Martine Cazillac’s day-to-day role is based at the UPR (Unité Pilotage Réseau – Network Control Unit) in South West France, where she is in charge of training. For the past 5 years, she has also been the project leader for the Tour de France within the Orange Events team, for the Languedoc Roussillon region. Find out more about a woman working in a man’s world.
What is your role on the Tour de France?
It’s my role to ensure that the Orange Events technical team has all the necessary resources in place to access high-speed broadband in the technical area, the media area, and the various intermediate points where we also provide services, from analog to high-speed broadband. When the technical team arrives at my location, they can therefore get connected, and have all their equipment up and running in no time.
What kind of equipment is used?
We have 4 DSLAMs in the technical area, intermediate points along the race route – such as at a sprint point, a stage point, and a point for Europe 1 radio broadcasts. I was also hard at work in the start town of Limoux, where I made sure that lines were available for the ASO (N.B. The Amaury Sport Organisation organizes the Tour de France), Orange and France Télévisions so that they could make their broadcasts – and everything seemed to work well!
What’s it like being a woman in a team of 40 men?
It’s fun! There’s a great atmosphere, the guys are very friendly and everyone helps each other out. It’s particularly stressful in the lead-up to the Tour and before each day’s stage finishes.
How much time have you spent preparing for this project?
We begin almost a year ahead of the event. It all starts on the day the ASO announces the route for the race. From there, Henri Terreaux visits each region to identify locations along with the ASO. We then know where each stage will finish and so we can begin to work out which technical resources will be available to us, but sometimes there isn’t anything in place and so we have to start from scratch: installing broadband, organizing routings, etc. We also have to put together a team to work on location, to work out where to station technicians, which technologies they are going to use and to identify all the materials required so that there are no problems on the day. With so much to do, you can see why we need to work a year in advance.
What skills are required to manage such a project?
It’s important to have technical skills and be good at project management. I didn’t study technical skills initially, I learnt them later on.
How long have you been working as a project leader on the Tour de France?
It’s been five years and I’ve enjoyed it more and more with each event. I’ve got to know lots of people and the technology is constantly evolving. It’s therefore important to stay up to date with the latest developments, to identify which equipment will be the most effective and suitable for the Tour de France to ensure that the service provided by our network improves each year. This also means that I continue to learn and develop my skills at the same time.
Have you always been a fan of cycling?
I’ve become a fan since working on the Tour de France, and now I know a lot about the teams and riders.
Who is your favorite rider this year?
I really like Thomas Voeckler, he’s a great rider and a Frenchman, too. It’s important to support the riders from your own country!