They 100% make an impact. Power meters are used for more than chasing down attacks. Pacing solo efforts, pulls on the front, when to let attacks go. Pushing over flatter sections. Correlation between power, HR and RPE will let riders know how they’re feeling, how much they should be eating.
Michal Mathew’s talked about letting bettiol pass him after his solo attack on stage 4 TDF knowing what kind of watts bettiol would have needed to close the gap, then calculating B wouldn’t have been able to sustain it (Mathew’s then repassed him for the win).
Jai hindley did a similar attack on the penultimate stage of the Giro with Carapaz on his tail. He rode to power to sustain the necessary gap.
Could they ride without power. Sure. But in the age of marginal gains they’re a necessity.
Every review I’ve read about these things seems to suggest that the live data while wearing it is the least beneficial part of the device. Blood sugar naturally drops when you go hard because your muscles are using up the sugar (or your liver is soaking it up to replenish itself) so the device isn’t going to tell you much.
They can already estimate how many kilojoules they will burn during a race and how much they should eat. They can set alarms on their bike computers to eat a gel every 15 minutes or whatever works.
I’m a little cynical of that SS press release…seems to me to be an attempt to divert attention away from the issue by talking about “women’s health” and the “uncomfortable” of menstrual cycles.
Let me clarify - I am not dismissing the idea of better study and understanding, and more importantly support, of women’s health. I absolutely do not subscribe to the idea that what works for men should also work for women, just “with less”.
But, in this case, if any athlete (male or female) needs to have their glucose monitored so closely that they can’t go 4 hours without seeing it, there are likely bigger health issues at play.
Moreover, if SS believed, based on data, prior to the event that there was a need for women to monitor their glucose levels that closely during their menstrual cycles, they should have raised it to the UCI long before this and laid out a case for why female cyclists should be allowed to use CGM in competition.
That makes sense. And to be clear myself, my “dumb rule” position is from the standpoint that they should be allowed to gather the data during races. Whether athletes/teams should be actively using the data during races (rather than studying it, or letting others study it, afterward) is a separate question that I don’t really have an opinion on.
Why was she wearing it if it wasn’t collecting data? What are the exact words the UCI uses? Does this thing collect data and store it for upload later or does it require a live phone connection to store it? I have a hard time understanding why she was wearing it if she wasn’t collecting data? Or is the confusion around live viewing of the data?
I feel like that press release for SS is BS and as a woman, kinda buggered that women’s menstrual cycles are being used as a defense for something like this. There’s a whole peloton of women and none of them (that we know of) are claiming they needed to record this for their cycles and health. Just a crappy statement IMO. Own it - you wanted the data. Don’t claim that women have some extra sensitive health need. Men also need glucose to survive and function etc. Besides, it’s a rule violation. Argue with the UCI that you want women to be able to monitor their “health” extra closely during a race for this reason if that’s the case you’re making. And really… all of the data on this that you could collect during training should suffice.
Also, as someone who works on medical devices… guessing SS either is a medical device or WOULD BE regulated as a medical device in some countries. That’s perhaps why it is banned in competition… athletes from countries that would regulate it wouldn’t be able to use it because they couldn’t get it legally in their home country. And would be very curious to see how any regulatory documents SS has aligns or don’t align with that ridiculous PR statement. Is it for health? Is it for performance improvement? Is it to “mitigate” eating disorders? Is it for menstrual cycle monitoring?
Why was she wearing it if not collecting data? Because the things are expensive. They last 14 days and cannot be reapplied if removed. Even with insurance, I pay $39 each. Why would she remove it if not necessary?
After a bit more googling…
Editing my comment to reflect even more googling…
The SS device which is the Abbott Glucose Sport Biosensor References and Disclaimers is not approved in the US.
Given this, I’m not at all surprised it is banned in competition for anyone who does not have a medical exemption (i.e. diabetes). Or similar devices are banned that may or may not be approved for diabetes use but are used by athletes without diabetes.
Medical devices and apps that render data from medical devices are regulated by individual government bodies. Approval of these devices is specific to the exact use case for the device - to monitor diabetes for example, but maybe not to treat it (without another device) and definitely not to diagnose diabetes, and not to provide performance enhancement during bicycle races or menstrual cycle monitoring BS. In the case of this device, it is intended for sport monitoring, not diabetes monitoring. I’m sure abbott has something similar that might actually be approved for diabetes monitoring… or perhaps they wanted this to be approved but it isn’t accurate enough? You can see that SS is not available in the US. This is is presumably because of regulatory hurdles. It would not be fair to allow some competitors to use a device that is not regulated in their country (or is regulated and approved) while other riders cannot access that device due to country-specific regulations. UCI would be inviting a bit of a regulatory nightmare IMO. Obviously drug treatments face similar issues (regulations vary by country), but these are deemed medically necessary for competition and are typically banned otherwise.
I would love to know how that press release aligns with the approved use of the devices :).
That doesn’t mean that the regulatory issues don’t factor into why they are unauthorized. Any device capturing physiological data is likely to trigger FDA and similar regulations which are going to vary by country and give some teams unfair advantage, or push some teams to do things that are unsafe (use unregulated devices). There are certainly other reasons why it’s probably not fair to do this… such as forcing athletes to undergo additional invasive monitoring (on top of plenty of already invasive monitoring) they don’t want to feel forced into.
I don’t think there is anything to indicate the UCI was worried about giving some athletes an advantage…and the very wording of the ruling indicates that they wanted to prevent devices that read metabolic data.
The UCI is a an extremely conservative organization and their history is littered with examples of them simply banning things because they either don’t like them or because they don’t understadn them.
When taken in the overall view of the UCI’s history, I think it is pretty clear why they banned this new tech…and accessibility is not likely it. There are plenty of devices and medicines out there right now that are not allowed in some countries but can be found in others.
As a professor of OB/GYN with a research focus, I agree the SS statement is useless and post-hoc justification. Questions about whether there is benefit to monitoring during training, during competition, whether there are differences between men and women, whether there are observable differences across the cycle or effects of different contraceptive methods are all interesting, but, as others have said, not the issue. My take, which may admittedly be a little biased by my general admiration for Kristen Faulkner, is
–She was wearing the monitor for training
–She was a last-minute replacement for the race–I haven’t seen anything about how much notice she had–and the monitor was placed and data collection started under the assumption she wouldn’t be racing
–There was a long-term plan to use the training data in some way
–Either they decided that removing the monitor and putting in a new one after the race was too much of a hassle/expense (which would make more sense if it was fully implantable, which I don’t think this one was), or that the opportunity to collect (but not analyze in real-time) data during the race was too good to pass up.
–There was a good faith belief that not using the data during the race was consistent with the spirit of the law, which led to motivated reasoning that there was no need to confirm with UCI
–Regardless, it violated the letter of the law and they did the right thing by quickly accepting the DSQ.
Rider has some responsibility, but really think most of the blame lies on the team