Being asked to work late and working to ever tighter deadlines is tough, but not as tough as the tasks the Tour de France support teams are being put through this week.
It’s 40 degrees C in the mountains, with a dry headwind evaporating the riders’ sweat before it can cool their surging blood. Consequently the riders are dehydrating faster than expected. The support teams must get more water to them more quickly and in the midst of the race.
Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins is reported to have gone through 20 bottles of water and during the climb, Côte de Laffrey, he called up his team car so that he could pour a two-litre bottle of mineral water over his head in an effort to cool off.
This took place as up to 10 team cars jostled for position to get close to their riders, without making contact with competitors, curbs, fans or other team cars. Simultaneously the teams’ water carriers had to lean out of the moving vehicles to pass bottles to and from their riders, who themselves then have to sit up in the saddle and ride “no hands” All this taking place on winding mountain roads and through narrow village streets lined with spectators advertising hoardings and TV crews.
So if you are feeling hot and bothered today spare a thought for the likes of Steve Cummings, Geraint Thomas and Serge Pauwels who are risking their necks to keep Team Sky’s riders hydrated.Inspired by today’s Guardian Tour de France report http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/jul/14/tour-de-france-sergio-paulinho