Wahoo and EF Education sign multi-year hardware and software sponsorship deal
EF Education's men's and women's WorldTour teams to use entire Wahoo ecosystem from 2022
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Wahoo is to become the official training partner of EF Education-EasyPost and its counterpart in the women's WorldTour, EF Education-TIBCO–SVB.
The teams' multi-year contract with the US fitness tech company starts in 2022 and will give all EF athletes access to the complete Wahoo ecosystem for indoor and outdoor training, including the Wahoo Systm training app, Kickr (opens in new tab)smart indoor trainers (opens in new tab), Elemnt (opens in new tab) GPS bike computers, Tickr (opens in new tab)heart rate monitors, Speedplay pedals, and the Elemnt Rival multisport watch (opens in new tab).
This latest move by Wahoo will be regarded as lost ground recovered after WorldTour tech rival Garmin/Tacx last month announced that it was adding Ineos Grenadiers and Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl (opens in new tab)to its roster of exclusively sponsored pro teams. As Team Sky the British squad had used Wahoo Kickr indoor trainers since 2014.
However, the Wahoo deal with EF will be particularly sweet since Garmin was the team’s headline sponsor - and also its name - between 2008 and 2014.
Last year Wahoo got a foot in EF Education-Nippo's door with the relaunched Speedplay pedals, used by riders in the men’s team and now, as of this year, according to Wahoo’s press release, the whole team will use the “connected Wahoo ecosystem to optimise their race preparation, monitor their performance, and provide critical data during events.”
According to Wahoo, EF riders will be using its Systm 4DP and workout-personalisation platform, which is designed to allow both athletes and coaches to get “a comprehensive picture of strengths and weaknesses while tailoring workouts to their unique power profile.”
The team is also to partner with Wahoo to create special training content that will be exclusively available to Systm users through the Systm app.
Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of EF Education-EasyPost said: “Like EF Education-EasyPost, Wahoo has never been afraid to take chances and innovate. From their industry-disrupting Kickr smart trainers and the Elemnt family of cycling computers to their reinvigoration of the Speedplay pedal system, Wahoo knows that you have to take risks if you want to make the podium. Their products are intuitive and user-friendly while meeting the demands of a top level racing team — a perfect combination. We’re excited to deepen the partnership with Wahoo so we can continue to push the envelope, on and off the road.”
Wahoo CEO Mike Saturnia echoed the sentiment: “We’re honoured to expand our partnership with EF Education–Easypost and EF Education–TIBCO–SVB, two teams that share our values and our innovative spirit. Wahoo is the training ecosystem of choice for many professional cycling teams, but this is the first time we’ve been able to offer such a broad range of support to teams that not only represent the best of professional road racing, but who share Wahoo’s vision of a future for cycling that is accessible, inspiring, and inclusive. We can’t wait to see what these teams accomplish in 2022 and beyond.”
It might sound like the usual verbiage that accompanies all press releases but the fact is that the wraparound care for pro teams via ‘ecosystems’ that go from the humble heart rate monitor strap through power meters, turbo trainers and head units right up to VR training platforms is becoming the crucial battleground for the big fitness tech brands.
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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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