Skip to main content

Inside the Team RadioShack Service Course

Image 1 of 68

The team's Paris-Roubaix bikes were still all intact, including their race numbers

The team's Paris-Roubaix bikes were still all intact, including their race numbers
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 2 of 68

It may look like an ordinary Nissan Murano, but this car is known as 'Air Force Once' by team staff

It may look like an ordinary Nissan Murano, but this car is known as 'Air Force Once' by team staff
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 3 of 68

No shortage of mussette bags

No shortage of mussette bags
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 4 of 68

Soigneurs cars and one of the team's VIP vans are safely garaged for deployment

Soigneurs cars and one of the team's VIP vans are safely garaged for deployment
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 5 of 68

The owner of the Former-car dealership is now one of RadioShack's three bus drivers

The owner of the Former-car dealership is now one of RadioShack's three bus drivers
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 6 of 68

While most of the former-Ford dealership has been given over to the service course, some of the original décor remains intact

While most of the former-Ford dealership has been given over to the service course, some of the original décor remains intact
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 7 of 68

RadioShack is unlikely to run short of these in a hurry

RadioShack is unlikely to run short of these in a hurry
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 8 of 68

The VIP vans have two screens so that occupants can keep abreast of what's going on in the peloton

The VIP vans have two screens so that occupants can keep abreast of what's going on in the peloton
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 9 of 68

Lance Armstrong's superstar status calls for some serious tinting on the rear windows

Lance Armstrong's superstar status calls for some serious tinting on the rear windows
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 10 of 68

Head soigneur Geert Tieberigijn has installed a system of barcodes to keep a track of where all the team kit goes - who's got what and when they got it

Head soigneur Geert Tieberigijn has installed a system of barcodes to keep a track of where all the team kit goes - who's got what and when they got it
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 11 of 68

Everything has its place inside a team's Service Course

Everything has its place inside a team's Service Course
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 12 of 68

Lots and lots and lots of bidons. The team gets through as many as 20,000 in a season - most finding their way to a new home with spectators

Lots and lots and lots of bidons. The team gets through as many as 20,000 in a season - most finding their way to a new home with spectators
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 13 of 68

The team's vehicles are stored indoors throughout the European winter

The team's vehicles are stored indoors throughout the European winter
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 14 of 68

Neo-pro Bjorn Selander's Trek Madone

Neo-pro Bjorn Selander's Trek Madone
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 15 of 68

All shapes, all sizes, can I get it in red and grey?

All shapes, all sizes, can I get it in red and grey?
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 16 of 68

The rear seats had been removed, but it looks like a pretty good spot to watch a bike race from

The rear seats had been removed, but it looks like a pretty good spot to watch a bike race from
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 17 of 68

Softdrinks: Coming to a race finisher near you

Softdrinks: Coming to a race finisher near you
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 18 of 68

With around 55 individual items of clothing and almost thirty riders, the numbers involved with team kit throughout a season quickly boggles the mind

With around 55 individual items of clothing and almost thirty riders, the numbers involved with team kit throughout a season quickly boggles the mind
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 19 of 68

The team's small camper doesn't get used very often, but it's ready to go if and when the need arises.

The team's small camper doesn't get used very often, but it's ready to go if and when the need arises.
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 20 of 68

Sure beats the generic motivational posters that adorn many office walls

Sure beats the generic motivational posters that adorn many office walls
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 21 of 68

Not all the trophies make it home with the riders that won them

Not all the trophies make it home with the riders that won them
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 22 of 68

Former-pro Dirk Demol is now one of cycling's most experienced sports directors

Former-pro Dirk Demol is now one of cycling's most experienced sports directors
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 23 of 68

Reminders of the places the team's been and races won

Reminders of the places the team's been and races won
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 24 of 68

Riders normally keep the trophies they've earnt, but the ones that get left on the team bus usually end up here.

Riders normally keep the trophies they've earnt, but the ones that get left on the team bus usually end up here.
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 25 of 68

With the pace of technical innovation in cycling, these forks have quickly become relics of days gone by

With the pace of technical innovation in cycling, these forks have quickly become relics of days gone by
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 26 of 68

Plenty of yellow on display, but Roberto Heras' 2004 Maglia Oro is also proudly displayed

Plenty of yellow on display, but Roberto Heras' 2004 Maglia Oro is also proudly displayed
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 27 of 68

The front of the Service Course is occupied by offices, where the logistical nightmare of running a ProTour team is kept well under control

The front of the Service Course is occupied by offices, where the logistical nightmare of running a ProTour team is kept well under control
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 28 of 68

A row of spare time trial frames stay out of the way and protected

A row of spare time trial frames stay out of the way and protected
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 29 of 68

Deep dish is the way to go at RadioShack

Deep dish is the way to go at RadioShack
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 30 of 68

54-tooth chanrings appear to be a popular choice at the moment

54-tooth chanrings appear to be a popular choice at the moment
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 31 of 68

Tools for every task. The service course workshop was pretty quiet with most of the mechanical staff at races

Tools for every task. The service course workshop was pretty quiet with most of the mechanical staff at races
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 32 of 68

The first layer of rim cement is left to cure overnight before a second is applied to the team's tubular wheels

The first layer of rim cement is left to cure overnight before a second is applied to the team's tubular wheels
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 33 of 68

US Postal Service, Discovery Channel, Astana and now RadioShack have called this Service Course home

US Postal Service, Discovery Channel, Astana and now RadioShack have called this Service Course home
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 34 of 68

All of the team's vehicles are marked with a number

All of the team's vehicles are marked with a number
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 35 of 68

Meersmann didn't have too much trouble organising TV screens for the VIP cars from team sponsor RadioShack

Meersmann didn't have too much trouble organising TV screens for the VIP cars from team sponsor RadioShack
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 36 of 68

Soigneurs will make good use of this stock, filling the riders' bidons with plain water or energy mixtures according to their tastes

Soigneurs will make good use of this stock, filling the riders' bidons with plain water or energy mixtures according to their tastes
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 37 of 68

Chris Horner's time trial rig lays in wait

Chris Horner's time trial rig lays in wait
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 38 of 68

Disc wheels are kept together in the Service Course

Disc wheels are kept together in the Service Course
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 39 of 68

The workshop at the RadioShack Service Course

The workshop at the RadioShack Service Course
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 40 of 68

Luc Meersmann explains the system used to ensure all the riders' equipment makes it to the race on time.

Luc Meersmann explains the system used to ensure all the riders' equipment makes it to the race on time.
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 41 of 68

Stacks of home trainers await pre-time trial warm-up duty

Stacks of home trainers await pre-time trial warm-up duty
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 42 of 68

Despite RadioShack's troops being deployed at three different races, the team's service course was still well stocked with equipment.

Despite RadioShack's troops being deployed at three different races, the team's service course was still well stocked with equipment.
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 43 of 68

If the car doesn't give it away, the sign out front is a pretty strong indication that this is the RadioShack service course

If the car doesn't give it away, the sign out front is a pretty strong indication that this is the RadioShack service course
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 44 of 68

Johan Bruyneel's name is on the door, but camera-shy Pallieter is the one that really runs the show at the RadioShack Service Course

Johan Bruyneel's name is on the door, but camera-shy Pallieter is the one that really runs the show at the RadioShack Service Course
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 45 of 68

Prevention is better than a cure, but there's plenty of relief on hand if saddle-sores do appear

Prevention is better than a cure, but there's plenty of relief on hand if saddle-sores do appear
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 46 of 68

This team car was fresh from a day of duty across the border at Amstel Gold Race

This team car was fresh from a day of duty across the border at Amstel Gold Race
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 47 of 68

Pointers to RadioShack's predecessors adorn the walls of the team's Service Course

Pointers to RadioShack's predecessors adorn the walls of the team's Service Course
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 48 of 68

ProTour Service Course: Lots of wheels, lots of bikes

ProTour Service Course: Lots of wheels, lots of bikes
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 49 of 68

Plenty of room to park the mechanics' trucks for unloading, upon return from races

Plenty of room to park the mechanics' trucks for unloading, upon return from races
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 50 of 68

Riders' rainwear and helmets are kept well organised by team staff

Riders' rainwear and helmets are kept well organised by team staff
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 51 of 68

Sunscreen and chamois cream - a workplace necessity for RadioShack's riders

Sunscreen and chamois cream - a workplace necessity for RadioShack's riders
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 52 of 68

Director of Johan Bruyneel Management, Gert Duffeleer, performs double-duty as the team's chef. He's affectionately known as 'Duffy' by the team.

Director of Johan Bruyneel Management, Gert Duffeleer, performs double-duty as the team's chef. He's affectionately known as 'Duffy' by the team.
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 53 of 68

 RadioShack have a policy of ensuring the team is responsible for getting the riders' helmets to a race, rather than the athletes themselves

RadioShack have a policy of ensuring the team is responsible for getting the riders' helmets to a race, rather than the athletes themselves
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 54 of 68

A couple of Discovery Channel lids were stacked out the back of the Service Course

A couple of Discovery Channel lids were stacked out the back of the Service Course
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 55 of 68

The team's small mechanical truck still has room for a washing machine and up to 20 bikes

The team's small mechanical truck still has room for a washing machine and up to 20 bikes
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 56 of 68

Cycling caps are piled high at the Service Course

Cycling caps are piled high at the Service Course
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 57 of 68

Just in case the team runs short of wheels, there's plenty of new stock ready to go

Just in case the team runs short of wheels, there's plenty of new stock ready to go
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 58 of 68

Remnants of previous seasons' equipment

Remnants of previous seasons' equipment
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 59 of 68

The sign says it all

The sign says it all
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 60 of 68

Some reminders of the Discovery Channel days hang in the corner

Some reminders of the Discovery Channel days hang in the corner
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 61 of 68

Not one of the team bikes

Not one of the team bikes
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 62 of 68

Stock of all the team's race food is kept at the Service Course

Stock of all the team's race food is kept at the Service Course
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 63 of 68

RadioShack's enormous pile of Paris-Roubaix wheels were stacked ready to put away for next year's race

RadioShack's enormous pile of Paris-Roubaix wheels were stacked ready to put away for next year's race
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 64 of 68

Geoffroy Laquatre's bike from the Tour of Flanders, cleaned and ready for its next assignment

Geoffroy Laquatre's bike from the Tour of Flanders, cleaned and ready for its next assignment
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 65 of 68

Spare components are layed out in a room adjoining the workshop

Spare components are layed out in a room adjoining the workshop
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 66 of 68

Rice milk? Soy milk? Half-fat? Full-fat? Take your pick

Rice milk? Soy milk? Half-fat? Full-fat? Take your pick
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 67 of 68

The Belgium-based service course is responsible for equipment to be used at races near and far

The Belgium-based service course is responsible for equipment to be used at races near and far
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)
Image 68 of 68

RadioShack riders all use Trek's stock frame sizes, so the team carries a full set of frames to replace bikes that might be destroyed during battle on European roads.

RadioShack riders all use Trek's stock frame sizes, so the team carries a full set of frames to replace bikes that might be destroyed during battle on European roads.
(Image credit: Richard Tyler)

RadioShack may be one of the newest teams in the ProTour peloton but the team's Service Course, in the heart of Flemish Belgium, has been the base for the success of the US Postal Service, Discovery Channel and Astana teams for over a decade. Some of Lance Armstrong's framed yellow jerseys on the walls and a collection of trophies show just how successful the team has been over the years.  

With RadioShack currently deployed at races in three different countries, their Service Course was described by the remaining staff as "bare", however Cyclingnews still discovered plenty of equipment and history when we were given exclusive access to the European home of the US squad. The well-established base also provides a fascinating contrast to the comparatively young Service Course of fellow ProTour-newcomer, Team Sky, Cyclingnews visited last week.

The genesis of the RadioShack Service Course adds to its rich history. The collection of buildings used to be a car dealership, which RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel visited in 1999 to have repairs done on his personal vehicle shortly after taking the helm of US Postal Service. He became friends with the owner of the dealership, who subsequently offered the space to US Postal to use as their Service Course. The friendship has remained strong, as the former-car man is now one of the RadioShack's three bus drivers.

The Service Course  is also the office of Bruyneel's management company, which is responsible for the employment of RadioShack's 60-70 riders and staff. Director of Johan Bruyneel Management, Gert Duffeleer, oversees the administration of the company, with Barbara Van Maeldergem in charge of RadioShack's rider logistics (her imposing task made even more difficult last week after the eruption of the Icelandic volcano). Duffeleer, or 'Duffy' as he is affectionately known within the team, does double-duty as the team's chef at major races.

Former-professional Luc Meersman is another who wears a number of hats within the team. The father of Française des Jeux profesional Gianni, Meersman acts as a bodyguard to Lance Armstrong at major races, however, his primary responsibility is looking after RadioShack's fleet of 23 vehicles.

"We have two team buses, twelve team cars - six race cars and six soigneurs cars - two big mechanical trucks, two small trucks, two private cars, two VIP vans, one camper and a lot of bikes," he told Cyclingnews, adding with a grin, "If this volcano doesn't clear up, we'll probably have two ferries."

Meersman also takes personal responsibility for the vehicle dubbed 'Air Force One' used by Lance Armstrong when he is in Europe. Devoid of team logos, the silver Nissan features heavily tinted windows, designed to give Armstrong some respite from the constant attention that he attracts in Europe.

Like most major teams, Armstrong and his RadioShack teammates will most often arrive for races aboard one of the team's two buses. The unique specification of cycling team buses creates a very limited re-sale market and teams will often buy and sell their used vehicles to other squads. This year, however, RadioShack took delivery of a brand new bus.

"A standard 50-seater bus costs around 200,000 Euros," said Meersman. "You then take it to someone else with a list of custom features - showers, riders' seats, team logos - and that can add anywhere from 150,000-200,000 to the cost. So a brand new bus will usually come to around 350,000-400,000 Euros."

The scale of infrastructure required for a ProTour team extends well beyond its transport needs. RadioShack head soigneur Geert Tiebergijn is responsible for the thousands of articles of team clothing that need to be distributed to riders and staff. He uses a barcode system that would rival any department store to make sure he knows exactly who has what and when they received it. The team also ensures that each team bus is stocked with three suitcases of spare kit, to account for lost luggage, mid-tour crashes or last-minute roster changes.

Click here to take a look inside the RadioShack Service Course.