Whale song: Team Sky’s newest marginal gain?

The British WorldTour team are reportedly utilising the calming sounds as the latest way to make gains over their rivals

Team Sky has hailed what it hopes will be its latest marginal gain ahead of this weekend’s Tour of Flanders: whale song.

Starting April 1, ahead of this weekend’s Belgian cobbled classic, the British WorldTour team will play whale song on the team bus before the race with the aim of helping riders relax and focus before the flag drops.

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“Staying cool and calm before stressful one-day races such as the Tour of Flanders is crucial to optimizing performance and getting the best out of the riders,” a source at the team said.

“Team Sky is all about finding that crucial winning edge, and we see this as the latest acoustic marginal gain for our performance-driven philosophy.”

The music has already made a splash with the team during races this season. Defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome’s favourite track is reportedly the call of the humpback whale, while other team favourites include the minke whale and grey whale.

One rider told Cycling Weekly: “The two hour period before a race is one of the most nervous and tense moments of a pro-cyclist’s season.

“I just find that the beautiful arrangements of wails, squeaks and clicks is exactly what I need to get in the zone ahead of an important race and make sure that I am not inhibiting my performance by wasting crucial energy.”

Team Sky is well known for pioneering the concept of marginal gains: searching for small improvements in equipment, technique and behaviour which, when aggregated, deliver considerable performance benefits.

Custom-made bedding, redesigned team buses, intense high-altitude training and even in-race motorhomes have been trialled by the team in the quest for the edge over the competition.

‘Songs of the Humpback Whale,’ the seminal 1970 whale song album produced by American environmentalist Roger Payne, will soon be added to the Team Sky Spotify playlist alongside artists such as Last Shadow Puppets, Missy Elliott and David Bowie.