We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website, If you continue to use our site without changing your cookie settings, you agree to our use of cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. For further information on how we use cookies, see our cookies statement. 

Cookie Settings

You can manage your cookie settings by turning cookies on and off.

Click on the different cookie  headings to find out more about the types of cookies we use on this site and to change your settings. Please be aware that if you choose to turn off  cookies, certain areas of our site may not work and your browsing experience may be impacted.

For further information on how we use cookies, please see our cookies statement. 

Strictly Necessary Cookies

(Req)

These cookies are essential for the technical operation of and proper functioning of our site  and enable you to register and login, to easily move around our site, and to access secure areas. Without these cookies our site won't function properly.  

These cookies are required

Performance Cookies

Performance cookies allow us to collect aggregated and anonymous data on how our site is used, such as the number of visitors to our site, how you navigate around and the time spent on our site and also to identify any errors in functionality. These cookies also help us to improve the way our site works by ensuring that you can find what you’re looking for easily, to better understand what you are interested in and to measure the effectiveness of the content of our site. 

Marketing Cookies

These cookies allow us to advertise our products to you and allow us to pass this information on to our trusted third parties so that they can advertise our products to you on our behalf. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. No personal information is shared to third parties. Any personal information collected while using our website could be used for direct marketing from Dimension Data only.

New health and wellness app helps Team Dimension Data stay on top form

Blog

Team Dimension Data takes the app route to monitor riders' health and wellbeing

Professional cycling is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports in the world. Being able to monitor the wellbeing of the riders is crucial in ensuring that they can perform at their peak on race days. 

When the team isn’t racing, the individual riders are scattered across the world. Each trains according to an individually tailored programme created by a team of sports scientists, doctors, and coaches. The more information this team has, the more they can optimise the training programmes of the riders, making sure they are ready for race day.

To get the team access to the best possible data, we've created an app that allows the riders to report back on how they're faring from a health and wellness perspective. That’s why we called the app Phila (pee-lah), which means ‘to live’ in Nguni.

 Phila app

We wanted to make the app simple and easy to use. 

The app allows the riders to, quite quickly, report on anything that might be jeopardising their ability to train, and alerts the support team to these issues. This covers travel, sleep, training, fatigue, and any illness or injury, as well as any equipment issues that they may be having. 

We're taking advantage of a custom-developed smartphone application to create the link between the riders and the team. The app has been developed by Dimension Data's Digital Practice in partnership with MIK Health which specialises in athlete performance and health technology solutions. 

Collecting data

For us it was important that the riders would need only two to three minutes in the morning to answer the questions. 

One of the more important pieces of information that we gather, from a scientific point of view, is what altitude they’re sleeping at. Over time we should be able to gain insights into how that affects overall performance. We’re also interested in the impact that travel and, more specifically, travel across time zones might be having. We do have some idea of where riders are spending their time because of the training data that we already get from them. But this will give us a deeper level of insight and tell us where they are on days when they’re not training.

Some of the questions are more subjective. We ask the riders questions such as when they went to sleep, when they woke up, as well as the quality of sleep. 

We also ask them about their mood and their view on their training the previous day. We obviously have the detailed training data from their bike computers, but this gives us a view of how the riders felt about the session, whether it went well or badly. They also get to rate the perceived effort from the session, and we can compare this with the effort level the coach aimed to achieve. This lets us to compare the actual performance, the intended effort level, and the rider’s view, and then we look at the differences between them.

 

The app gives us insight into how well the riders are training. 

The riders also let us know if they’re able to train that day and, if not, what the reasons are. This could include injury, illness, weather, equipment failure, or other issues.

Part of the benefit of this app is that we hope to be able to spot early on any potential illness. Team doctors can then intervene early and hopefully prevent a minor illness from escalating into one that might prevent them from racing.

Getting insights from the data

Much of the data that we’ll be getting is subjective but, for us, the value comes from integrating this data into training data that we already collect. In training, the riders generate a lot of data, using power meters, speed and cadence sensors, heart rate monitors, and GPS receivers to measure almost every aspect of the effort they’re putting in. This data is recorded on the riders’ Garmin Edge computers, collated, and shared with the sports scientists/coaches based in Lucca, Italy. They analyse the data and use the information to optimise the riders’ training programmes so that their performance peaks are aligned with their, and the team’s, goals for the season. 

We hope that we’ll be able to integrate the data from the app back into the TrainingPeaks software that we use to plan the riders’ training schedules. We also want to create a simplified dashboard that’ll allow the team management to see the status of each rider from a single screen, with issues that need attention flagged for action. 

The goal is, in the short term, to improve communication between the riders and the team. But looking forward we want to apply machine learning and predictive analytics to optimise rider management. These insights will help us to keep all the riders performing to their maximum potential.

Read more about Team Dimension Data's rise to greatness in pro cycling here.

 

 

Previous Article: Predictive security — protective gear for Tour de France data Next Article: Five machine-learning lessons from the Tour de France

You may be interested in

How technology is helping us understand the human on the bike
Blog

How technology is helping us understand the human on the bike

Technology helps us to connect, communicate, and address the Team's health and wellness issues.

Read blog
How technology can help a pro cycling team become a thriving global business
Blog

Webinar: How technology can help a pro cycling team become a thriving global business

In this webinar you'll hear about the power that technology holds in addressing the Team’s challenges and needs.

Read blog
Thumbnail building digital solutions
Blog

Using technology to enable Team Dimension Data to succeed

Businesses in every industry are figuring out how to use technology to drive their desired business outcomes. The business of sport is no exception.

Read blog

Let's talk about how we'll help accelerate your digital business.

South Africa
I’d like to receive marketing communications about Dimension Data’s products and services.

By clicking Submit below, you are agreeing to the Dimension Data Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy