When it comes to the massive logistical challenge that is transporting a team and all their cycling gear across 21 stages and four countries for the 2022 Tour de France, one perhaps unexpected bit of gear is their smart trainers. Each team brings a slate of trainers with them, and in some cases, multiple types of trainers – and often enough for all riders, depending on the year/stages.
That was certainly the case this past weekend at the Tour de France when the opening stage was an individual time trial, as it often is. That means that each rider typically warms up on a smart trainer ahead of that stage for perhaps 25-40 minutes, before competing the relatively short 13KM stage. This will play out again later in the Tour de France on the 2nd to last stage, where a much longer 40.7km individual time trial is set to happen. There are no team time trials this year (unfortunately, they make for spectacular photos).
As is often the case for many years, I’ve outlined which trainers and power meters each team uses, as well as lots of interesting little trainer tidbits along the way. For this post, we’ve got the trainers up first. I’m skipping the bike power meters on today’s post, because power meters on time trial bikes are very often different than those on the road bikes they use for the rest of the Tour (which accounts for like 99% of the mileage). Same goes for bike computers and such. More on that later.
Team Trainer Listing:
Now, the best way to enjoy this post is actually the video above, namely because I go to almost every team and check out what’s going on as riders warm up ahead of the stage. But, if you want the boring way, here’s a list of which trainers they’re using. But first, the obligatory reminder that *ALL* of these teams have trainer sponsorships in place. Meaning, every single one of these is paid to ride these trainers. The rough pricing ballpark for such an arrangement in 2022 is about $100K/year, but that can sometimes include extra accessories, depending on which trainer company is supplying it. In any case, here’s the list:
– B&B Hotels–KTM
– Team DSM (also Elite Qubo spotted)
– UAE Team Emirates
– AG2R Citroën Team
– Bahrain Victorious
– Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux
– Israel–Premier Tech
– Movistar Team
– Astana Qazaqstan
– Ineos Grenadiers
– Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
– EF Education–EasyPost
– Trek–Segafredo (also Wahoo ROLLR spotted)
Now, for those that want to do supplier/sponsor count, they are as follows:
Elite: 11 teams
Tacx: 7 teams
Wahoo: 4 teams
This is roughly consistent with what we’ve seen over the last few years. Elite has basically maintained their partnerships, while Tacx has decreased slightly under Garmin (but Garmin themselves has increased for accessories), and Wahoo has slightly increased over the last few years. Saris doesn’t sponsor any men’s teams this year, and even when they did, it was usually only a single team (Trek-Segafredo).
Most times, the Tacx & Elite sponsorships also include bottles. And most times, the Wahoo sponsorships also include bike computers/chest straps/other indoor gear/etc… The Garmin sponsorships tend to include bike computers, watches, sensor accessories, trainers, Varia radar, and weight scales. Garmin specifically has two options of sponsorship, which basically is Garmin only, or Garmin + Tacx. Generally speaking, Garmin power meters are not included here, since Shimano/SRAM tends to cover most of the Peloton via drivetrains, and further, that gets into rider pedal preferences. But, more on power meters and such in a different post.
Now, finally, here’s a fun gallery of all sorts of team trainers:
Since for this piece I was actually more focused on video, I spent most of my time trying to get video shots of all of them rather than still shots. Ideally I’d have had still and video shots of everything, but with the dumping rains, it was a never-ending battle to keep the multiple camera lenses halfway viable.
Fun Odds and Ends:
As noted in the video in more detail, you’ll notice a Wahoo ROLLR being used by team Trek-Segafredo. This isn’t surprising, as a time trial stage is literally the single best example of where a Wahoo ROLLR makes sense. It allows the rider to warm up till the last second on a bike without removing the rear wheel. While these mechanics can obviously swap out a rear wheel in mere seconds, it’s one less hassle.
And then over at Team DSM, they were rocking an Elite Qubo trainer, which was being used for cool-downs, merely because it was easier to deal with and didn’t require power. I had a chat with one of the Team DSM staff folks about it in the video as well.
And at TotalEnergies-Cyclists, they even went to the trouble of installing the Tacx NEO Motion Plates:
Also of note is that I saw many teams using cooling vests while on the trainers (they aren’t allowed in competition). This was somewhat surprising to me given that the opening stage was hardly that warm (roughly room temp), and also very short (only 13km). Just as I was pondering that thought while watching a Jumbo-Visma rider with a cooling vest, the CORE temperature folks literally stumbled into me. So, I asked them what was up. They explained that it actually does make a meaningful difference to move the needle even half a degree here, but for the most part, the use of the cooling vests here on this stage was more about getting riders used to the timing/protocol at the race.
Of note, 7 teams in the Tour de France this year are officially using CORE sensors (meaning, officially announced CORE as a supplier/partner). Though unofficially, almost every team (or riders from almost every team) this year is actually using them in either training or racing.
And then finally, there was this random just-announced and yet now lonely Elite Justo trainer near the finish chute area (which is very far from the start area). It sat just aside an inflatable couch, on the edge of a puddle that was undoubtedly far larger a short time earlier. I’m not sure why this trainer was here, or if it was ever used. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s still there, days later, sitting next to that mud puddle. Someone should have stuck an AirTag on that thing.
With that – onto more tech down the road in more stages. Plenty still to be had! Thanks for reading, and thanks to all the DCR readers/viewers who said Hi up in Copenhagen – it was awesome to run into so many of you!
“Each time brings a slate of trainers with them”
I suppose you wanted yo say “each team”? Not 100% sure as I’m not a native english speaker…
I suppose each time isn’t entirely incorrect in the greater context, but yes, meant each team. 🙂
Garmin supplies Varia radar? I assume that’s just for training, or is there actually a use case during the race? And speaking of sensors, any sign of those blood sugar patches? I assume they’re forbidden during the race since they’re slightly invasive (“now with EPO!”)?
Training, yeah. Here’s the press release bits related to this, that I received back in January when they announced all their teams for 2022. Note, this was announced prior to the Fenix 7/FR955/etc.. announcing, thus, why they’d have said FR945LTE/etc.
Representing Garmin and Tacx in races around the world, the sponsored cycling teams and athletes
will be equipped with top-of-the-line products, including:
• Forerunner® running watches, like the premium Forerunner 945 LTE, not only track a run or
ride, but will also monitor stats, crunch the numbers and offer detailed insights into an athlete’s
performance, training history, goals and more.
• Edge® cycling computers, including the Edge 530, Edge 830 and Edge 1030 Plus provide
performance data and metrics to cyclists, as well as GPS and navigational support.
• The powerful and intuitive Tacx NEO 2T Smart indoor cycling trainer measures data within 1%
and is known for its unique features including road feel, dynamic inertia and descent simulation,
making training feel more lifelike.
• During training, the Varia™ RTL515 rearview radar warns of vehicles approaching from behind,
while a tail light brightens and flashes to alert drivers of a cyclist ahead.
• The Index™ S2 Smart Scale provides athletes with key training biometrics, including body
weight, BMI and body composition.
• Premium Tacx water bottles and slim, lightweight Ciro bottle cages help keep cyclists hydrated
during training and racing.
This article confirms that Saris and Kurt Kinetic don’t have enough cash to sponsor professional teams. The best option for Saris is an integration with Trek-Bontrager.
Well, in the case of Kinetic, they were sold off entirely and no longer exist as a company in the US (aside from a single person handling minor stuff).
And as for Saris, they’ve never really meaningfully sponsored TdF teams, only ever really sponsoring a single team (Trek–Segafredo).
That said, I do agree a Trek integration of Saris makes a ton of sense. However, one substantial challenge with that is sales challenges. Trek has historically sold through very limited sales channels, which simply doesn’t work for smart trainers given people’s desire to buy them at a million online outlets.
That sell off to Magene was done very stealthy…. there were observations of rebranded trainers from the FCC filings but not much more.
just noticed a reference to Kinetics plight in the previous post:
link to dcrainmaker.com
sad news, the road machine was a good trainer for its time, but the experience with inride v2 on android was one of the worst I have experienced for a released product with an accompanying app.
Kind of surprised that Garmin hasn’t acquired Core yet. I have one and, while the hardware is good, the software remains really clunky (even with a new app). This would be something beyond the usual metrics that Garmin could add, and I assume the cost would be relatively marginal for Garmin.
I totally agree. This seems like a picture-perfect acquisition, especially with probably relatively straightforward integration into a chest strap, which would likely be an easy up-sell.
And had Garmin been perhaps waiting on a more (or more recent) independent/peer-reviewed studies from a science standpoint, this one just dropped two weeks ago: link to mdpi.com
From some of the podcasts I’ve heard it sounds like core is working with a bunch of hardware manufacturers to build their sensors into products. Garmin buyout might have a huge impact on those plans.
As to integration into devices I wonder how cheap the sensor is. In that being built into a hr strap means it can share battery, cpu, wireless hardware so should be possible to be much cheaper than two individual units.
I know nothing about running a business, but I can’t imagine Garmin paying a licensing fee to Core. And I’d have to think that the value of being acquired by Garmin far exceeds what Core can make off of licensing deals with the other fitness tech companies. But happy to be corrected if I’m wrong about any of that, and perhaps there’s more to this than the dollars to be made.
They have been paying licensee fee for Firstbeat algorithms for years until they acquired them. It is not about money, just about the added value and how they can differentiate from their competitors.
No sign of a Tacx Neo 3 …yet ?
I don’t know why they wouldn’t all use Tacx trainers given it’s the only one that can be controlled as a smart trainer even without being plugged in.
Umm, because they are sponsored by companies that manufacture other trainers.
Could they be using the rollR before the TT to warm up the rear tyre before the race, given it was so short and wet?
I know it’s not f1, but surely warm tyres help with friction and not crashing?
While rubber is a good insulator, I can’t imagine something as thin as a (TT) bike tire retaining much heat in the several minutes it takes to get off the trainer, get over to the starting house, wait for the count down, etc.
F1 uses thicker tires, and even use heated blankets to retain tire heat.
One look at the 1st photo, and I immediately started googling for “Wahoo Kickr skins”.
This, I want to know more about.