The UCI are on a roll. This year they’ve banned the supertuck, the use of the “puppy paws” phantom aero bar position, then the throwing of bottles in races, then tiny little aero shaped axle covers on time trial front wheels, and now…
…they’ve banned the use of blood glucose monitors in racing.
So what are bloody glucose monitors? Essentially, they’re a small wireless device that is attached to the arm, sending real-time data on the athlete’s blood sugar levels. Knowing these values in real-time can give the athlete (or team DS back in the car) information on when a rider may be flagging and need to eat or how much further they can push on at their current pace/power. This data can also be analysed afterwards to track when and where a rider’s energy levels dropped too far during a race or training ride (or even just during a rest day).
Sky Ineos Grenadiers use blood glucose monitors, as do a handful of others. They can also be very useful for riders who need to monitor blood glucose, such as diabetic riders. It’s important to note that this ban is just for the use of the monitors while racing, they can still be used daily in training.
Sure, many purists will be quite happy with this ban. These same old schoolers also rue the use of powermeters and race radios and basically any tech invented since their hero Eddy Merckx graced the roads of Europe. Me? I’m all for new tech, pushing boundaries and think this piece of technology could be very interesting!
It’ll come as no surprise that Ironman Triathlon – a company/sport that embraces new tech – will not only be allowing the use of blood glucose monitors during races, but are actually partnering with Supersapiens, the company that builds and supplies the monitors for the big cycling teams!
Imagine on a long, fast ride being able to set an alert on your Garmin for when your blood glucose drops below a certain value, knowing that you need to fuel by a certain amount at that time (you can see the triathlon performance benefits here). Yes, you could just eat little and often, but tech like this could actually be a legitimate way to boost performance and endurance levels, while giving you information on how your body reacts to fuelling – both on and off the bike!
I am a performance data geek at heart, so I would actually LOVE to try something like this. Luckily the UCI rules don’t govern my life.