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Walking amongst the stars at the TdF

Take a walk with our Shimano Sports Marketing Officer Joost Hoetelmans as he weaves through the Tour de France stars

We recently caught up with our very friendly, easy-going Shimano Sports Marketing Officer Joost Hoetelmans to hear all about his travels while covering the first week of the Tour de France. He kicked off our chat with, “Today Michael Matthews won! He’s one of our sponsored riders, and on our new prototype shoes, so it was a good day… again. It was so nice to be part of the race as it’s the biggest one in the world. All eyes are on the teams and what the mechanics are doing, while I just walk in between and support them,” enthused Joost.  

"It was so nice to be part of the race as it’s the biggest one in the world. All eyes are on the teams and what the mechanics are doing, while I just walk in between and support them."

Support to the stars

His job encompasses every aspect of support from shoe replacement to gearing explanations.  “As I had to be on hand for all the teams riding on our components, there was work enough for me to do,” joked Joost. 

Social media guru

He’s also delighted to post on social media while on site. “There’s Joost taking pictures, I hear people say. Yeah, that’s what I do. We want to show people actual bikes and products in use - in real life, while it’s happening,” explained Joost.

Daily routine

Each day, Joost would arrive at the start two hours early. Once the teams began to file in, he’d make his rounds to check in with as many as he could cover before the riders rolled off the start line.

“I’d make sure to say hello to the mechanics who’d often invite me in for a coffee. We’d talk a bit about gearing, what the riders are planning for the day, what transpired the day before. If something happened regarding our Shimano products, it always comes out in the conversation.” As a former mechanic for Team Rabobank for eight years before moving over to Shimano one and a half years ago, Joost is both happy and capable to talk about the most technical details of the bike.

After the riders hit the road, Joost would do what every cycling fanatic would do – study the stage profile once more, get in his car, turn on the race radio to follow the action live and make his way to the finish.

The tradeoff

Due to Joost’s extensive travel combined with long work days of up to 16 hours, he rarely finds time to ride his bike. But is it all worth it? Joost exclaimed, “Yes! When you love cycling and can work within the pro peloton for a brand like Shimano, then you can be nothing but really thrilled and proud. I feel extremely welcomed by the pro peloton because we have the good stuff. It almost doesn’t feel like work when I’m at the race.”

“Shimano-wise there were no problems with the components, and up till now in every stage there was a guy on Shimano crossing the line first. What more can I ask for? I have the best job in the world!”

Looking back at the TdF

Upon reflection, Joost mused, “Shimano-wise there were no problems with the components, and up till now in every stage there was a guy on Shimano crossing the line first. What more can I ask for? I have the best job in the world!” Next up for him is Rio, where he’ll gladly do it all over again. 

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