Broadcast to 190 countries throughout the world, all eyes this summer will be on France –Denmark, Belgium, and Switzerland – as the peloton embarks on this year’s edition of La Grande Boucle. Taking on 3,349.8 kilometres, through 39 different host towns and cities, passing through 29 different departments and 9 regions; the Tour de France circus, as it is rather lovingly referred to in the media, is a well-oiled machine with teams, the organisers, local police and much more all working together in unison – taking the race from location to location, all whizzing past in the blink of an eye for those at the side of the road.
However, before any action at the race even begins, it takes a monumental amount of planning and effort to make it to the start line; with everyone in the team contributing towards that in some way or another. We wanted to highlight some of that work and peel back the curtain on what exactly it all takes to prepare for the biggest race in the world; so we sat down with Matt Winston [MW] (Team DSM coach), Narelle Neumann [NN] (Head of Science / Expert Group), Cindy Klomp [CK] (Operations) and Yannick Runhart [YR] (Warehouse Manager) to find out how everything comes together for that first flag drop – with the added spice of a Grand Départ in Denmark.
October 14th 2021, the date of the official Tour de France presentation and the moment that marks the beginning of planning for this year’s race – all but 259 days ago.
Although each department in the team has their own responsibilities, it takes everyone coming together to help make sure things go smoothly as possible in the lead up to, and at the race.
Talking tactics, the varied parcours at the Tour de France with its mixed bag of terrain which this year includes some cobbles, and of course the potential ever changing weather conditions throughout the three weeks – means that the team has to be prepared for anything.
With the tactical plans drawn up, the variety of terrain combined with the Grand Départ in Denmark also means that the team needs to take a lot of materials to the race.
Likewise, it’s not just the different materials that are needed, but different staff groups are needed for the Grand Départ and the race as it returns to France – with a total of roughly 45 Team DSM members (including riders) attending the race at some point.
Making sure that everything runs smoothly isn’t always an easy task, but with a great group of staff organising everything, we know that we’re prepared as best as possible for when the riders roll out in Copenhagen tomorrow.