Backstage – He is the man for the launch infrastructure. With his 27 men, Gregor Gut makes sure that at the start of each stage everything takes its usual course.
Every June, Gregor Gut rests his work as tax secretary at the Oberstammheim (ZH) municipality for one and a half weeks and rolls up his sleeves. For the third time he will be responsible for the starting infrastructure of the Tour de Suisse in 2017. Before him, the current General Director Olivier Senn headed this division. “I was allowed to take over a well-organized group”, laughs Gregor Gut and emphasizes that it is great fun to work with these great people. Just like Senn, the 39-year-old is a former ambitious cyclist. After his time as an active player, Gut was for a time the full-time sports director of a small professional team and accompanied it in this function twice to the Tour de Suisse. Today he still spends a few hours a week on the racing bike. “But I don’t compete anymore – I don’t miss the taste of blood in my mouth.”
Four trucks and tons of material
During the Tour de Suisse, around 27 people will be deployed daily to move the starting infrastructure to the new stage location. With four trucks, ten other vehicles (cars to vans with lifting platforms) and tons of material, his team travels from place to place like a travelling circus. The infrastructure includes a show truck for driver registration, a toilet car, a VIP tent with kitchen and furniture, 120 police grids and 30 mobile fences. Because the finish and start locations are usually different, Gregor Gut and his team only see the stage arrival on TV – or not at all. “That’s why it’s good for us if the Tour de Suisse stays in one place at the start and finish weekend. That way we can see the riders crossing the finish line,” says Gregor Gut with a wink.
Gregor Gut can prepare many things. However, there is no stage location where everything works out perfectly. That is why he is always needed as a problem solver. That’s part of the appeal for him. “I keep running into solution-oriented movers and shakers at the local organizing committees.” Last but not least, it is due to his team that the leaders of the various classifications are always at the front of the starting line with their leading jerseys for the starting photo after the registration.
The father of three is considered to have strong nerves. Nevertheless, he attributed his severe stomach pains at the final weekend in Bern in 2015 to overloaded nerves. “The tension during the Tour de Suisse is not to be underestimated.” However, he was completely wrong in his self-diagnosis. Only on Monday he went to the hospital, where specialists discovered a piece of wire in his stomach wall, which he had probably swallowed with the steak on Friday evening. “In the hospital I could – before I returned to the tax returns – at least get some sleep,” says Gregor Gut with a mischievous laugh.