Backstage – Marion Lehmann is the mistress of the accommodations. It organises and coordinates a total of around 6500 hotel beds per Tour de Suisse.
When it comes to accommodation, the spirits regularly divide. But you can never please everybody. Nobody knows this better than Marion Lehmann, who has been organising the hotels for the tour team for eleven years. Those who come to their hotel room after a strenuous stage and a longer car journey do not want to experience any negative surprises. “It is always a big challenge to find hotels that meet the requirements and are within budget at the same time.”
So it can happen that the racers and staff members are sometimes very comfortable at one stage place and the next day they are accommodated rather modestly. “Throughout the whole tour, it should come back up,” explains Marion Lehmann. Not all stage towns have sufficient hotel infrastructure. In such cases it extends the geographical area. In addition, in June there is a low tourist season in some places. Sometimes this is an advantage for Marion Lehmann, as she can have a relatively large number of rooms per hotel. On the other hand, the hotel operators sometimes lack the necessary personnel. But Marion Lehmann reassures us: “So far we’ve always found a solution.”
TdS – a family matter
The former professional cyclist Armin Meier brought Marion Lehmann into the TdS team in 2006. Meier was tour director at the time and was friends with her husband at the time. Marion Lehmann got to know her current partner on the Tour de Suisse, on the stage from Stäfa to Serfaus. “Serfaus will therefore always be remembered positively.” In the meantime her son Nico (17) also works for the Tour de Suisse as a bicycle mechanic in the neutral racing service. Out of sheer joy of commitment, his teachers give him a week’s holiday for his work on the Tour de Suisse.
Things only get hectic for Marion Lehmann when there are short-term changes in the hotels, such as changes in management or structural alterations. Sometimes misunderstandings arise. Not every hotelier can correctly estimate the logistical volume of the Tour de Suisse. “Some people think that the Tour de Suisse is always in the same place,” laughs Marion Lehmann. “Others ask me how many rooms I need. They would like to have them all at their place.”
Apart from that, Marion Lehmann plans every stage stop meticulously and provides the organisation, teams and staff members with all necessary information as well as hotel addresses for the navigation devices in good time. “On the evening after a stage, you don’t want to wander around for much longer.”
Until the end of November 2016, Marion Lehmann also worked full-time for her employer, TUI, managing special offers in the sports sector. For example, she organized the training camp for the participants of the “Tortour” or exclusive cycling trips to the “Gran Fondo New York”. In February 2017 she will now take up a new challenge at Swissport, the world’s leading airline service provider for airport handling.