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July 29, 2017
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  • dcaspira

    Good read !
    Matt, some of the photography from TDU has been incredible. I find myself increasingly carrying a camera on rides & would love to read a few articles from your sources, going through tips and tricks they’ve learnt over the years – It may bump up their profiles as well,

  • Pete

    Nice article and great video! Looks like stressful work. One question, when a rider is given a neutral bike, how is the timing worked out without a transponder on the bike?

    • It’s a good question. This is why they also have photo finish and numbers on each rider’s back. The transponder does the bulk of the work, but it’s still a manual process to look at the photo finish to confirm.

      • mark

        Usually the commissaire is aware of a bike change and normally has listed riders that crash or had bike changes, therefore refers to photo finish to check the riders placing. I’ve never known a rider to be left off the results due to a bike change.

      • Dave

        Plus there is the general tracking of who went off the front or back of which groups during a race. The commissaires pretty well always know at least the rough location of all riders, even if that info doesn’t make it onto race broadcasts.

        I believe WorldTour races are required to use a RFID chip embedded in the race numbers pinned on the riders’ jerseys. These only provide rough tracking capabilities, and are are not good enough for establishing a position within a peleton crossing the line. They do help give the race jury a rough idea of what point to look at on the photo finish linescan for a rider without a triggered transponder and of any ‘missed’ waypoints along the route.

        There were certainly RFID receivers positioned at the 3km to go line on stage 4, they weren’t beeping as Bupa Challenge riders went past so they were obviously there for the race.

  • Robert Merkel

    Did they carry any rear wheels compatible with That Other Groupset Brand? Did they just borrow a few off the teams or do they go to more elaborate lengths?

    • mark

      Normally they do, not just Shimano. They would make note of what teams ride what and have compatible wheels in case needed.

    • Dave

      Yes, it’s a requirement of a race’s official neutral service provider.

      Like the bikes, they are probably stickered up with Shimano branding!

    • Al Storer

      I saw an article elsewhere last year about neutral service- Giro d’Italia I think? Certainly another one Shimano do. It explained that they had cheat sheets inside the car with team jersey and groupset type displayed, and even stickers on the rims (non braking section) to make it as easy as possible for the mechanics. I think they actually had four options, as some teams were still on 10spd- so they need 10 & 11, Campag and Shimano/SRAM.
      pedals on the spare bikes must be more of a nightmare though

  • BP

    Matt, did you manage to get any shots of dropbears? I’ve heard that numbers in SA are on the increase and they’ve started to prey on tourists and backpackers and and the like.

    • Matt de Neef

      I didn’t sadly!

    • Dave

      The riders were safe on stage 4 at least. There was a sign warning about them next to the road at Yankalilla where the route headed into open bushland.

  • It must have been a great experience. Thanks for the read Matt.

  • Rob

    Michelin Pro 4s for the win!

  • Samaway

    Awesome video!!

  • brianthemagical

    I’d be interested to know why they used Lithion tyres? It looks like there are some Pro 4’s in one of the pics as well as Lithions. I’d have thought they’d be tubs or Pro4 Comp’s.

  • Ender ARDIÇ

    I think the neutral bikes are made of Giant.

    • There are a couple different models, but they’re made by Avanti.

  • Great stuff, thx Cycling Tips.

  • Bigguy

    Here’s a view of the same day from sitting in the Lampre-Merida team car…


    If you are a bad passenger, never travel in a team car. Two highlights of the trip. First was having to stop quickly when Cadel swapped bikes. We could easily have run him down. Secondly was passing a police car in a 25kph school zone – doing 100kph.


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July 29, 2017
July 28, 2017
July 27, 2017
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July 25, 2017