Wheel swaps, car ballet & power naps

The bright yellow of Mavic neutral support motos and cars is a familiar sight at races the world...

Riding with Mavic neutral support's yellow brigade

The bright yellow of Mavic neutral support motos and cars is a familiar sight at races the world over and Georgia was no exception. Eddie Monnier hopped aboard Mavic car #2 to witness the world's fastest wheel-changers and power-nappers in action.

Almost every professional road racer has at some time had cause to be grateful for the skills of the mechanics and drivers that staff Mavic's worldwide neutral tech support service. At Georgia, the Mavic team numbered 16, staffing three cars and two motorcycles plus the ancillary services required to support America's premier stage race.

Aboard Mavic 2 on the final stage of the Dodge Tour de Georgia were driver Jennifer Holland and Mike Berlinger, a Mavic USA marketing man turned weekend neutral support mechanic, plus your humble scribe.

Thanks in part to the generally excellent roads, well-executed road clean up by race operations and relative lack of crashes, the Mavic team had enjoyed a relatively quite week. In fact, in the prior five stages there had only been about 15 wheel changes total, including those administered by team cars. Whether calm or chaotic, any one wheel change can make or break a rider's race. On this final stage, only eight seconds separated first and third place on GC. If either of them needed help, that's a lot of responsibility for the Mavic team to shoulder.

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