Ralph Denk: The logistical challenges at the Giro d’Italia
Dear Cycling Fans,
The Giro d’Italia is a big challenge for all teams – and not only due to the logistics! The riders will be on the road for almost four weeks and with them will be the sport directors, physiotherapists, doctors, mechanics and spokespersons. At the end of May we will compete simultaneously at the Bayern-Rundfahrt, pretty much my home tour. We look forward to riding there, but of course it also means double the work. I am very happy and proud that we are supported at both races by volunteer helpers. Mechanics and physios from our community of fans will help us and thus enable us to be as well prepared as a large team in terms of staff.
Team NetApp will travel to the Giro with: nine riders, two sport directors, four physiotherapists, four mechanics, one doctor, one film team, one press team, five team cars, one bus and one truck.
We happened to be at the training camp on Mallorca when we got the news about the wildcard. I immediately got together with the two sport directors Jens Heppner and Enrico Poitschke and put together a rough plan for the logistics. Both of them have already been on many three-week tours and were able to contribute their experience to the planning.
A few weeks later we received detailed information about the route from the event organizer and were able to begin with concrete planning. It’s very nice that the event organizer is taking over the hotel reservations. The Giro d’Italia travels through many small towns where often there are no large hotels. And it’s not like you’re planning a vacation with your family. You have to find a hotel with a large parking lot for the entire motor fleet, see to water and power connections, book separate rooms for the massages, order pasta and rice for breakfast. All this is no longer our concern.
The biggest logistical challenge for the Giro will certainly be the transfer from Denmark to Italy. Riders and sport directors are allowed to fly, but the entire remaining staff have to see to it that the motor fleet arrives safely in Italy. They have to travel 1,500 kilometers in a single day. No one is likely to get much sleep that night…
When the Giro has arrived in Italy, the mountain stages in particular challenge the staff. In bad weather the riders have to be provided with hot drinks and fresh clothing along the route. We place helpers at appropriate places who then can hand out the bottles and jackets.
Overall it is especially important on a three-week tour to always have enough reserves when it comes to materials. Whether it’s tires, handlebar tape, drinking bottles, snack bags, etc., you simply can’t run out of anything! But luckily we have been equipped to perfection by our co-sponsors! Our cycling sponsor Simplon has come up with something extra special for the Giro, so keep your eyes open over the next few weeks. We guarantee you won’t miss out if you follow us on our webpage, Facebook and Twitter!
One last but unbelievably important point is the social interaction on such a long tour. Everyone is living in very close quarters for almost four weeks, so the team behind the team has to function perfectly. And that not only means that each person has to know at all times precisely what they have to do and that everything has to be located in the right place; it also means that each individual needs to make sure that the mood is good. Only then can a team function and be successful.