The Shimano Neutral Service team for the 2016 Tour Down Under: three Aussies and five Belgians (Tom Claes, motorbike rider not pictured) When it comes to professional road racing, riders rely on their team cars to supply them with race tactics, hydration and mechanical support. However, sometimes things don’t go to plan, or perhaps there’s a split in the peloton and riders can be left stranded. Saving the day, Neutral Service is there to step in and provide support to any rider who needs it.
Shimano looks after the Neutral Service for all WorldTour-level UCI events, with the exception of those run by ASO (the small matter of the Tour de France, for instance). With this, a team of drivers, motorbike riders and mechanics are there – dressed in blue – to follow the race.
While on duty at the Tour Down Under, I managed to hitch a ride in one of the three Shimano Neutral Service cars for the first stage . It was a sweltering hot day with high winds, during which a small breakaway of Sean Lake (UniSA-Australia), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo) was left dangling out the front without the support of their […]