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A Day in the Life of a Cycling Team Soigneur

27 Sep 2018
Randall Cooper
After many years of towing the corporate line, compiling sales forecasts and other boring stuff, Russell Kingston decided it was time to do something a bit different. Shortly after retraining as a sport and remedial massage therapist an opportunity came along to join Roger Hammond and the Madison Genesis continental pro-cycling team and has never looked back.

A Day on the Road with a Soigneur
“The day starts pretty early, getting the breakfast boxes ready for the guys so they have something to eat, because you can never guarantee what you will get when you’re staying in remote areas of small European countries” says Russell.   

“Then it's a case of making sure the guys are fed, relaxed and stress-free. After breakfast, we drive them to the start of the stage in good time, with food available on the team bus”.

Once the race is on the road staff run a split-shift to share the work and help the riders get through the race. A couple of helpers will go out on the road to the feed zone to give out musettes (feed bags). If it is a practically hot or hard stage there may be two feeds.  

 Image: Timing is everything for a soigneur

Another staff member will drive the team bus from the stage start to the finish. Once there, the job is to prepare the post-race meal for the riders and make sure it is ready for their return.

“Usually the stage finishes at around 5 pm. Hopefully, the guys from the feed zone will be back in time for the finish to help our with finish line duties and drinks. All going well we have some guys on the podium.”

Image: Russell congratulates 2018 British Road Race Champion Conor Swift

"After the race, the riders return to the team bus and get into some post-race hydration and nutrition, usually rice and chicken and their pre-made recovery shake. Then it is off to the hotel, usually arriving around 7 or 8 pm. Then we work through a series of massages to aid recovery”

With massages and recovery completed, Russell then turns his attention to preparations for the next day, making race food and bottles.

Recommendations for Injury Prevention and Recovery
Injury prevention is an important area for Russell. “First thing is making sure the riders stay upright and avoid crashing!”

“Prevention is always preferable to a cure” recommends Russell. “If the guys can be disciplined with their stretching and foam roller routine at home and I encourage them to see a physio on a regular basis. For recovery, it's all about getting a mix of nutrients in as soon as you finish. Then obviously the massage is to try and flush things out and help relax, followed by a good night’s sleep.”

Russell recommends a simple flush out style massage post race, stretching out the legs and mobilisation in the back and spine. “Of course it’s not about stepping off the massage table in pain, coming off more battered and bruised than when you went in is not the answer.”

Image: Massage with Russell Kingston – an important component of post ride recovery

Russell recommends this type of treatment for anyone looking to stay fit, healthy and injury free. “I see sports massage as an investment in your body. I'd advise getting treatment from a variety of professionals until you find someone you're comfortable with. If you can budget and plan for it, a maintenance massage once a month, coincided with a big race or big block of training that would be time and money well spent.”

Prevention of Saddle Sores
With saddle sores its all about prevention. Keep your kit and yourself clean. And don't spend too much time sitting around in your chamois after the ride.

Favourite Premax Products?
This year we’ve had some really great, sunny, hot weather and the Premax Sports Sunscreen has been second to none.

Image: Getting ready to race with Premax Sports Sunscreen

“From a massage point of view, I quite like the Premax Arnica Massage Cream. Its great for post-race massage to reduce inflammation has a good consistency, goes on well and gives a good bit of grip.

Away from the races, Russell tries to get out on his bike whenever he has a spare moment. Rumour has it Russ is a pretty handy time trialist himself!

Premax is a proud supporter, supplier, and sponsor of Madison Genesis.

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