Debut as Team Manager / Director Sportif
8th August 2013
Today was my debut as Team Manager / Director Sportif in the European peloton. It was almost 5years to the day of my last professional race (Beijing 10 August 2008) as a bike rider! I was excited and most appreciative of the opportunity provided by Martin Barass to step behind the wheel of the Aussie Jayco-AIS Womens Team car for Stage 5 of Route de France … and what a day of action it was right from the get-go!
Marv departed for the next hotel in the truck and a few minutes later I was set to leave to the race start with our team of girls, mechanic Pat and Soigneur Danny. However, at the turn of the car key we were going nowhere fast with a flat battery! Crisis handled with a set of jumper-leads conveniently packed in the back of the car, and before too long we were on the road for the 1.5hr drive to the race start of the tour’s longest stage of 140km.
Racing started with good speed, the first 50km over in about an hour! The race radio was in French, which is not my strongest language but everything was running smoothly with our girls in the peloton and us in the convoy with our team car called up numerous times for feeding.
‘Australie’ was then called up again in quite a panic to do with a crash, one of our young riders, Emily Roper had come down with an Italian rider. Pat jumped out with spare wheels but unfortunately the race was over for Em, she was taken in the ambulance (and didn’t arrive back to the hotel until 10pm!) but thankfully she is ok!
Just as Pat and I settle back into the convoy, ‘Australie’ is again called to the front for a front wheel puncture for number 134, Chloe McConville. Pat again jumped out with spare wheels and Chloe calmly waited and was then back on her bike in the convoy and worked her way back to the peloton.
The plan was to help Chloe in a good position for the sprint finish and congratulations to our young team for trying their best to make that happen! Chloe finished just outside of top 10.
For my fist day as DS, I certainly encountered an eventful day and had a wonderful team to share this with. Thanks Marv, Danny, Pat and Jess, Grace, Emily, Ash & Chloe.