The riders are also lucky to have Dirk Van de Ven working on their bikes. Young, agile, and intense, Van de Ven immediately struck me as a real asset - he's been with LottoNL-Jumbo for a couple of years and is often found riding in the back of the team car.
In the eventuality of a crash or mechanical problem with the bike, Van de Ven's job is to jump out the team car, replace bikes, wheels, or simply help a cyclist get back in the saddle.
He's got to think fast, act quickly, and be absolutely sure that all the tools at his disposal are fit for purpose. Having spent an afternoon watching him tape handlebars and levelling every seat, I asked what he'd be doing the morning of the race, "I'll be doing it all again."