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How To Look After A Pro Cycling Team Leader With Team Sunweb | Giro d’Italia 2018

How To Look After A Pro Cycling Team Leader With Team Sunweb | Giro d’Italia 2018


– Being the team leader at a Grand Tour is a great privilege but also
quite a big responsibility. And for some people, that can weigh quite heavy on their shoulders,
especially if, for example, they are one of the race favourites. So we thought we’d come
talk to Team Sunweb about how they look
after their team leader, because after Tom
Dumoulin’s amazing victory last year in the Giro d’Italia, he’s definitely one of 2018’s favourites. So we thought we’d ask them
how they look after him. (dramatic music) Right, so here we are
talking to Brian Stephens, who is one of Sunweb’s
team director sportifs. He’s taken some time out of his
quite busy planning schedule thanks, Brian, to tell us a
little bit about how a team builds, a riders team,
around a Grand Tour leader. So Brian, can you start
from the beginning? Where would you say the planning
for a Grand Tour starts? – Way back at the end of last year. The plans were put down
and who was likely to ride, and the training camps
leading into the tour. So the key guys were all in Sierra Nevada recently training for the tour. – [Emma] So you have
a long list of riders. How many would be on the
long list, would you say? – Probably about 10 or
12 for the eight spots, but the key guys are pretty much penned in, rather than pencilled in. – We’re talking about how you
support a team leader here. How much do you think that
you take, say Tom’s advice, or his influence on your team selection? – [Brian] I think we’d ask Tom whether we look at the credentials of the riders and the strengths and
weaknesses of the riders. – You’ve got a big team of mechanics and soigneurs around all the riders. Say for example, I know
on some teams the leader might have their personal soigneur or someone they like
working with as a mechanic or a soigneur, is that
how it works on Sunweb? – No we’ve got a big focus on team. Everyone’s on the same level. The guys swap around between us. – It all sounds a bit
funny to me when someone has their own personal carer. It sounds just a little
bit like favouritism which is not that fair. – Tom’s obviously a really
important part of the time. At the end of the day,
it’s a champion team that’ll beat a team of a champions. We try and keep it very team-focused. (guitar riffs and drums) – So we’ve now grabbed a
moment of Kevin’s time. Kevin is one of the
Sunweb team’s soigneurs. Are you Tom’s personal soigneur? – No. He doesn’t have a personal soigneur. We are all rotating all over just to keep everybody equal with the treatments. It’s all much more fun. You can talk to everybody during the race. – I think that a soigneur’s
role is really really important in terms of the
mental well-being of riders. Can you tell me a little bit
about that time the athlete has on the massage table where
you’re looking after them in sort of one to one time where they can talk or sleep or relax? – Actually, what you say,
their personal quality time. If they want to talk, we can. I’m there to talk with them. If it’s private talk or just
something about the race or something political or about a movie or about a book or girlfriend
or wife or just sleep, it’s just their moment and
they decide what they want. (guitar riffs) – All right, now I’m just
slightly interrupting Felipe here, who is the head mechanic for Team Sunweb. Don’t stop working Felipe cause I know you have an awful lot to do. Can you tell us a little bit about the pack up last night in Israel? – Yeah. In Israel we
had 21 bikes and we had quite a shorter time
to packing that bikes. We have two hours or something like that to have all the bikes
packing, all the material, and delivering the cargo. – So maybe you can tell
us also a little bit about looking after the riders’
bikes, so does the team leader, for example, does he have a
special person or mechanic or special treatment on Sunweb? – No, we have a, like as
you said, Head Mechanic, but we don’t have a Head
Mechanic on the team actually. Everybody work together. We have few responsibles
because make it more easy to communication but in the
end, we work all together. No I’m the head here or I’m not the guy. – You must have a special time
trial bike for Tom though, I think that made an
appearance on stage one. – Yeah, we have the add
for Tom in that case because of the water
title and the time trial. We have the rainbow bike,
but that’s the only thing so far, let’s see, maybe, it’s coming. – So you don’t have a pink bike
in the truck already ready? – Now, we don’t have any
pink bike and frame so far. But we fight for that. (rock music) – All right, hello, I’m Emma. – Hi, I’m Chad. – Can you tell me a little bit
about your role in the race and how you help Tom in the Giro? – My role is to protect
Tom as long as possible from the start of the race. I think of it as sort
of a shepherding role to guide him around and to make sure he never touches the wind until the final when the racing really kicks off and I sort of hand him
over to the other guys who’ve been also staying out of the wind, not using their energy.
– If he’s not in the wind, that means then you often are, I guess? – Yeah. The goal is for both
of us to be out of the wind. But if cross-winds pop up or if we need to move or if after a nature break, I tow him around and make sure he for sure doesn’t use any energy. – I certainly know if you
want to stay in position in the Peloton, it’s much easier if you, well not that it’s ever
easy, but it’s much better if you have teammates near
you to sort of gang up on other riders and so
having another Sunweb jersey near him will make Tom feel
a lot happier in the bunch. – Yeah it’s certainly helpful
to have teammates around to make space if you need
to change sides due to wind or a corner coming up and
teammates sticking together is sort of the way of riding now. If you’re by yourself, you
don’t get as much respect as when the whole team is together. – I knew when I raced that
having teammates near me who were making decisions for me, maybe when I was under
pressure to preform, it really helped me mentally to stay calm, I didn’t have to decide things. Are you the one, who out on the road, decides whether you have
to chase that break or not, if the radio’s not working,
are you the team captain? – No I’m not. We’ve got
Roy and Laurens and Tom is also pretty decisive and
vocal about what he wants. I’m more the, I execute commands. I’m not the one making the decisions. (drums) – Now I have borrowed the time of Robin who is the Sunweb team chef who has a pretty stressful life, I think, cause you have to change kitchens every time you change hotels, right? – Yup. Just like normal, it’s
getting into the kitchen. Ask how to go in, can
I get into the kitchen? Get used to the new place,
just ask everything. Where is stuff? And everyday, just making
nutrition for the guys. – [Emma] Do you have fairly specific diet plans for the riders? Do you work with nutritionists
back home in Holland? – Yeah we have in
Holland two nutritionists and they say to me, “All right, today we gonna
have some whole wheat pasta or today we gonna have some normal pasta.” And I make some menus out of it. Together, with the
nutritionist in Holland, I’m making the menus together with them and I’m doing the cooking for the guys. – How much is it personalised nutrition? Like some of the riders have,
obviously everyone prefers different food, but do
the nutritionists say, “Right well, so and so needs that much, and so and so needs this thing special”? – Well it’s more like things
that are special for them. Because we, obviously
Tom, are gluten-free. We have other rides, lactose-free. We just having a little bit of things, but we’re taking that in mind. And making a menu upfront,
what’s good and not good. – So you were telling me a
little bit about the dessert you’ve got planned for the guys tonight. Talk me through that. – Today we’ve got red fruit
with oatmeal crumbles. It’s a rest day so they can
enjoy a little bit more. And then, we have salmon
curry, a main dish, and we’re in Italy, so we
gonna use some prosciutto with some melon as a, and
tomorrow it starts again with a new race day, oatmeal, omelettes. And then, everyday we’re
gonna make some news. – Actually that sounds really tasty and if you’ve got three
weeks of having to eat a lot of calories to get through a tour, I guess you need someone to
make the food delicious for you. (lounge music) – Here we have another of
the Sunweb director sportif, Mark, thanks for making time for us. We’re here in front of the team bus which is a hive of activity. I know that on some teams
they’ll have a team leader who is trying to win the race
but they have a team captain on the road who makes
the decisions and takes a little bit of that mental
pressure off of the team leader. Is that the case with Sunweb? – Yeah, we also have a road captain. That’s Johannes Fröhlinger. It is the oldest guy we have here. He is having a lot of experience. In the first part of the race, he’s taking decisions, he’s
in contact with the car. He’s discussing things with the car. And later on, when it’s
coming more to the final, Tom is getting more that
role, then he’s taking over. (chill music) – Now I have managed to
corner a busy man, Peter, who is the Team Sunweb press officer. That is an underrated role in terms of protecting your riders and especially your team leader from media interest. Peter, talk me through
how busy the last few days have been in terms of
looking after last year’s Giro winner at the start
of this year’s Giro when presumably a lot of media interest. – Exactly, I see a huge difference in comparison to last year. Last year it’s almost
one of the guys who could compete for a good GC result, eventually we won it, we won it as a team. Of course, when the
start now is this year, it’s been really busy. A lot of attention, you
see also, of course, attention from Holland
especially increasing. Last year, I think we started with few just a few
handful of journalists, and now everybody’s here. It’s really a big difference. We started the year with a
win, so directly in pink. – [Emma] Yeah. – [Peter] And of course,
that’s really major, it’s really busy for a guy like Tom. – I know that’s obviously
a good problem to have, the media attention,
because you’re successful. But on the other hand, for some people, and it’s a very personal
thing for the rider, it can really weigh
heavy on their shoulders. And I know, when I was racing, if I had won the race the year
before, I hated being there. Because I found it really
stressful, the expectation. You don’t have to tell me about Tom, but how do you help him to deal with all those media requests? – Trying to streamline
that as much as possible, so that he has one moment
where he addresses story about the race, about his
expectation before the race, to censorize it as much as possible, and that’s the main thing actually. That he’s not having a lot
of stuff to look after. On different moments
where he has things to do, that’s not ideal, you have
to censorize and streamline that as much as possible. – Also, presumably, generally
you want to keep people away from the riders when
they’re trying to be private and prepare and have their
important team meetings about tactics, it’s your job to keep people like me off the bus. – Exactly, I mean you
have to balance the time that they are having fun themselves and the time they are
supposed to be in front of a camera or talking to a journalist. If that’s a clear distinction that is most in favour of the rider. So that’s what you try to
do as much as possible. – From the outside, it looks
like he copes really well. He’s super calm and focused. Could I ask you about
social media for a bit? Sometimes, called anti-social media, but there’s a lot of people for athletes that deal with themselves these days and there’s quite a bit of pressure, it can take up a lot of time, can mean they’re on
their phone late at night when the blue light from the
screen keeping them awake, do you help them to deal with
the Twitter and the Instagram and the Facebook when they want to stage and they’ve got to put all
the posts up, do you help? – No, not really actually. They are just handling them by themselves. They are free to do whatever they want. Some of the riders choose to
do nothing on social media. And others are quite active on it. That’s actually up to themselves. So if they feel comfortable
with it, they do it. Of course we help them
with getting contents or getting photos or getting videos so that they have something to post. But, in terms of posting
capacity and intensity, that’s up to themselves. – We know that Team Sunweb
social media stuff is genuine. Good to know. Well, it seems I’ve just
disproved my own hypothesis because it turns out
that Team Sunweb treat all their riders the same. But actually, that’s a really good thing. I’m glad to hear it. I think this video also
shows just how much work goes into keeping a team
at a Grand Tour rolling. If you like this video,
give us a thumbs up, and you might like to
check out Tom Dumoulin’s custom world champion time trial bike by clicking down here.

64 comments on “How To Look After A Pro Cycling Team Leader With Team Sunweb | Giro d’Italia 2018

  1. I bought new bicycle 1 week ago and got really interested in this Chanel. Keep it up guys .Love from Nepal.

  2. Okay already I'm going to say I didn't appreciate this video. I love Emma as a presenter and I'm sure this wasn't her idea, but okay you ask the DS if the riders have personal mechanics or the like and he says NO, but then you proceed to ask the next 2-3 people if they are Toms personal mechanic, soigneurs etc. What gives? That is friggin insulting to the DS. Did you not believe him when he said no?

  3. You guys are on a roll! Another great video. Super interesting look behind the scenes and I really loved how Emma treated all staff members (mechanics, soigneurs, sport directors, the chef etc) basically the same, making sure to highlight how they all contribute to the team. I would be super interested to learn more about the role of the road captain, btw.

  4. I think you have to say that Dumoulin has a higher chance of being in Pink come Rome than Froome does at the moment. (very clear that Froome was using the Giro as prep for the Tour) I would say that its more likely at the moment to be someone like Yates or Aru to be wearing the Maglia Rosa since I think the time gaps may be too big to bridge in the final time trial like he was able to do last year again Quintana. Its also down to how its raced, if its totally attach and tear the race apart then I don't think that Tom will repeat his victory. Good interviewing Emma! When standing beside Chad Haga reminds me of a Cervelo picture with you and Thor Hushovd are stood back to back!

  5. Interesting video but there's some proper dull people in the Sunweb team! lol Do one like this with Mitchelton–Scott! Best team in the Peloton and have some fun doing their job 🙂

  6. The real question is “How does someone in North America buy Team Sunweb a podium cap so we can support?”

  7. Never see Giant using the Propel. Most other teams will use their aero and climbing bike. What gives?

  8. Its a bit change to hear and see Emma instead of the guys but I have found it interesting.. She looks so kind and warm 🙂

  9. Another nod to Emma's great interviewing style. The guys really opened up to your questions in this video. I enjoyed it.

  10. Man, you guys are smashing it at the giro this year, fantastic insight into the workings of a team here! I like that you've gone to all the different corners of one team all in one package, it definitely illustrates the scale of operation better than checking out one part of lots of teams over several videos.

  11. Wait…so does Tom have his own personal staff, or no? Hahaha…holy hell that was an awkward segment. Love ya still though Emma.

  12. Love the presenting Emma, don't listen to the naysayers. You are doing a great job and asking multiple people the same question, while apparently controversial really drove home the message that the whole team is really focused and on the same page.

  13. Great video and content, nice to see the behind the scenes work by the teams. You should do a Team bus tour, inside and outside view of some of the different team buses.

  14. Spectacular and fantastic video as usual!
    It's quite fascinating to watch behind the scenes contents! Hats off to Emma and Team Sunweb.

  15. I wish you'd asked Chef Robin about the rather famous roadside "adventure" that Tom had during the 2017 Giro 😉

  16. Cheers Emma, great presenting and always good to behind the scenes of pro teams whilst on Grand Tours. Tom is in with a great chance of being in pink come Rome. Some big stages to come!

  17. Emma is doing a fantastic job. I agree with others who say she asks good questions. I know this is probably banal, but I'm wondering how the support network in a team gets by. Do they go for a ride when they have the opportunity to do so? Does the chef eat the same food as the riders? If not, what do they eat? Etc. etc…

  18. Wtf is all this PC crap plaguing cycling now – favouritism, feminism. If team leader has personal soigneur how the fk is it favouritism – they are pros, everything on the line, its business. If the guy wants same guy to do his bike and massage him – do it. What is the problem? If it hurts peoples feelings then they are delusional snowflakes… I don’t know how it could hurt my feeings, just don’t understand this whole mentality pfff

  19. Was it just me, or are most of the team's saddles slammed forward…..? And stems slammed right down… guess it's all about aero over comfort these days…

  20. Emma in her head "does tom got a personal mechanic like Froome and Contador?". And yes, not every team is like sky whose got a kitchen truck and a 2 story playground 😀

  21. The Australian egalitarian world view put to good use. Props to the reporter for maintaining her focus on the question of how much if at all the team treated the leader differently.

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