Last Monday at the second rest day of this year’s Tour de France we had the chance to talk to Tomás Amezaga, the head bike mechanic of Movistar Team at the Tour de France. He is not just responsible for all the bikes of the team but he is always right behind the leaders at a race to assist them or to change a wheel. Tomás gave us an insight into the work of a mechanic and has some important tips for each cyclist.
What is the normal day of a bike mechanic at the Tour de France like?
Tomás: A normal day already starts the evening before. As soon as the bikes are back at the team hotel, we clean them and check basically everything. We check tires, chain, chainrings, brakes, cables and most parts every day. This whole process takes about 3 hours. In the morning, before the race starts we only check the tires again and the tire pressure. We often do that directly before the race. During the race I’m in the team car right behind our leaders or the escape group to help up if there are any technical problems on the bike.
What is different on a rest day?
Tomás: We certainly have more time and everything is a bit more relaxed but we also use that time to really check everything on the bikes. We often use the rest days to prepare the tubular tires and to prepare the lightweight bikes for the mountains or the TT bikes for an upcoming time trial.
Is there anything you have to do differently for each rider?
Tomás: Some riders prefer a real lightweight bike or an aero road bike and sometimes they have special wishes concerning the wheels or the gears for certain terrain. The riders normally use 11-29 cassettes and sometimes they use 11-32 but only on the very tough mountain stages. Usually, the riders come to me or one of the other bike mechanics if they want anything changed on their bikes.
What’s your tip for hobby riders, what is the most important thing to check?
Tomás: Normally you should check the condition of your chain and the brakes regularly. Apart from that I think the position on the bike and the saddle are most important. A good position is essential for comfort, performance and riding without any pain. That’s why I really take care of the exact measurements for each rider.
You want to ride like a pro? Check out the NGeco Campagnolo Movistar Team Edition.