Have you ever wanted to have a mooch around the much-vaunted Team Sky bus? I know I did, and thanks to Jaguar, along with some lucky competition winners, we got that very chance whilst the Death Star sat awaiting its star charges during the final stage of the Tour of Britain.

Team Sky Service Truck - Image ©PaulHarris/CyclingShorts

For a race like the Tour of Britain, Team Sky send the team bus and a big service truck – the service truck has a kitchen and laundry at the front, and bike storage and a workshop at the back. The workshop is empty because the team are out on stage, safely shepherding Sir Brad’s run to the gold jersey.

Bernie Eisel’s spare helmet waits patiently for the call to arms - Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

 Visiting the team bus while the riders were away was the cycling equivalent to stepping aboard the deserted Marie Celeste where the coffee pot on the stove was still hot. Bernie Eisel’s spare helmet waits patiently for the call to arms.

 

Inside the Death Star - Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

The bus was designed and built solely to transport nine riders from the hotel to the start line in as comfortable a fashion as possible. The first vehicle to be built so uncompromisingly, other teams have since followed suit.

 

Chris Froome favoured during his Tour de France triumph - Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

Team Sky advise that their riders become attached to particular seats – this seat, the second row on the right hand side, is the one that Chris Froome favoured during his Tour de France triumph.

 

David Lopez occupied this seat during the Tour of Britain, and his newspaper, recovery bar and phones await his return -Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

The seat behind the Froome chair is the one that David Lopez occupied during the Tour of Britain, and his newspaper, recovery bar and phones await his return. Team Sky were fantastically open-handed about allowing us access.

 

Wiggo’s seat, predictably enough, is in the front row, right behind the driver - Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

Wiggo’s seat, predictably enough, is in the front row, right behind the driver – some goon who really doesn’t like having his picture taken poses with the jersey that Sir Bradley picked up at the end of the Guildford stage the day before. The helmet weighs nothing.

 

Sir Bradley’s shades and his Guildford trophy - Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

Sir Bradley’s shades and his Guildford trophy. The seats are exquisitely comfortable.

 

The rules according to Team Sky - Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

The rules according to Team Sky.

 

Meeting room where the world’s supply of energy bars, gels and powders are stored - Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

At the back of the bus, past the showers, is a little meeting room where the world’s supply of energy bars, gels and powders are stored. We were invited to go and have a look around, but I felt too guilty intruding on someone’s workspace to go any further.

 

How much do you want to try a bottle of this? - Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

How much do you want to try a bottle of this?

 

Team Sky Bus Exterior - Image ©Paul Harris / Cycling Shorts.

Even from the outside, I’ve always been appreciative of what Team Sky have done for the sport in the UK, purely in terms of results and the associated boosting of the profile of racing. But it was a privilege to have a chance to have a look on the inside – even in the closing stages of a fairly important stage race in which they had a vested interest, they took the time to offer the chance to have a mosey around to four randoms that they didn’t know from Adam. And not just a faceless guided whizz around – we had a guide, of course, but Rob could not have been more open and friendly. It was remarkable – all their riders’ personal kit was there, any questions could be asked, photos were encouraged and nothing was off limits. British Cycling Head Coach Shane Sutton was on and off the bus doing his thing whilst we were there, and he was perfectly happy to answer questions as he worked.

It was a fantastic treat, for any cycling fan, and a real privilege to have had the chance – massive “thank you thank you thank you!” thanks to Fran Millar of Team Sky and Claire Boakes of Jaguar for allowing Cycling Shorts this window into such a fascinating world. #ToB2013 #ridelikeapro @TeamSky @JaguarUK @Sportbrake

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