Gino and Lorenzo about their work as mechanics at Team Jumbo-Visma: “Sometimes we are away from home for four weeks, but the race is worth it”
The riders of Team Jumbo-Visma can count on a sizeable professional backing. More than one hundred colleagues ensure that the athletes can perform at the highest level. Gino De Jaeger and Lorenzo Blomme are two of them. As mechanics of the team, they fulfil an essential role.
Two days before a big race, the hotel where the team gathers already breathes cycling. The trucks are on display and employees dressed in yellow and black are constantly walking in and out. Among them are Lorenzo and Gino. They are busy unloading bikes and wheels.
“It’s our first big race with the team”, Lorenzo says as he adjusts the tyre pressure. “I’m not nervous about it, but I am vigilant. That’s good because otherwise you will miss things. As a former rider I’m used to being taken care of; now we’re ready to take care of riders.”
“That’s how it is”, Gino nods. With his years of experience in cross-country and road racing, he isn’t thrown off balance easily. “The riders have to feel safe and comfortable. Clear communication at all times is important for this. Not only between us, the mechanics, but also between the riders and the race coaches. That goes very smoothly in this team.”
"If you compare it to football, we play at Barcelona"
“You also have to be flexible”, Lorenzo adds. “For example, we had planned a reconnaissance today, but it couldn’t take place due to wind gusts. Luckily we brought rollerblades so the riders can train on them. The reconnaissance will be moved to tomorrow. After the training it is essential to check the tyre pressure with the riders. I’ll list everyone’s tyre pressures and discuss it with Gino.
“After that training, we clean the bikes and get them ready for the race. I take care of the rough work and Lorenzo does the more delicate work”, Gino continues. “Afterwards we do the same with the spare bikes and check the spare wheels. On the day of the race we do a final check-up just before leaving. For the women’s team we have one car in the race, so each rider has one spare bike. Lorenzo is in the car with spare wheels during the race. I will be present at two or three points along the course with water bottles and spare wheels. The sports directors and race coaches will inform us on the crucial points.”
“Team Jumbo-Visma is a big team and you can feel that in everything”, Lorenzo continues. Everything is perfectly in order. If you compare it to football, we play at Barcelona”, Gino nods. “Yes, when we arrive somewhere, people look at us and the fans flock around immediately. That makes me proud”, Lorenzo agrees. “We are away from home for three, four weeks sometimes, but the race is our hobby; makes our hearts beat faster. It makes it all worth it.”