Kristen Faulkner on Strade Bianche DSQ: ‘There was no performance advantage’ in unconnected glucose monitor

Jayco-AlUla rider urges the UCI to change its rules after it disqualified her podium performance.

Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

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Kristen Faulkner said she gained “no performance advantage” while wearing a continuous glucose monitor during Strade Bianche after the UCI disqualified her from a gritty, breakout third-place podium ride.

In a statement on social media Wednesday evening, Faulkner said that she thought it would be OK to wear one — despite it being banned in competition by cycling’s governing body — as it was not connected to a device or giving any live data.

“My intent was not to violate any rules or gain an unfair advantage,” Faulkner said. “I am proud of how I raced Strade Bianche and I am extremely disappointed in the UCI’s decision. I also hope that one day glucose monitors are allowed in racing.

“I believe they are a valuable tool for athletes — especially for women — to take care of our physical health, though this is a conversation for another time.”

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Faulkner rode to third place at Strade Bianche after fending off the peloton until the final kilometer in a long, solo breakaway. The Alaskan was called up to race at the Italian event just days before.

Pictures published after the race revealed the Alaskan with a circular bulge under her jersey sleeve and the UCI launched an investigation, determining that it was a banned glucose monitor.

“The UCI notified me that I am disqualified from Strade Bianche for wearing a SuperSapiens glucose monitor during the race. I support a fair environment for all athletes and appreciate the UCI putting in the time and effort to uphold professional standards,” she said.

“I have never used glucose data in competition, which I provided ample evidence of to the UCI,” she said. “I complied with all the UCI requests and sent them an honest, detailed explanation with evidence that no race data was ever transmitted during or after the race.

“I was under the impression that I could race with my device if it did not record any data because there was no performance advantage whatsoever. The UCI holds the position that wearing a non-connected patch itself — even if there is no transmission of data and no performance advantage — is enough to disqualify me.”

Continuous glucose monitors monitor blood sugar levels in real-time and are primarily used by people with diabetes to keep track of their levels at any given moment via a smartphone or other device. However, they’re being increasingly used in cycling as a way to guide riders with their fuelling during a ride.

Currently, the monitors are banned in competition without a therapeutic use exemption and can only be used during training.

Faulkner said she was “disappointed” with the result and she hoped the UCI would change its stance on glucose monitors in the future.

“I look forward to the rest of the season and I hope that Strade Bianche is one of many WorldTour podiums to come.”

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