Saturday, October 16, 2021
HomeInterviewsRobyn Taylor - CSC Soigneuse

Robyn Taylor – CSC Soigneuse


So what brings a surfer dudette to West Flanders? The smart answer would be — ha! The team car! Robyn Taylor is a CSC soigneuse, she comes from Brisbane and has arrived in the male dominated world of pro cycling via water polo, surfing, The AIS (Australian Institute of Sport), and the now-defunct Team Fakta.

Robyn found a few minutes to talk to us between stages at the 2006 de Panne 3 Day.

Robyn Taylor
Robyn, one of team CSC’s soigneurs.

You into doing any sports yourself?

“Yeah, my own sports are water polo and surfing. I studied at the AIS and gravitated towards rowing, then triathlon and cycling. I got the job with Fakta thanks to Scott Sunderland, and then when the team folded I got this job.”

What about the macho world she finds herself in?

“With it being a Scandinavian team attitudes are more liberal, it’s really not an issue. In fact, I think I contribute to good morale. The guys can banter with me in a different way to the way they would with each other.”

In other interviews with CSC personnel, we hear various stories about director sportif Bjarne Riis’ attention to detail, and demanding high standards. How does you find him to work with?

“Bjarne is very professional; the only thing that matters to him is that the job is done properly.”

The old cliché about a woman’s work never being done must have been written with Robyn in mind: A typical day on a race such as today’s is pretty hectic. She rises at 6.00am, and first on the agenda is to prepare the rider’s breakfasts, then sort out the race food and drink for the day.

The riders’ pre-race treatment depends on the weather and the individual rider’s preferences. Hot weather may see some ride with no preparation on their legs at all; some may want “a light oil”. Cold weather requires:

“a hot oil or balm – if it is cold and wet a protective layer of Vaseline or bees wax will be applied over the warming agents, particularly around the knees where tissue is most delicate.”

Robyn doesn’t get to see much of the race action – during the race she will travel on to the next hotel and set up shop ready for the evening massages. Her role in the team is absolutely fundamental to their success – a rider could not finish a three week stage race without massage, the process of recovery by easing bruised blood out of tired muscles is essential to daily survival.

The massage process is also a good relaxant, helping to ease away anxieties. It’s hard work, each rider will be on the table for around an hour. Some prefer their massage before their meal, some afterwards. The next day it all happens again – or it could be a drive across central Europe.

We wonder whether she’ll be going to the Olympics with the Aussie team being full of medal contenders?

“Yeah, that would be good, but I’ve been too busy all year to think about it really.”

Thanks for your time Robyn and good luck with all your riders for the season.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Andy Hillman – Soigneur to the WorldTour Stars

There are no palmarès to check for this guy, he’s one of cycle sport’s back room, ‘unsung heroes’ – but he’s worked with some of the sport’s biggest names; he takes us behind the scenes to look at the life of a soigneur in modern cycling. Mr. Andrew Hillman, aka ‘The Hillmanator.’

Pierrot de Wit – Bradley Wiggins’ and Eddy Merckx’s Soigneur

If you look at those sharp black and white cycling pictures from the 70’s and 80’s on social media, beside or behind the featured star rider there’s often an uncredited figure – as likely as not that’ll be the rider’s soigneur. And in the case of some of the biggest stars of the eras from Eddy Merckx to Bradley Wiggins that soigneur is liable to be the gentleman we’re about to present to you; Mr. Pierrot de Wit from Brussels.

At Random

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Six, Roberto Storms Off at Arima Velodrome

I felt like one of those football reporters at the racing here in Trinidad & Tobago at the Arima Velodrome, who has the copy all neatly spell checked; then the 2-1 down losing side bangs in two in the last 90 seconds. Roberto Chiappa was going to win the sprint final 2-0 against Home Boy, Sellier.

Tao Geoghegan Hart – The New u23 British Champion

It was the end of 2013 when we last spoke to Tao Geoghegan Hart (Axeon Hagens-Berman). He has a name that's hard to miss, Tao Geoghegan Hart; with 2013 results to match - two of Europe's premier junior stage races and a podium in the junior Paris-Roubaix. Since then a lot of races have flowed under the bridge and he’s had strong results in more than his fair share of them. Sunday saw him take arguably the biggest result of his career; finishing sixth behind Messrs. Blythe, Cavendish, Fenn, MvNally and Thwaites in the British Elite Road Race title event – and taking the U23 jersey champion’s in the process.

On The Road in Vigo at La Vuelta a España 2007

Here we are at the start of this year's Vuelta a España in the Galician Town of Vigo - if you don't know where that is, its on the most westerly coast at the most northern bit, just above Portugal, in fact it's only 30 kilometers from Portugal.

Joe Papp 2010 Interview – Reprised

Two and a half years ago we spoke to Joe Papp following the declaration of a positive dope test result for his compatriot Tom Zirbel.

James Shaw – “This year has been about putting down foundations”

It was the tailend of last year when we last spoke to 2014 junior Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner, James Shaw; he’s spent this season with the Lotto-Soudal U23 team - we thought it was high time we had a word.

Tony Gibb Eurosport Commentator – London Olympics Day Three

Well no rubbish today about my trip to the track or my run in with a black cab driver, today is simply about the bike riding.