Behind The Scenes With PRO: Milan-San Remo

BY KATRINA YOUNCE

MANAGING DIRECTOR, PRO

As the PR team behind Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, one of our most important jobs is to support the team, its athletes, and sponsors, at races around the world. To that end, we set up and facilitate all media activities with the goal of telling the team story as effectively as we can to as many people as we can.

For a race like Milan-San Remo, the stakes are higher. Not only is this race WorldTour level, which means the best teams in the world attend, but it’s the longest one-day race in professional cycling at 298 kilometers (185 miles). For Team Novo Nordisk, this is as big as it gets.  While the team usually travels with only one on site press officer, Milan-San Remo necessitates two people and multiple days on site before the race to prepare. To ensure the athletes are able to focus on race day, we set up as many interviews as we can in the days leading up to the event, facilitating Skype, phone, email and in person interviews from the team hotel.

On race day, we meet early in the hotel restaurant for a quick breakfast before heading down to join the caravan with our team bus and team cars, carrying all athletes and staff to the start.  At the start, we park near the team bus and stay close to the athletes in order to set up last-minute interviews and talk to fans and families who want to meet the riders.

After the athletes leave for the start line, we race to get ahead of them (you never want to be stuck behind a bike race) and begin the long journey to the finish. There are a few stops along the way for espresso, gas and one of two “feed zones”, areas where riders can pick up food and drinks as they ride by. Along the way, we check the status of the race and our riders, mostly using social media, check emails, update reporters, and communicate with the team staff back in America. After several hours, we arrive at the finish line in San Remo.

Finishes are always unpredictable as we wait for our riders to come through and register their different results. From there, we head back to the team bus to gather quotes, coordinate post-race interviews and meet fans. While the day is over for most of the team, we start the second shift, drafting quotes and a race report detailing the event for the team website and select reporters, and tracking all media coverage. Approximately 15 hours after the day began, we’re finally done.

Counts for the day

Espresso: 11

Italian panini: 2

Toll booths: 9

Media mentions of Team Novo Nordisk: 500+