It's Thursday, 3 days out from the big day for the elite men and women who are going to point their bikes downhill in Smithfield Mountain Bike Park, in a push to pull on the rainbow jersey. The pits are quiet, so we dropped in to speak to Pierre-Alexandre Roche (known as P.A), who is Loris Vergier's personal mechanic, and the man expected to keep his Santa Cruz absolutelt dialled all season.

P.A was only slightly nervous about having his photo taken.

But as a professional mechanic, we're also keen to look inside P.A's toolbox, to see what makes the cut and what doesn't when travelling so far from Europe with the baggage limits that come with that.

P.A runs a pretty neat and tidy toolbox

There are no big surprises here. A power drill, lots of pliers including a couple of Knipex sets, side cutters and obviously cable cutters.


Well used allen keys, and digital pressure gauges and a Fox digital shock pump. These are a very common item - precision counts!

"Everything needs to be perfect. Every race the bike needs to be set up perfectly for the track. The good thing with Loris is that even one click on the compression or one click on the rebound - and he can feel the difference straight away," explains P.A. 

A few more tools like a large workshop tyre lever, file, RSP oils, sealant and T-handle allen keys. You can also see a couple of bleed buckets - brakes are getting a big workout already in Smithfield. And pulling up a 29er DH bike is no mean feat.

P.A. says he has been using the T25 torx tool a lot

"We change the rotors a lot, to keep them fresh. And we only use pads for one day. The more material you have on the pad, the more it deals with heat better So we change them each day."

Next page - tuning Vergier's bike for Smithfield