Chris Froome: More data brings more danger to modern racing

Tour de France champ discusses how better knowledge of race-routes increases intensity of fight for position at dangerous moments.

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Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech) raised his concerns about the dangers inherent to the rising “datafication” of modern racing this week.

Speaking in a sponsor video for Quad Lock, Froome outlined how he feels the increased use of mapping technology in team cars combined with radio communications promotes a fight for position in the peloton that raises the pace and increases risk.

“Apps like VeloViewer tells them in the car what corners are coming, how wide the road is, they can click on the map and see what the road looks like. We’ve got this abundance of data coming through to us about conditions for the road coming up, so everyone knows what to expect so you get a huge fight for position,” Froome said in the video.

“It’s the only sport where someone says to you, ‘right guys, you’re going through this narrow dangerous little village coming up, the road’s really tiny and there’s a small bridge with a corner straight after,’ and we go faster, because you want to be the ones to get there first. You know if you’re at the back, you’re going to be stuck in a backlog trying to get through this pinch-point.

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“It’s probably the only sport where someone tells you there’s danger up ahead and the pace lifts and everyone starts fighting for position to get there first. I think racing has, as a result of that, become more dangerous … Through having more data it’s basically made the race more dangerous.

“Previously we wouldn’t have known necessarily that each pinch point was there and there wouldn’t have been this massive scurry for position trying to get to the front first. We’d have just got there and all been more relaxed and got through it with no issues.”

Froome, who also partners Hammerhead GPS units and Supersapiens glucose monitors, also spoke to Quad Lock about how power meters totally redefined racing and training through the course of his career.

The multiple grand tour champ has been active in using his own YouTube channel to share his thoughts on the sport, and recently pondered the safety of TT bikes and the inclusion of gravel in road racing.

Froome also revealed in the partner video this week that he’s back to full training after a recent tendon injury and is hoping to debut his season this month.

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