Cycling Weekly will have a rider blogging from every round of this year’s Pearl Izumi Tour Series, offering insight, comment and humour from the fast-paced proceedings.
He might not be a rider any more but this week Madison-Genesis director sportif Roger Hammond explains the role of a DS at the Tour Series, and tells us what makes a good team bus.
“Of course I have to say how important my job as a DS is at the Tour Series! The biggest role is actually in terms of logistics, making sure that everything we plan in transfers and where we stay, where we warm up and so on is all revolving around the bike riders.
“Hopefully that’s where I have an advantage because it wasn’t all that long ago that I was a bike rider, so it means I don’t have to ring up the riders and ask them what they’d like as much because I can remember what I would have wanted. That just makes it a lot cheaper and a lot less hassle.
“During the race we set up a little code so that the riders know what to do. It is just hand signals because there is so much noise – tannoys, music etc. – that it’s impossible to hear anything. We have “ride as hard as you can,” “ride,” “don’t ride,” “contribute,” and “don’t contribute.” That’s it really.
“I can’t give them away because all my rivals would know what we’re doing! But it’s not complicated, you can’t make them too subtle or no one would get them.
Roger Hammond debriefs with Madison-Genesis rider Ian Bibby
“The team bus makes a massive difference. People laugh at it, but the riders often hang around in the bus for an informal debrief after each round rather than going off to their individual rooms. It creates a strong team atmosphere. We got quite a lot of stick for it but its been a really great thing. It makes us a lot more flexible, and we have much less stress.
“One thing that I’d improve about being a Tour Series DS, which they’ve made legislation on now, is doing something about middle lane drivers.
“I’m not allowed in the outside lane in the truck, and I get stuck behind someone doing 50mph in the middle lane. That’s been addressed now; I’ve been on to the Government about that for ages!
“The horn could be improved; that’s why you’ve not heard it yet. I have to open the window and shout. We definitely need a proper horn, and I want a row of them along the roof so I can be a proper trucker.
“I need my trucker tattoo on my right arm, and we could get some vinyls and artworks of naked ladies down the side of the cabin too.”