Mods and rockers

Two video clips that are very different but both contain behind the scenes footage, one with a heavy metal loving soigneur and the other with Bradley Wiggins, a self-styled mod.

First is a video from the soon to vanish HTC-Highroad team and shows the work of a soigneur. “We need 30 hours in a day” is the opening claim from the team’s head soigneur Frits Van Der Heide. The film explains the role of the soigneur, French for “carer”. As you can see the day is long and it goes from supporting the riders to washing the team car. Just as the mechanics wash every bike, the team cars must have the showroom look too. There’s all the usual footage of soigneurs filling up musettes and the slow-mo footage shows text-book examples of how to grab them in the feedzone (arm forward, grab where the straps meet the bag).

I follow Frits Van Der Heide on Twitter and as well as cycling-related messages, it seems he’s into Black Sabbath and a keen Saab driver. He’s joined Saxo Bank for 2012.

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Regulating team soigneurs


BMC Racing’s troubles with a rogue soigneur are bad news for the team. The casual way which Sven Schoutteten was hired from time to time reflects the way many teams operate, a pro image up front but behind the scenes people are hiring their pals. But the role of a soigneur is crucial to the team and not something to get careless about. Indeed France has moved to regulate their role with a law in 2004.

A soigneur is a team helper, whose job ranges from general dogsbody and factotum to masseur and nutritionist. “Soigner” means “to care for” or “to treat (an illness)” in French and a soigneur is carer, although someone who works helping the sick or the elderly is usually called an aide soignante, the term soigneur is reserved for the cycling world… although it’s used to label someone who looks after zoo animals.

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