RISING COLOURS EP. 1 - A Cobbled Dream
A Cobbled Dream
Immerse yourself in the world of LeCol – Wahoo. Live alongside the cyclists and the staﬀ. Accompany them in their dreams. This is what you’ll experience through Rising Colours, our new web series on the life of the LeCol - Wahoo team. For the 3rd consecuMve year, Mavic is a partner of the young BriMsh team that are currently compeMng in the UCI Women's ConMnental, the equivalent of the 2nd professional division. The objecMve for the 2022 season is clear: to parMcipate in the Tour de France Femmes and reach World Tour status at the end of the season!
Come with us and experience the inMmacy of the team, a closer look at the daily life of those who write the history of cycling.
For this ﬁrst episode, we took up residence on the outskirts of Anzegem, Belgium, in the team's HQ during the run-up to the Flanders races. Here, every village is full of cycling. Here, the hills and the cobbled sectors immerse us in the very special world of these legendary spring races.
An extraordinary atmosphere
When we push open the door of the team's training house, the ﬁrst thing that strikes us is a mixture of laughter and discussions in English, Dutch and French: the tone is set! At LeCol - Wahoo, the riders and staﬀ are there to work, but there’s an atmosphere worthy of the best youth teams. Everyone is happy to be there, and you can feel it.
For several years now, the team has been oﬀering the riders the opportunity to come and live as much as they want in this big house during the two months preceding the race. The programme includes training sessions, of course, but also the opportunity to spend Mme together, to get to know each other, to share the daily tasks and thus to develop a certain cohesion. Unlike hotel stays where everyone can go back to their room once the meal is over, everyone eats together, enjoys being together and the sofa is used for brieﬁngs/debrieﬁngs as well as watching a series or a replay of the last race.
This warm and friendly atmosphere is also what comes out when we ask each of them what they think of the house “If you’re worried about something you know you can speak to anyone about it. It actually feels like a family away from family.” (Lizzie Holden).
For Marjolein Van't Geloof aka "Majo" it's the same thing: “I think the main thing that sets our team apart from the other teams is the atmosphere that everyone really enjoys being here and doing their job. Everyone comes in here and feels they’re on holiday but we’re actually here to race and really be professional too”
Having the means to achieve your ambiMons
If the general atmosphere is very pleasant and relaxed during "off" times and coffee rides, everyone can switch and change their state of mind when it comes to getting down to work. In the few days we spent with the team, we were able to attend the race debriefing in Noekere-Koerse where the
team pushed hard and finished in a very good 5th place among the best World Tour teams. After conscientiously reviewing the images and analysing the positive aspects, everyone turns to the areas of improvement, and it doesn't matter if it's a young rookie who gives feedback to the road captain! Beyond the result, it is also the attitude of the team's riders that makes people want to follow and take an interest in them.
On the staff's side, you also feel a strong commitment from the Sports Director Nicolas Marche, with 7 years of experience in women's cycling or Julia Soek, a former pro rider for almost 10 years. All of them are there to work for the team and give their best. The same goes for the mechanics, who are often the first up and last down, they were extremely involved during one of the key reconnaissance sessions of our stay: Paris-Roubaix!
On the cobblestones of the Hell of the North, it was an opportunity for some of them to return to a terrain they know well. For others, a chance to discover the mythical cobbles. It was at this precise moment that Mavic's expertise came into its own, thanks to the experience of Guillaume Martin, Sponsorship Manager. "The most important thing is that each rider tests the wheels and finds the pressure that suits her, by trying different things and going over the same sectors several times. You have to be comfortable on the cobbles, arriving fast and keeping your speed.”
Last year, on the first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, the team's riders did not suffer any mechanical incidents (punctures, breakages, etc.). They were also the only ones in the peloton to race with 32mm tyres, made possible both by adapted tyres and by the Cosmic SLR32s, which have a slightly wider (and therefore more comfortable) inner section.
Paris-Roubaix, a dream come true
"I always saw Paris-Roubaix as my dream race". "I really suffered on all the cobbled sectors".
These two sentences from Maria "Tata" Martins sum up what awaits the riders on Saturday 16th of April 2022, the 2nd edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes. A cocktail of dreams and hell.
On the eve of the reconnaissance, concentration is at its peak when Julia, the new sports director of the team, begins the briefing and describes what awaits the girls the next day. Everyone will meet up a few kilometres from the first cobbled sector to ride the last 3 hours of the Hell of the North, the race that makes you suffer as much as it makes you dream. Soon, "Majo" takes over, Majo participated in the 1st edition of the race last year, taking a superb 13th place. Since then, she’s done 5 reconnaissance runs of the course and describes the sectors, turning with her eyes almost closed.
On the day of the race, she will have to leave nothing to chance in order to get a result. But what result are we talking about? To repeat the performance of 2021? Aiming for a top 10? Why not a podium... Or more, who knows? Raising our arms on the velodrome is a dream that we must allow ourselves to have.
The next day the team are determined, powering through the different sectors. Doing tests to find the right pressure, the right position. The cobblestones go by until the mythical Carrefour de l'Arbre. There, we switch to "race mode”.Everyone gives it their all.
As you watch them, your eyes light up and you can't wait to be there on Saturday 16th of April to witness this moment. "Paris-Roubaix is a race that will stay in your mind forever". This sentence from Nicolas, the team manager, could sum up what the girls will experience. So, from now on, there is nothing left to do but embrace the Hell of the North. With the professionalism and optimism that characterises the Le Col-Wahoo team to write, why not, one more line in this cycling myth.