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Could on-bike testing give Peter Sagan the edge this season?

Jack Elton-Walters
19 Mar 2018

Inscyd allows riders to be tested on the road, avoiding labs, for more real-world metrics to improve their training and racing

With big ambitions for 2018, including a Monument win, the Green Jersey at the Tour de France and a top-five finish on General Classification at a Grand Tour, Bora-Hansgrohe are looking to be one of the best teams on the WorldTour. Centred around World Champion Peter Sagan, the riders and staff are looking for innovative new ways to get ahead of their rivals.

The latest way has been by getting Inscyd on board. Based on the video, above, it sounds like that's a play on the word 'insight', despite the spelling.

The system is already present in swimming and triathlon and so 'its use at the highest level in cycling it’s a natural step of its evolution', according to Greg Hillson, spokesperson of Inscyd.

Inscyd is aiming to bring real-world testing to riders to save them the hassle of visiting a lab, plus give more accurate data based on more natural racing scenarios with riders on their own bikes.

'For a professional cycling team the ability to obtain highly accurate and holistic performance assessments on a regular basis is crucial,' Hillson adds.

'Visiting labs during the season isn’t applicable, nor does it really reflects real world performances.

'Inscyd offers a precise testing results on field, without the hassle of visiting a sport lab.'

Despite the rise of platforms such as Zwift, a bulk of riders still prefer to actually ride their bikes outside. Sagan is very much in this camp and so welcomes his team working with Inscyd.

'Of course I prefer to go outside,' Sagan says. 'In labs you can test a lot of things, but I think it’s more real if you can ride and being tested on your bike outside.'

However, he isn't quite the ideal candidate for this sort of physiological performance analysis as he likes to train and race on feel.

Even so, the rider admits the importance of using data to guide training.

'I like to train more following my feeling, but numbers can help to improve the performances and they give important information to the coaches.'

Inscyd is aiming to help Bora-Hansgrohe to monitor athletes’ training adaptions throughout the season and assist as they work towards their specific goals, whether that's winning a Monument or finishing top-five in a Grand Tour.

'Flanders is different from Roubaix and they’re both different from a Grand Tour,' says Lars Teutenberg, Bora-Hansgrohe’s Head of Performance.

'In order to train each rider to his specific needs we need to know what his condition is. Inscyd tells us what their specific fitness levels are and what we need to tune for a specific goals.'

Staying on message with his team's new partner, Teutenberg adds, 'amateurs can also benefit from Inscyd, because they can do field tests whenever they’re ready and whenever they need to without going to a lab.'

With Sagan missing the winning move at Milan San-Remo, that saw Vincenzo Nibali ride away to the win, his next opportunity for a Monument victory will be the Tour of Flanders on Sunday 1st April and then Paris-Roubaix a week later on Sunday 8th April.

Inscyd: The lowdown

'Inscyd is a performance analysis software that gives coaches a holistic picture of their athletes’ metabolic profile,' the brand says.

'The software combines the most important physiological metrics in a unique, precise way: aerobic capacity, glycolytic capacity, anaerobic threshold, lactate accumulation and recovery, fat carbohydrates combustion, recovery , economy, buffering capacity and even creatine phosphate usage.'

Adding, 'Inscyd has the capacity to predict performances for specific training or races based on the physiological data of a real athlete or of virtual athletes.

'A coach can make virtual changes to individual physiological metrcis of his athlete (such as body compostion, buffering capacity, oxgen kinetics etc.) and calculate the effect on a specific and targeted races condition.'