Chris Froome joins Supersapiens as technical advisor and investor - despite UCI ban on glucose trackers
Four-time Tour winner steps up involvement with the controversial Supersapiens energy management system which is no longer allowed in competition
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Supersapiens has announced that Chris Froome has joined as a technical advisor and investor.
The US company, whose energy management system is used by pro teams including Ineos Grenadiers and Jumbo Visma - with Froome himself an early adopter - says the four-time Tour de France winner will be featured in Supersapiens marketing as a “premier example for how the system and powerful data analysis tools help athletes discover endless energy and go faster longer.”
The news comes just weeks after it was announced that Froome will invest in Factor, his team bike sponsor at Israel Start-Up Nation.
Announcing the partnership with Froome, CEO and founder of Supersapiens Phil Southerland said: “We’re excited to welcome Chris to the Supersapiens team. His on-bike results speak for themselves – as does his tireless determination to extract the maximum performance from himself. Chris has been an early super-user of Supersapiens, and his feedback has been invaluable in optimizing the system. Having someone of Chris’s calibre using, validating, and helping develop Supersapiens is a great honour.”
Froome, whose 2018 victory at the Giro d’Italia famously involved an innovative fuelling strategy, said: “I’m proud to be joining Phil and his team at Supersapiens. I’m constantly searching for improved performance from myself and my equipment. I’m looking forward to playing my part in bringing Supersapiens to performance athletes of all levels in cycling and beyond. It’s great to be part of something so genuinely game-changing.”
Supersapiens’s partnership with global healthcare company Abbott makes the brand the only energy management system that directly integrates with a Bluetooth-enabled sport CGM (continuous glucose monitor) - the Abbott Libre Sense, and it’s this that makes Supersapiens integrated seamlessly with cyclists’ other training data. Real-time glucose levels can be transmitted directly to smart phones, Supersapiens wearables, certain Garmin bike computers and smartwatches, with additional insights through integrations with TrainingPeaks and Apple Health.
However - and it’s a big however - in June the UCI banned “sensors that monitor 'physiological data, including any metabolic values such as but not limited to glucose or lactate' from races.”
In an interview with Cycling Weekly, UCI innovations manager Mick Rogers listed potential financial inequality for young riders unable to afford the tech, formulaic 'Formula One' style racing, data-driven riding preventing young riders from learning how and when to eat, and worries over data security as some of the reasons behind the ban.
Meanwhile, Southerland said: “I feel [banning this technology is] a step backward in the sport when we need to take a step forward in the health and welfare of riders. We’ve seen outrage from team physicians [following the ban].”
Glucose tracking sensors can still be used in training, however, and clearly the ban from racing hasn’t deterred Froome or Supersapiens.
In May Froome announced he was investing in Hammerhead, the manufacturer of the Karoo 2 bike computer, prompting speculation that he was preparing for his retirement.
Although his Tour de France campaign was below par and he missed the Vuelta, Froome has not yet announced any plans to take a step back from the WorldTour.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
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