The start of the Tour Down Under is not only a busy time for riders, who have a first chance to see if all their hard work over the winter has paid off with good early season form, but also sees the team mechanics thrown into a frenzy of activity.
The few days ahead of the first WorldTour race of the season sees the team mechanics in a race against time to prepare hundreds of bikes for the upcoming week of racing. Each of the 140 riders in the race will have either two or three bikes each, and with the majority travelling from Europe for the Tour Down Under, many of these bikes will need to be built when they arrive in Adelaide.
Depending on how the bikes have been transported, they will generally need a decent amount of assembly. At best the mechanics will only need to attach the wheels and pedals, and turn the handlebars in the right direction, but if the bikes have had the misfortune to encounter a less-than-caring baggage handler along the way, then some repairs may also be needed.
As well as getting the bikes into a working state, the mechanics will also need to get spare equipment ready, meaning long afternoons in the sun spent gluing tubular tyres to wheels and adjusting the cleats on riders’ shoes.
The French team is giving good exposure for SRAM, also using Zipp wheels and a Quarq power meter, two-in house brands of the American component giant.
While the riders pin on their race numbers, the mechanics work to attach them to the frames.
A Sky mechanic gives Luke Rowe's Pinarello Dogma F8 a quick hose down before it is called into action for the first time this year.
A saddle that's too high can cause knee pain from cycling (Photo: Watson)
Brakes located below the bottom bracket can be fiddly to adjust
A Giant-Alpecin mechanic starts work on one of the team's Giant Propels
A LottoNL-Jumbo mechanic checks that the cleats are perfectly aligned
No-one wants to pick up an early season knee injury from bad cleat positioning.
Gluing hundreds of tubular tyres can be a boring task for the team mechanics
This handlebar tape might not be as white after a week in sweltering conditions