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Canadian touch gives Arkéa-Samsic marginal gains for the 2020 season

UQTR researchers work on performance optimization with the pro cycling team

If Nairo Quintana winds up on the podium this summer, he may have a Canadian connection to thank. The Laboratory of Technology and Innovation for Sports Performance (L-TIPS) at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) recently collaborated with pro cycling team Arkéa-Samsic to optimize their performance in the 2020 season.

Marie-Claude Ayotte, Yvon Ledanois, sport director of the Arkéa-Samsic cycling team, and Nairo Quintana.

The L-TIPS team, Frédéric Domingue, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Marie-Claude Ayotte, a research assistant and master’s candidate in exercise science, worked with Arkéa-Samsic riders such as Nairo Quintana and Warren Barguil. Their research was focused on optimizing performance in order to obtain marginal gains. This type of optimization is particularly relevant to time trial events, in which the smallest of details can make a difference in the results.

The UQTR team’s work with Arkéa-Samsic aims to optimize power/aerodynamics, and to maximize pedaling efficiency and power transfer. Testing centered on the positioning of the cyclist during an effort, from a physical performance and sports engineering perspective. The researchers needed to figure out optimal positioning while respecting the biomechanical limitations of each athlete.

Frédéric Domingue, Warren Barguil, 2019 French road champion and Marie-Claude Ayotte.

The research conducted at UQTR was mutually beneficial. The Arkéa-Samsic riders were able to take steps towards optimizing their performance and the L-TIPS team will be able to use the data they collected as references to expand their research process. “We are very satisfied with this first experience with high-level professional cyclists,” said Ayotte. “The information collected will certainly refine our future research activities at L-TIPS. This calibration will help us to specify our research orientation and optimize future project directions, allowing us to offer distinctive methods for cyclists to push their limits on the bike”

The researchers conduct additional data analysis and modeling for the main riders, in preparation for the season’s major events: Paris-Nice in March, Critérium du Dauphiné in June and Tour de France at the end of June.