Why Kristen Faulkner might be stripped of third place at Strade Bianche
Images of Alaskan ace wearing what could be a glucose monitor at Strade resurfaces the debate over the use of the devices during competition.
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What appears to be an errant continuous glucose monitor could cost Kristen Faulkner a significant line on her palmarès.
Faulkner could be stripped of her sensational third-place finish in Strade Bianche Donne after images emerged of the Alaskan ace wearing what might be a blood sugar tracker during the race into Siena.
The UCI currently mandates against the use of the increasingly popular monitors that help forecast sugar lows and can inform dietary and fueling strategies.
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“The UCI has been made aware that Kristen Faulkner appears to have been wearing a continuous blood glucose monitor during the Italian UCI Women’s WorldTour event Strade Bianche,” a UCI spokesperson told Cycling Weekly.
“The UCI is currently examining the case and considering applicable procedures and potential consequences.”
The use of CGM devices for training and daily activity currently has the green light from the UCI.
The distinctive patch of the leading Supersapiens brand can be spotted on the arms of out-of-competition male and female riders, as well as athletes from all ends of the sporting spectrum.
Racers from Jumbo-Visma, Canyon-SRAM, and Ineos Grenadiers are among the many that relish the benefits a sugar tracker can bring in helping smooth blood sugar spikes and optimize feeding strategies.
Insiders in the burgeoning glucose monitor industry have long pushed back against the ban on in-race usage.
“To me, the simplest reason they’re banned is lack of understanding and education,” Supersapiens chief Phil Southerland told VeloNews.
“At the end of the day, people want to see the best athletes competing against each other,” Southerland added. “They don’t want to see Julian Alaphilippe attacking and then Wout van Aert has no gas in the tank so he can’t follow.”
Also read: Inside the push to bring glucose monitors into the pro peloton
It’s still not clear if Faulkner, who counts stage wins at Giro Donne and Tour of Norway on her results sheet, was wearing a CGM device when she barnstormed toward another headline result in Tuscany.
The Alaskan has not yet issued a statement after she was spotted wearing something on her arm during the race and podium ceremony last weekend.
For now, Faulkner’s Jayco-AlUla team is holding out and hoping for the best while the UCI does its thing.
“We are waiting for the UCI to analyze the situation and we can then make an official statement about it,” the Jayco team told VeloNews this weekend.
Faulkner could be handed a DQ by the governing body in the coming weeks. But the wider debate about using CGM during pro racing likely won’t go away any time soon.