Inside a pro cycling team mechanics' truck with Visma-Lease a Bike

Before the Giro d’Italia got underway we managed to take a sneak peek at what goes on inside the mechanics' truck of one of the biggest teams in the sport

Clock11:00, Sunday 2nd June 2024

If ever there was an unsung hero of professional cycling, that accolade would be awarded to the mechanics. They are the backbone of any cycling team, getting up earlier and going to bed later than anyone else, all in order to get the bikes of the team ready for the next day's stage.

Before the Giro d’Italia got underway in Turin, Alex Paton got invited into the mechanics' truck of defending champions Visma-Lease a Bike to see what goes on behind the scenes of a WorldTour team.

The first thing that grabs your attention when entering the truck is just the sheer volume of bikes and wheels that it holds. As with any Grand Tour, Giro teams are made up of eight riders each of which will have three or four bikes available throughout the race. This equates to a main bike, a spare bike on the first team car, a spare bike on the second team car and a TT bike.

The number of bikes is dwarfed by the number of wheels that the team carry around. As a Cervélo-sponsored team, Visma-Lease a Bike uses Reserve wheels with three different depths on offer, so as a minimum, the team carries 24 sets of wheels. However, since spare wheels are a necessity both for the mechanics and for the team cars, the actual figure is far higher.

On one wall inside the truck, there are more than 40 wheels with all the bikes in the truck also fitted with the wheelset best suited for the coming stage.

The theme of having vast quantities of the most desirable cycling gear continues wherever you look in the truck. An electronically-controlled shelf drops down to reveal boxes of integrated handlebars for the Cervélo S5 aero bike as well as carbon bars and stems for the R5 climbing bike.

Elsewhere, the team have a full complement of the latest SRAM Red AXS that would leave any bike shop jealous. In a toolbox at the front of the truck is a drawer dedicated to holding the team's stock of chainrings with another drawer for chains. At the time of filming, the team had 40 chains ready for use with one of the mechanics revealing that every week they get a fresh delivery of another 40 chains.

As the team use a wax treatment to lubricate their chains, after a few days of racing they are removed from the bike and replaced with a freshly waxed chain. The used chains are sent back to the team's performance centre in the Netherlands where they are stripped and waxed again ready for use.

The professionalism of the mechanics is obvious through just how considered everything is. Every component no matter how big or small has a place where it belongs. This goes as far as headset spacers, bolts and brake pad spacers. When you are working on so many bikes, being organised saves time and helps with managing stock levels.

Something that you might not expect to see in a mechanic's truck is a form of rolling road. This is used to spin the wheels up one at a time to allow the mechanics to bed in any new brake pads that have been fitted to the bike. This shows how far teams go to ensure that every bike is in the best condition possible for each day’s racing.

It's not just about the bikes, though, with the mechanics' truck also home to a washing machine and tumble dryer for when laundry needs to be done, which during a three-week Grand Tour is fairly often. Keeping the mechanics fuelled is a coffee machine and to ensure they are always comfortable the truck is fitted with both airconditioning and a heater.

The changing terrain of a Grand Tour means bikes need to be configured differently depending on the profile of each stage. To make things more efficient for the mechanics, each rider has their own box inside the truck with the different cassettes or chainrings that they will swap between throughout the race.

For a full look around the Visma-Lease a Bike a truck, be sure to watch the video at the top of the page.

For even more content from behind the scenes at the biggest races on the calendar head over to the racing features section of the GCN website.

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