The Tour de France is just one week away and we had the possibility of visiting the headquarter of UAE Team Emirates. Just a few minutes north of Milano, Italy we met the team behind the team and talked to mechanics and the staff of the World Tour squad. Andrea Appiani, member of the PR and Communication department gave us an insight on how a professional cycling team is run.
p2m: Ciao Andrea, we are happy to be here and thank you for the invitation. Where are we here and how many people work here?
Welcome to the headquarter of UAE Team Emirates. This is center for all the administrative tasks, our central storage for all the equipment and our main workshop where all the bikes, buses, cars and trucks are prepared for the races. Today there are 20 people here, because we are preparing everything for the Italian National Championships and the Tour de France.
p2m: How many people are necessary to run a World Tour team?
There are currently 26 riders in the team, but the team behind them is almost twice as large. We have six mechanics, four doctors, two coaches, a general manager, a team manager, two drivers, masseurs, secretaries, administrative staff, sports directors, three people who exclusively take care of logistics, five people in the PR department and we get additional support for the Grand Tours. All in all, there are 50 people working here, plus the riders.
p2m: What makes the Tour de France the most stressful time of the year?
There are two or three factors which make races special. The first and most important thing is the attention the race itself gets. Obviously, the Tour de France is the biggest race in the world and there is a lot of interest of the media. The next thing is the attention your riders get. If there is one of the favorites in the team, there are more interviews and more things you have to think of. The last thing is how important the race is for your team and your sponsors. Since the Tour is the most prestigious race, all factors are at a very high level and it can be very chaotic, but it is also very positive and the Tour is everyone’s highlight of the season.
p2m: How long does the preparation for the Tour de France take?
There is no real starting date for the preparation. In fact, everything starts with the end of the previous season. It’s like a big flow of information and things to do. Everything peaks a few weeks before the race and lasts until the Tour is over again. Even in our communication department we start working on Tour de France related topics by the beginning of the season. We arrange special photoshoots and collect all kinds of background information. Additionally, we are closely connected to the organizers and there is always something to do.
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