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Tour De France 2017 – Worst Jobs For A Cycling Team Mechanic


– Pro cycling mechanics are certainly some of the best loved, and possibly, the most patient members
of the pro cycling world. They’re certainly very patient with our repeated requests
for pro bikes and tech. But they also have to deal
with a lot of very tough jobs. So we’re at the Tour de France. We thought we should ask them what their least favourite
daily jobs were on tour. What has to be one of the most repetitive, and possibly one of the
slightly more difficult, jobs that team mechanics
have to do repeatedly is to measure pro cyclist’s bikes and get their positions
millimetre perfect. Pro cyclists can, at one end, be a particularly picky bunch of people when it comes to making sure
that their bike is set up just right for going as fast as possible. So it means that team mechanics who employ jigs like the one behind
me here, a LottoNL-Jumbo, they’ve probably all got spread sheets that they’re shared into
that mean that they can see every rider’s preferred bow width, or every rider’s preferred … We just saw them measuring
the tip of the lever, to the centre of the fork distance. I don’t know how you define that. Every rider’s preferred reach. Because there are so many
measurements on a bike. So many measurements to get right. And when you do get them all right, the bike feels perfect and it’s maybe a win or lose
difference for your rider. So, Risto, what is the worst job that you have to do as a pro mechanic? – As you know, talking to
the media, first-fully. (laughing) – But I would say, from my side, is the chasing down the
millimetres from the guys. So it’s tough. The positions is one thing. What you have to do, and get always right. Another thing is always about
the traveling: the packing. That you have everything with you. That you’re not missing anything. That’s also one thing. – So there are so many guys that can actually notice
the difference between, like a saddle height
being a millimetre higher or a millimetre lower. – Yeah, just some guys even sometimes say that they feel bad for that. That they feel it. So the guys that have been
half of their life on the bike, they feel the millimetre rightly. – Cool, thank you. – The stages where the
riders have a long transfer, let’s say by an aeroplane or something. And then the staff have
to transfer by car. That’s just a long drive, like takes all day or all night, and kind of a waste of time. I mean, the Tour de France is a race like any big stage
race, where you have to, where you have to, you know,
do a whole lot of jobs, and any time where you lose
7 or 8 hours in the day, just driving a vehicle from A to B, to me that’s waste of valuable
time where you could be, like, gluing tyres for example. (laughs) – I was gonna say, that must
be said of your feeling, because in front of us now we
have how many pairs of wheels? – [Bike Tech] That’s
about 15 sets of wheels. – [Interviewer] 15 sets of wheels, and the equivalent
number of tubs behind us. I’d happily drive 8 hours to
not stick 15 tubes of tyres on. – I recon one of the
toughest, most repetitive, and possibly most tedious jobs as a pro cycling team mechanic, is gluing , stretching, and then
fitting tubes for the tyres. A team might get through,
let’s say, 100 tubular tyres in the course of a three week race, so that’s a lot of replacing flat tyres. A lot of taking tyres off the rim. A lot of stretching them,
a lot of glueing them. So to get around that, they
actually carry pre-stretched tyres on their team trucks. So they’ve got old rims
they might have used at a race like Parry Dubai
or something like that. They put two layers of glue
on the tube of the tyre, just so the base tape of the tub has soaked up a bit of glue, meaning that you have to
put one layer of glue on, then stick the tube of the tyre on, in order to prep. And they carry those around
in the back of the truck, for then the punctures happen, which is probably every
day, let’s face it. And then they fit them,
and then they glue them. So before the Tour de France here, which means they’ve got a
lot of stretching to do. Apparently they only fitted 30 to 40 new ones the other day. I reckon I’ve fitted about 10 in my life. And I feel like I’ve done a lot. – So what is the worst
job that you have to do as a pro cycling team mechanic? – I think it’s gonna
be working in the rain. And especially in the race,
when it’s really (bleep) wet and you have to pull out to
change a wheel or something. That’s (bleep). – Well, there we have it. A non-exhaustive sample of
some of the least favourite jobs of the mechanics of
the pro cycling peloton. But, interestingly, a few
of them couldn’t really think of least favourite jobs. Which just shows the level
of dedication to their job, and their love for the sport. Don’t forget to give
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