a movie or reading something and yeah, just chilling, actually. – [Katherine] The race this
year is really exciting ’cause they’ve made it
even tougher than before, so there’s stages for
sprinters, for climbers, and even a circuit race. Do you feel like your team
selection reflects that? – Yeah, for sure. We have, I think a strong team here. We have so many cards to
play for every kind of situation in the race, I think we have like, good
riders for the sprint. We have Kasia as the
main climber of course, and then so many good
riders for breakaway. I think we should, this race
is a lot about taking chances. The course is really open
to every kind of rider. – So in previous years, people have said that the women’s tour is too easy. As a previous winner here two years ago, how would you take that and how are you looking forward to this year? – To be honest, in my opinion, this race has never been easy. Like, I do not remember being here racing and thinking, oh, it’s actually okay, it’s not that hard,
because roads are rolling all the time and there’s
no time to recover, because you have to keep
pushing all the time. So, if the last editions
were considered to be easy, then I, we’re going to be like zombies after this race. (laughs) It’s going to be super,
yeah, hard to survive. I mean, but you know, on the other hand sometimes you hear a lot of people telling how hard it’s going to be, and at the end, it’s normal race, y’know? We always race aggressively,
so I don’t believe that it’s going to be that
that that more difficult. – So now we’re joined by
Lars, who’s one of the two physios on the team. So tell me, I saw you this morning, doing all sorts of bits and
pieces besides physio work. What sort of other duties do you get involved with on the team? – Actually, everything. In the morning we do
breakfast, prepare everything. So every nutrition stuff
we do, we do laundry, so, couple washing cars. – And you’ve been in
women’s professional racing for a long time, ten years, is that right? – Yeah. – And have you seen any
changes over that time? – For sure, it’s increased,
so, it’s developed a lot. So, from the past, like, really starts, they had to
share spare bikes and now every girl has so many owned bikes, spare bikes, race bikes,
TT bikes, home bikes, so just from the
infrastructure of the teams it’s really changed, and also the power or like, the strength of the
girls just really increased. And so we have not just one, two riders, we have fifteen, twenty
riders who can win a race. – Ronnie Lauke is the
Canyon-SRAM team manager and also sports director for this race. Let’s catch up with him. Ronnie, this is a pretty
important stage race on your calendar, would you say? – Yeah, of course, I mean,
it’s the organization office, too, has done an amazing job to bring a race that has
only existed on paper bringing it up to life
and basically setting the benchmark for the sport within a period of five years. – [Katherine] So, one of
the really exciting things about this year’s race
is that it’s so varied, so you’ve got some stages
really for the sprinters, there’s even a criterium, and some really hilly stages packed in
at the end of the week. Have you got a team
selection that reflects that? – [Ronnie] I believe we
do have that type of group that can shine and will put some glory. We have with Tiffany, we
have an extremely experienced rider, although she is not the one who is producing the results all the time, but she’s a very important puzzle piece in our, in our group. Guiding the young group of riders like for instance Kasia, I mean, she is so long around and so
long amongst the top riders in the world, but you cannot forget she is still 24 only, and so she doesn’t know everything yet. There’s still many things
where she can improve and even have resource to
become a better bike rider, maybe not physically, but more like how to read bike races and also to be more
confident about herself, and for that Tiff is a very good teacher. – And finally, we’ve got
three vehicles on board, obviously the team car, mechanic’s truck, and your team bus. Would you mind giving us a quick tour? – I don’t mind, actually, welcome! – Shall we?
– Let’s go there, yeah! Great! – [Ronnie] So, I’ll try
my best to explain it, because it’s not my home, it’s actually the riders’
and the soigneur’s home, and I don’t know really
how it’s organized. I am just a guest in here. So come in. So, yeah, that’s basically the workspace for the the soigneurs,
for the physiotherapists where they prepare all
the meals, all the drinks for the riders, where
they have storage for the spare clothing, any spare
items that the drivers need, and then of course before and after races it’s a living room for the riders, where they can relax, recover, but also have their own little bubble where they, nobody can
talk to them when they, who they don’t want to. – Yeah, I guess with the
like, the number of fans that follow the races, and
all the media attention it’s quite important for the riders, just to have their own
space, their own privacy. – And maybe, of course
we love to have media and spectators, but
there, on the other side the riders are also, they need to have their own little
bubble, where they feel home as if in private, as they
can think about the race, how to approach it, and this is actually their room, so, where they, yeah, can get ready. But also, after racing,
especially when things haven’t worked out and they don’t
want to show the emotions to the people on the outside, and when things didn’t go
according to expectation, they walk in here, close doors, and then either they become very quiet or there’s a thunderstorm
amongst the riders that nobody should be aware of. So, it goes in every direction. – Or, of course, if there’s a stage where it’s massively successful, you could have a party of
maybe twelve people in here. (laughs) So we’re taking a sneak
peek now at the back of the team bus, and this
is really some storage for the soigneurs. So here we’ve got which nutrition products each of the riders prefers
both before the race, during, and after. So they know exactly what to make up for who, which is pretty cool. And then another really interesting thing that we’ve noticed in the back here, couple of years ago, at the Giro Rossa, which is one of the biggest
races in their calendar, it’s very very hot obviously,
being July in Italy, and they couldn’t find ice anywhere. So they took the liberty of installing their very own ice machine, so they can always keep bottles cold. And that’s, that’s pretty cool. Now we’ve been really lucky to be accessed all areas with the team, but one thing that we’re not allowed in on is going on in there right now. And that’s the rider
meeting, where they’re going to be discussing all of the tactics and the strategy for
the next six days ahead. So I guess we’d better leave ’em to it. (atmospheric music) The day is here, it’s time for stage one of the women’s tour. After a short hour
transfer from the hotel, the riders are kitting up and signing on, ready for their 160 kilometer day in the forecasted rain. All of the training and
preparation is done, all that’s left to do now is race. (uplifting guitar music) And that’s it, now the women have left for their first stage of their race, now it’s down to the
teams to get to the finish of this stage, make sure
everything is prepared and ready, and then of course it’s all over again for the next five days. I hope you’ve enjoyed this
video taking a closer look inside Canyon-SRAM. If you’d like to see some more from them, click just down here, and make sure you give us a big thumbs up if you’ve enjoyed this video.

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