A Day With Team Sky

By: Jeremy Jo Aug 29

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I step off the train in Roermand welcomed by grey skies and a light drizzle. I cross the street to find dozens of chain-smoking Dutch and Belgians hard at work putting together what would later become the finish line for stage 4 of the Eneco tour. As I start wandering around looking for the team vans, the unmistakable sound of diesel generators tells me I must be near. It’s over four hours before the start of the race, but fans undeterred by the weather are already beginning to gather around the trucks, waiting for their favorite cyclists to arrive.

I make my way over to Team Sky. The mechanics have already unloaded all of the team bikes and lined them up carefully next to each other. There’s no mistaking the graceful curves of these Pinarellos, accented by bright blue custom paint and donned with custom race numbers.

I introduce myself to the staff. Thanks to some connections through my friends here at Embrocation, they’ve been expecting me, and they welcome me and grant full access to the team area. I start with a tour of the service course vehicle. The walls are exactly lined with dozens of glistening wheels and spare parts: the A bikes have white bar tape, the B bikes have black; it’s details like this that make them PRO.

Outside, German Christian Knees is first to exit the team bus with an espresso in hand, carefully walking around in his custom red, yellow and black shoes. Yes, he is a former national road race champion. The rest of the riders gather outside and check the side of the bus where the start times are posted. They share a couple of words with each other and the team staff and then take off to pre-ride the course, a
short 15k time trial around the city streets.

I take protection from the rain under the Team Sky bus awning and start talking to the staff. Among them is their director sportif, Servais Knaven, former winner of Paris-Roubaix. He’s enthusiastic about the team’s chances, but hesitant because of the wet roads.

The riders return and the mechanics take the bikes away for a quick clean and tune up before placing them on the trainers. I make my way to the start ramp where fans are lined up three to four deep. The announcer continues to babble away in Dutch, but all I can understand are the palmares of each rider as they approach the start ramp.

“……winnar Dwars door Vlaanderen……veldrijden werledkampioen……”

At the end of the day, Sky’s Edvald Boassan Hagen takes the leader’s, points, and best young rider’s jerseys. Back at the team bus, the excited riders and staff prepare to head back to the hotel. I even heard rumors of wine at the dinner table. The team rode tirelessly the next two days to protect the lead. EBH even won the chaos filled final stage into Sittard-Geleen. I may not speak Dutch, but boy do I love bike racing.



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