I have been a soigneur for professional cycling teams for many years. This year, I have the opportunity to work with the Optum squad. I truly enjoyed working with them as they are a great group of riders and staff.
What is a soigneur?
Some of you might be wondering what a soigneur is. Soigneur is a French word that means "one who cares for others". It is not only about providing sport massage to the athletes after a race, but it is also being a valet, cook, washer, driver, wound cleaner, and the list goes on.
A typical day for a soigneur begins early preparing for the race, making sure the team cars are loaded with water bottles and race food. Riders like to have the choice between water and drink mix and having a great variety of food is also appreciated. Post-race recovery drinks and food must also be ready for the riders.
During the race, soigneurs go to the feed-zone which is an area where they can hand bottles or musettes to the riders while standing inches away from them as they fly by. Musettes are feed bags and they usually contain a bottle with water and one with drink mix, a mini coke can, energy bars, food and gels.
After the race, the soigneurs wait for their riders pass the finish line with cold drinks and towels to wipe away the dust and sweat.
Later, after the race, as soon as the riders have showered and eaten, it's time for the recovery massages. Deep flushing of the legs, stretching are applied to help them recover faster and get their bodies ready to ride hard the next day.
The soigneurs evening ends by preparing for the next day so everything runs smoothly for the team.
Soigneurs are usually one of the first to be up in the morning and one of the last to go to bed at night, it is no doubt a lot of work, but it is also fun and rewarding.
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