Ambulance manager Yannick Raimbault helped keep the wheels turning smoothly during the Tour de France.
The North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) resilience manager was on hand when the Tour made its Grand Depart through Yorkshire this month.
But it wasn’t his first time helping out at the cycling event - he previously worked on Le Tour in his native Nantes in France, and his father twice took part in the event back in the 1960s.
Yannick, 42, of Ellington in Northumberland, was sent to Yorkshire to assist the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS), who worked with event organisers to plan medical support.
He was embedded within the Tour de France planning team through months of intricate preparation, ensuring the safety of spectators and riders.
And his past experience came in handy - for example Yannick knew that spectators tended to congregate en masse in rural areas because of the idyllic settings.
His predictions were accurate as at one point nearly 60,000 people watched the race along the winding roads of the Yorkshire Moors.
Yannick, who has been with NEAS for 13 years and is normally based with the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) in Monkton in South Tyneside, said: “All of the thorough planning by everyone involved and team work really paid off, as the figures have shown that our intervention significantly reduced the impact on the NHS during the Tour de France.
“The successful roll-out of the whole operation was tantamount to people trusting our judgement.
“The distribution of appropriate medical care to particular areas of the route was justified in the number of patients we effectively treated during Le Tour.
“All of the challenges and levels of expectation were achieved through the specialist clinical and paramedic skills that were available to us.
“YAS, NEAS, North West Ambulance Service and East Midlands Ambulance Service and their partners should be proud of the high level of patient care that was accomplished during this world class event.”
Yannick worked with YAS colleagues and Tour de France Hub 2014 Ltd to map out potential route decisions and judge where to best assign the medical support.
Yannick also worked extensively with local authorities, and helped write and deliver the tactical and operational medical plan, coordinating private medical providers that would be used during Le Tour.
The UK leg of the famous cycling road race started on July 5 in Leeds, and the event continues through France until July 27 with the riders completing 21 stages.
NEAS provided nearly 30 staff for the Yorkshire leg, including four mountain bike paramedics, three ambulances and their crews, and other emergency vehicles. All staff involved were off-duty and volunteering their time.
Yannick added: “The feedback we’ve received from NEAS staff who took part in the Tour de France has been excellent. They thought it was a privilege to work at such a prestigious event, and to help keep the massive crowds safe.”
Ian Walton, associate director of resilience and special services at YAS, said Yannick has been a great asset to the planning team.
“His focus in supporting the delivery of the medical provision for the race itself has been excellent,” he said.
“Our planning team will miss him on his return to NEAS but I hope this leads to greater partnership working with them in the future and I would like to express my personal thanks to Yannick and all his NEAS colleagues who came to Yorkshire and helped to make the event such a great a success.”
During the Yorkshire stage of Le Tour, 584 people in the crowd were treated by YAS and hub medical teams. Only 43 needed to go to hospital for further treatment.