A soigneur's life
During her twenty years in professional cycling, soigneur Soso Roullois has won the peloton’s admiration
She has been on our team from the start.
Soso Roullois joined us in 2007. Ever since she was a little girl, she’d loved the sport. Soso used to travel around Brittany to watch her dad race small-town classics and criteriums. Bike racing captured her imagination. When she was twenty, she went to work as a soigneur for a French pro team to learn her métier. For a few years, she worked on the French circuit. Then, a friend introduced her to Jonathan Vaughters, who invited her to come to work for the fledgling pro team he had founded. EF Education-EasyPost is now like family to her.
“You spend so much time together,” Soso says. “Then, you start to be just more than just colleagues. I love it. You have to love it to do this job for so long. It’s a job that takes so much. The people we work with are our friends first. It’s not easy sometimes, but we just love it.”
Soso works long days. At the races, she is often up at seven, filling bottles and preparing the race cars for the day ahead. She often doesn’t finish until ten o’clock at night. Our soigneurs split their days between hotel duty and race duty. On hotel duty, she’ll have to drive ahead of the race with the team’s luggage and make sure that night’s hotel rooms are ready for when the riders and staff arrive. On race duty, she’ll spend the whole day in the car, driving from spot to spot on the course to give the riders bottles and musettes, before rushing to the finish to greet our riders with dry clothes, food, and drink. Then, there’s the drive to the next hotel, which can often take a couple of hours. As soon as the riders get there, they will come to Soso for their massages. At most races, Soso will look after two or three riders. She’ll rarely have time to sit down to dinner before ten. The next morning, her alarm will ring early, and it will be time to do it all again. The work can be exhausting. Soso is often on the road for 160 to 170 days per year, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She still loves bike racing.
“I like being a soigneur, because I love to travel and to connect with athletes and help them the best as I can,” she says.
Of course, Soso likes to get away from work sometimes. When she does have a free weekend at home in Girona, she’ll head to the Costa Brava to relax on the beach. During the off-season, she’ll head to her favourite island, Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean, for a few weeks to enjoy the sun and sea.
“I spend a lot of time there. Every time I can go, I try to get there. It’s good for my brain. That’s how I relax. That’s how I forget cycling,” she says.
But soon, the bike races start up again, and Soso wants to get back to look after her racers. She takes pride in being there for them. She cried when her friend Johan Vansummeren won Paris-Roubaix. Watching Thor Hushovd pull on the yellow jersey at the Tour is one the highlights of her career. She was happiest when Magnus Cort won his Tour de France stage this summer. But bike racing is a hard sport. And Soso will be there when our riders cross the line half an hour down at the top of cold, rainy mountain and will do her job with all of the care and professionalism she’d give them if they had won. Food, drink, dry clothes, and a pat on the back.
"Be who you are, have a bit of character, and you are good to go!"
“Soso always has really good energy and brings positive vibes,” says Esteban Chaves. “She cares for her riders a lot. I call her Mama Soso. She is like a mama and will hug you. She also brings out the best of you with her energy and the good vibes she has, and of course she is very professional. She has been in the game for a long time and she shares that experience with the riders and the personnel.”
Drive around a race paddock with Soso, and her prestige in the peloton shows. Riders and staff from every team in the peloton will come over to her window to say hello. They will ask her how she is doing. Soso will talk to them in English, French, or Spanish. She is still one of the few women working in professional cycling, but she has won everyone’s admiration. Riders, mechanics, directors, other soigneurs—they are her friends.
“Here you do your job and that’s it,” Soso says. “I’ve been here already for so long, and I don’t think that I’ve received any special treatment. Be who you are, have a bit of character, and you are good to go!”
We’re lucky to have her. Merci Soso!