Fien Masure, an U23 rider with AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step, had her season interrupted due to injuries, but had the opportunity to shadow the support team for a weekend. This gave her an interesting insight into the crucial work behind the scenes and has changed her perspective on cycling.
Fien says, “When the season didn’t go as planned due to ongoing physical issues and the inability to immediately identify the cause, I unexpectedly had to interrupt my cycling season. It felt as if my season had never truly begun. It was disappointing to park my bike so quickly and not be able to participate in the numerous races on the schedule, including the two-day AG Tour de la Semois, in a region I know well. However, I was offered a unique opportunity: to spend a weekend shadowing the support staff of our team, AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step.
My weekend began with a staff meeting, where I could catch a glimpse of the planning and organisation behind the scenes of a cycling race. One of the initial tasks was to check the food supply and, of course, its quality, which is crucial for providing optimal support to the riders.
Throughout the weekend, there was plenty to do: grocery shopping, filling bidons and preparing recovery shakes, and even assisting in the house where the team stayed. I had never realised how much work and attention to detail is required to ensure everything runs smoothly!
One of the most striking things I experienced is that there are waiting moments during the race, especially during laps. However, after the race, there is still a lot of work to be done, and this can continue late into the evening.
This experience has altered my perspective on the world of cycling. The significance of good planning and communication is paramount, and I have gained even greater respect for the support staff. Without them, there would simply be no race.
A positive atmosphere and teamwork are immensely important, both in the work of the support staff and in cycling itself. It makes the work more enjoyable and efficient.
I am extremely grateful that the team can rely on the volunteer work of several staff members. Since AG Tour de la Semois is a 1.2 race, many club teams were present, and their staff were all volunteers. The realisation that they voluntarily invest so much time and effort to support us, enabling us to do what we love, means a lot to us.
During the race, there was a fantastic atmosphere in the car and while waiting. We even sang and danced a bit. I could hand over bidons so efficiently that other teams chose me over their own support staff!
The support staff contribute to the success of the team in various ways. They ensure that riders don’t have to worry about practical matters and provide a listening ear. Their advice and the positive atmosphere they create are invaluable to all of us.”