Team Sky has ended its long-term and high-profile association with SRM power meters, swapping to the Stages Power system for 2014.
SRM power cranks and handlebar units have been a prominent feature of Team Sky riders since the team began in 2010. Sky have made no secret of its use of rider power output data for training and racing, which hasn’t always pleased their rivals. Vincenzo Nibali famously suggested banning power meters from racing after his Tirreno Adriatico win last year, where he overhauled Sky’s Chris Froome.
Stages – based in Boulder, Colorado – uses a very different set-up to SRM, with power output being read from the left-hand (non-drive) side crank only on a small, lightweight unit attached to the inside of a Shimano Dura-Ace crank arm. The unit transmits data via Bluetooth and Ant+ protocols, and can be received by any compatible device such as the Garmin Edge range of GPS units rather than a bespoke head unit. Sky has not confirmed how the riders will view the data.
Team Sky performance coach Tim Kerrison, the man widely lauded as being a key player behind both Bradley Wiggins’ and Chris Froome’s Tour de France wins, commented: “As a team, we see the power meter as a very useful tool. The results that we get, both from training and racing, help us to quantify how our riders are performing, which then allows us to make informed coaching decisions.
“Stages have worked hard to develop a high quality product that is extremely lightweight, reliable and simple to use whilst retaining the precision and accuracy that we require at Team Sky. We welcome Stages as a technical partner for 2014 and look forward to continuing to develop and improve our performances on the road, informed by the data generated by the Stages power meters.”
One issue that Sky may have to deal with is collecting a new set of base level readings from which to build a picture of each rider’s performance, as the data collected by the Power units is similar but not identical to SRMs. For one, the data output by the left-hand Stages crank is doubled to give a power figure, whereas SRMs give an overall figure – we found the difference between Stages Power and another system to be around 20 watts. Long-term users of the Stages system have verified that it is reliable and gives consistent results over a range of temperatures.