A Tour de France team in numbers: No shortage of bottles or wheels – big is best for cycling’s pro teams

The Tour de France is an all-consuming beast that takes up the roads, towns and the lives of the people it touches.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 28th March 2014, 5:15 am
Team Sky prepare bikes at the start of Stage 6 of the 2013 Tour de France from Aix en Provence to Montpellier. 4 July 2013. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).

When the biggest bike race on the planet visits Yorkshire this summer, prepare for your neighbourhood, village and city centre to be swamped by fans, media, delegates, diplomats – and of course cyclists.

And as you would expect for a sporting event of this magnitude, the protagonists themselves – the teams and the riders – have everything they need at a moment’s notice.

At the team presentation at Leeds Arena on Thursday, July 3, 22 professional cycling squads will wheel onto the stage to be introduced to the world.

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Here is a run-down in numbers of what a squad like Team Sky will comprise at the Tour de France:

9 - The number of cyclists per team from general classification contenders to sprinting stars and mountain specialists, and not forgetting those all important domestiques.

2 - DirectEur-Sportifs, the fancy French word for team managers. Dave Brailsford is Sky’s guru and is usally assisted by Rod Eillingworth and Sean Yates among others.

5 - The number of carers a team like Sky will have on hand. A carer is vital in getting a team through a race. They can either be the bus driver, the advance person who sorts out the team hotels, the person who takes a rider’s luggage to his room before the team gets there, the person who delivers their food or even irons their shirt.

4 - How many mechanics work on the team. Each rider has different specifications for the set-up of his bike. Although they are the ones who replace a tyre midway through a race, it is the mechanics’ job to get them prepared for the next day’s racing.

1 - To complete the backroom staff, a team like Sky will travel the world with one doctor, one nutritionist and one chef; each of which will have specific instructions to deal with each individual rider.

45 - Team Sky travel to races with five Pinarello bikes per rider. One of these is a bicylce specific for the time trial, of which Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins is a specialist.

59 - The number of helmets taken to a race by a team. Like the bikes, there are specific helmets for road bikes and specialist time-trial bikes.

176 - This is the number of wheels transported around the globe by a team like Sky. Even for a team at the bottom end, like a Net-App Endura, it is a substantial number and equates to nearly 20 per rider.

180 - Similar to the number of wheels, this is amount of tubular tyres changed on average during a 21-day grand tour for a team like Sky.

3,000 - Ever been on an exhausting bike ride, reached down and realised you’d left your water bottle on the side at home? Sky riders will never have that problem with 3,000 bottles provided by the team.

13 - With all this equipment and staff, you have to transport them, and that is the job of the 13 vehicles from a bus, to a truck to a handful of support cars.

19 - And finally, this year’s Tour de France sweeps through two countries, crosses the Channel and travels the length and breadth of France. The riders and the teams will bed down in 19 hotels.