An inside look at the Tour from our soigneurs to Sport Directors
There’s more to EF Pro Cycling than the riders. It’s the people who await them at the finish or stand for hours in one place to hand them a bidon during a stage. Despite the uncertainties behind racing this year, the team staff prepared these riders so they were able to perform at the highest level for the Tour. They celebrated their victories with them — because they had something to do with it. “This team is honestly like a family. When it comes to Grand Tours everyone pulls together, the directors, the soigneurs, the mechanics, everyone, we come together and work as one towards the same objective,” said Dani Martínez.
Moments like Dani’s stage win would not have been possible had it not been for the efforts and expertise behind the staff. Whether it was the team’s Chef Olga who cooked nourishing meals, team Doctor Kevin Sprouse who ensured that everyone would stay safe and healthy, soigneurs like Sophie Roullois who helped the riders in their recovery, or mechanics like JJ who fixed their punctures (and also provided haircuts) — this team wouldn’t have had this successful of a race without their support and guidance. Hear from our staff below on their experience at the 2020 Tour de France, whether they were watching it at home or in the team bubble.
Jonathan Vaughers, Founder & Team Manager
I’m relieved that the Tour de France made it to Paris. That’s a pretty big accomplishment for the race organizers, for ASO, for the country of France, for all the riders and teams involved. It’s something that the entire race should be really proud of that we were able to pull this off this year. This seemed impossible in the month of March. We had a great performance. The loss of Higuita kind of killed our chances of winning the team GC but I think all in all we walked away from it as one of the better and more aggressive performances in the 12 year history of this team doing the Tour.
Rigo almost lost his life last year to a crash that was almost fatal and not many people would have been able to come back from the injuries he sustained. He’s done quite well for himself over his career and he could have called it a day, so the fact that he made the decision to come back and come back at the highest level and was fighting for the podium at the Tour de France is a real testament to the character of Rigo.
Sophie Roullois, soigneur
The best moment for me was when Dani won the stage cause and I was at the finish with him. The ambiance we had inside the team was amazing. Having good people around make it feels way easiest
Andreas Klier, Sport Director
It’s the same feeling as every year. You are happy that you made it and that some of the plans worked out. I think that each person has a different character and I wouldn’t say now that this group is better than another group, but it was easy-going. We are lucky no one got really hurt badly besides Sergio so the luck was a little bit on our side to make it to the end as smoothly as possible.
Matt Rabin, Physical Therapist
Stage 13 of the Tour de France I was giving bidons on the Cote d’Anglards-de-Salers about 1km from the bottom, and we had 3 riders in the break that day. Once the peloton came past, I managed to get reception. So I sat in the sun and watched Dani win the stage on my phone. There was a French group of people having a picnic 50 yards away and they must’ve had a TV feed 20 secs ahead of mine so they were going crazy shouting at me that we had won. After two weeks we got our stage win. So much of the Tour when you are working it you don’t get to see, so it was great to be able to enjoy the race for that 15 minutes in the sun and watch Dani win.
Tom Southam, Sport Director
When you go home is when you start to reflect a bit more on things. For now, I’m really happy with the way our team performed. We got a stage win and top ten in the GC. Losing Sergio is the thing we didn’t need. I think if he stayed we could have stayed more in the game for the team classification. I’m not disappointed, but just looking back at what could have been better. But what we did was great.
Olga Belenko, Team Chef
I’m very happy to be able to do my 11th Tour de France and be able to overcome all adversities, get to live moment by moment, without looking at the past or speculating about the future. I enjoyed this incredible experience and got to know myself, more and better.
Charly Wegelius, Sport Director
“I’m feeling quite satisfied. I’m satisfied with the way it went with the group considering the circumstances. On the sports level, the team performed great. We got a stage win and got top ten in the GC. We were fighting hard for the team competition. And the younger guys like Hugh and Neilson are going to take huge steps in their development so it’s been a productive three weeks. We’ve got a great culture on the team. We don’t follow what other people do and I think slowly we’re making progress from year to year.”
Kevin Sprouse, Team Doctor
Dani’s win was fantastic. I loved watching that. Also, since I was unable to attend the race this year due to the travel ban, I actually greatly enjoyed hearing race radio on the TV broadcast. It’s something that I generally take for granted or am even annoyed by, when at the race. This year though, it felt familiar and gave a sense of connection. Kind of strange really, but true.