The road to becoming a DS – Brett Lancaster, Zak Dempster, Tom Southam, Sam Bewley & Gregory Rast

Rapha presents Life in the Peloton

Have you ever wondered what it’s like behind the wheel at the world’s biggest bike races, what happens back there in the crazy, chaotic realm of the race convoy, and what it takes to become a Directeur Sportif?

Obviously, I’ve worked up close with DS’s throughout my career, but I’ve never been behind the wheel, and when I was asked to support a couple of riders at this year’s Aussie Road Nats, I realised I didn’t really know that much about what goes into the job of being a Directeur Sportif.

So, before I made my big debut as a DS – in the car supporting Brendan Johnston, and Simon Clarke – I needed to learn the ropes, quickly. Fortunately, I’ve got a bunch of Directors at various stages of their careers that I could call on to help me get up to speed before the big day. For this episode, I chatted with seasoned DS’s Brett Lancaster, Gregory Rast, Zak Dempster, and Tom Southam, as well as newly minted DS, Sam Bewley.

 As an ex-pro it was also a chance for me to ask some of the questions about being a DS that really bothered me during my career – like hey mate, don’t you remember what it’s like to be out here riding?! But also, it gave me a glimpse into how much work goes on behind the scenes, from the race prep, team communication, and logistics, to managing personalities, rosters, and team expectations, and I have to say (spoiler warning), it was a lot more than I expected.

I asked all the big questions – what kind of rider makes the best DS? Do you even have to have been a rider at all to become a DS? And crucially, do former pros turned DS’s remember how hard it is out there?! Some of the answers surprised me, but it was fascinating to learn from experience, and get behind the wheel myself and road-test my new skills.

I hope you enjoy the listen and learning about one of the behind-the-scenes aspects of pro cycling.




Listen & Subscribe to this series on the Life in the Peloton website, at Spotify, Apple PodcastsGooglePlayStitcherYoutube or your favourite pod app.

(or listen above)

This episode is brought to you by Rapha, makers of the world’s finest cycling clothing & accessories and the world’s largest cycling club, RCC. Find out more about Rapha: their kit, their club, their events, and awesome clubhouses at

. . .

This episode is supported by our friends at Athletic Greens.

Keep in touch

Find all our episodes, LITP news and merch on our website

Listen to our short spin-off series Talking Luft presented by Rapha.

Follow us on socials:

Instagram: @lifeinthepeloton

Twitter: @lifeinthepelo


Shop LITP casual Merch anytime online at our store. New season merch is launching soon for 2023!

Theme Music

The theme music for Life in the Peloton was composed by Pete Shelley, who was lead singer of the punk band Buzzcocks. It was commissioned by the production company behind Channel 4’s coverage of the Tour de France in the 1980s and was used as the theme music for the nightly highlights show. Pete died in December 2018. We were given permission by Pete’s widow and his manager to continue using the music for the theme tune to Life in the Peloton. To hear more about the music, listen to the Andre Greipel episode of Life in the Peloton.


Sign up to Life in the Peloton email updates to get the latest episodes and merch news straight to your inbox.

Released: March 1, 2023