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Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 3: Trek-Segafredo

A professional World Tour team brings around 50 bikes to the Tour de France.  Reliable equipment and mechanics is a must for any successful team. We provide the equipment, but the mechanics provide their top-notch skills. Our 3rd and final segment of “Unsung Heroes of the Tour” focuses on Trek-Segafredo’s head TdF mechanic: Kenneth Van de Wiele.

You may have caught Kenneth in this recent Wall Street Journal video: “How to Fix a Bicycle From a Moving Car“. He explains what it’s like maintaining a bike at 40+mph.  You know.  Just an average “day in the life” of a professional World Tour mechanic. See more about Kenneth in the Q/A below!

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 3: 

Kenneth Van de Wiele / Trek-Segafredo
Belgium (Ghent)

How did you get your start as a bike mechanic? I started as an intern in the bike shop from Walter Godefroot in Ghent while I was still racing myself.

Favorite stage of the TdF: Mountain stage to Mont Ventoux.

Best story from working at a race: The car leaving me behind on top of the Paterberg during the Tour of Flanders 2013, with 1 lap to go.

What is your bike of choice?  Trek Madone 9  (Have you SEEN this bike?  Go on.  Click the link.)

What do you in your past-time?  Ride my bike, run and enjoy life.

Favorite Feedback Sports Product: The Sprint work stand.

*Follow Kenneth on Instagram and Twitter for more!

As with all our partnerships, Feedback Sports is pleased to support team Trek-Segafredo.
As the Tour comes to a close, we wish the mechanics, the team directors and riders all the best!

 

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Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 2: Lotto Soudal

Welcome to our Unsung Heroes of the Tour / Part Deux.  This week we’re focusing on Team Lotto Soudal.  We’d like to wish the team a HUGE congrats on De Gendt’s Mont Ventoux win. What a FINISH! But as we’ve said before, no rider wins alone.  It takes the entire team and staff to get them there.  So let’s take a peek inside this background of success as we showcase Lotto Soudal mechanic, Steven Van Olmen.

*Make sure you read through the whole thing…because we have a fun little treat at the end…

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 2: 

Steven Van Olmen / Lotto Soudal
Belgian mechanic – born in 1976

How did you get your start as a bike mechanic? I was a rider in the development team of sports director Herman Frison until 2001. I started immediately after as a mechanic in that team.

Favorite stage of the TdF: I’m always happy to be in Paris, but the atmosphere of on the local circuit, and the sprint of Champs Elysées can’t be beat.

Best story from working at a race: A few years ago I was in the car with sports director Roberto Damiani. The car had to stop to fix a problem but the sports director left, forgetting I was still at the side of the road. Fortunately another car from another team picked me up. A few kms further Damiani was aware he forgot me and stopped at the side of the road, so I could jump in the car again.

What is your bike of choice?  The Ridley Noah SL: very stylish frame from our sponsor Ridley.

What do you in your past-time?  Not so much spare time but I ride my bike sometimes. And Australia is my second home country. I went there for the first time in 2005 for Tour Down Under and go there every year from Christmas till Tour Down Under to see Australian friends.

Favorite Feedback Sports Product: Of course the Sprint stand. It’s very stable which is very important for a mechanic, made from nice materials and it looks good.

Steven Van Olmen

Pretty sweet, right? But you don’t have to be a pro mechanic for a World Tour team to get your hands on a Sprint stand.  You can win one with Team Lotto Soudal and Feedback Sports!! You might be screaming at your computer or favorite hand-held device right now, “HOW CAN I WIN?!?!”  Shhhhh. We’ll tell you. 

 

HOW TO WIN!
First, like the Facebook page of Lotto Soudal Cycling Team Fanpage and Feedback Sports. Then send Lotto Soudal, a private message (all hush-hush, and secret-like) on Facebook with your answers to the following questions:

  1. Where is Feedback Sports located?
  2. What is the name of the founder of Feedback Sports?
  3. The Le Tour de France stage to Mont Ventoux, won by Thomas De Gendt, didn’t finish at the summit. To which location was the finish line moved?

*Contest ends Sunday, July 17th at 16:00 CEST (Sunday AM here in the States, folks). The winner will be determined by draw (1 entry per person).

 

 

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Unsung Heroes of the Tour: Part 1

During the Tour de France, it can be easy to focus on the racers.  Admittedly we’re guilty of it too! They’re fast, flashy and dedicated! They exhibit skills mere mortals only dream of.  But there’s a group that often gets overlooked, that one could argue have the same qualities as the racers–the mechanics.  Without this support crew working tirelessly behind the scenes, the show (as they say) could not go on.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be focusing on these mighty, (yet often silent) Tour de France giants.  So hop in the team car and join us for the ride!

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 1:  

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Pascal Ridel / Tinkoff Sport

Bio: Pascal has enriched team Tinkoff with his presence for some years. He came to Tinkoff after a period with Credit Agricole. Pascal has a reputation for doing things properly and he always makes sure that the team truck is fully stocked for every situation – a crucial consideration that has come in handy many times.

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*We’re betting that last part is probably simplifying things.  If you’ve watched a single stage…wait… even about a ten minute span of a single stage, you know that anything can happen. An experienced mechanic anticipates every possible scenario within a race.  Pascal and his crew are clearly dialed and they pass this gift off to the riders each and every day.

Like all the World Tour teams we partner with, we feel quite fortunate to work with Tinkoff Sport. We’re cheering loudly from Colorado–and wish the mechanics, the team directors and of course the riders the best of luck at this year’s Tour de France!!

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*Remember: check the #winwithtinkoff contest DAILY for your chance to win Feedback Sports products and more!  And you could be prepared for anything–just like Pascal. 

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Tour de France 2016

As we’ve mentioned before, our company lives by a somewhat “less than traditional” annual calendar.

  • The new year starts after Cyclo-Cross Nationals.
  • Spring arrives the day of the Paris-Roubaix.
  • Summer technically rolls in with the kick-off of the Tour de France.
  • Fall is Interbike (and Cross Vegas).
  • It’s officially “winter” when Omnium lunch-rides become the norm.

So here we are at the summer and the beginning stages of the most exciting event to cycling fanatics around the world. Here at Feedback Sports, we’re doubly invested in that all of us  fall into the “cycling fanatics” category, but we also look at this as the best product field-testing in the Universe.

We are fortunate enough to partner with four world-tour cycling teams–all of which will be at this year’s TDF; Tinkoff, Trek-Segafredo, Lotto-Soudal and IAM Cycling. Attending the Tour gives us a chance to connect with the team directors, mechanics and racers. We see them using our products with an almost super-human speed and elegance. We get to see our products being put to the test in some of the harshest conditions.  It also allows us to spot trends and get inspiration for new products. But don’t take my word for it.

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I was able to corner Doug Hudson (Feedback Sports founder/president) for a quick interview before he left for the TDF to see it through his eyes.  And I do mean “quick” because Doug is an engineer by trade and quite efficient (so it will only take you about 30 seconds to read it).
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Q: How many years have you/Feedback Sports attended the TDF?
A: This will be the 3rd year.

Q: What’s it like being in the pits with the mechanics?
A: I like watching their efficiency.  Typically there are two mechanics washing bikes and two mechanics checking and tuning the bikes.  With 9 racers there are up to 27 bikes to wash and maintain each day.  3 bikes for each rider (one on each of the two team cars and the one being ridden).

Q: Tell us about the crowds.
A: The crowds are impressive in shear size and enthusiasm.  The climbs are the craziest, but each town the tour goes through usually has a Jumbotron showing the race and a party atmosphere.

Q: Favorite stage:
A: The Mt Ventoux stage should be epic!  We were able to ride Mt Ventoux last summer, so I can’t wait to see what happens in the race up it.

Q: Most memorable TDF story/experience:
A: In 2014, Lisa (Doug’s wife and co-founder of Feedback Sports) and I got to ride in the team cars of IAM Cycling.  As huge Tour fans, it doesn’t get any better than this; seeing the peloton up close, listening to race radio and hearing the team tactics from the Sport Directors.  It’s amazing how good the drivers are at dealing with all the chaos around.  Descending at 50+ MPH with racers and fans all over the place takes some serious skill.

Q: How will this year be different from previous trips?
A: This is our first time in the Pyrenees so we are excited to check out the famous climbs like the Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aspin.


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See? Told you. Fast and efficient.

We’ve got some fun things planned for the next few weeks.  As the Tour gets rolling there will be a few contests (Tinkoff and Lotto Soudal), plus a few other little gems that will make you feel like you’re along for the ride (even if you can’t be there in person).  So make sure you follow us and our partnered teams on social media because you won’t want to miss a thing!!

*We’ll even have a commercial on NBC (set to run on July 14th).  
We’re a bit excited.
Yep. Just a bit. 

 

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