Nutrition is the mother of the new cycling, that of attack and controlled spending, that of madness and science, and the glucometer, a tool that has become essential.
The device, fashionable now, already old for nutritionists and trainers, is a disc with the diameter of a two-euro coin that is attached to the forearm, and sticks into the skin and calculates the concentration of glucose in the interstices of the body. the blood.
He and the cyclist connect it to their phone and have information to the second, with a period of 10 minutes, on the effect of food on their energy reserves.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) allows its use in training, but not in competition, which is why American cyclist Kristen Faulkner was disqualified after finishing third at Strade Bianche.
Nutritionists adduce reasons to value its usefulness.
"Although not so many," explains Aitor Viribay, a dietician from Ineos, who says that they have been using it in their team for three years and it serves them more as an element of research, of knowledge of the behavior of the organism subjected to competitive stress than as a guide. to organize the nutrition of the runners in the race.
“Glucose always goes up when you exercise.
The value of glycemia in competition is so influenced by stress that it is difficult to determine if a cyclist suffers from hyperglycemia or his carbohydrate levels are deficient.
Without context it means nothing.
The same value can have two different reasons, or more”.
To them, Faulkner added an argument, which he used to fight against amenorrhea,
the absence of rule suffered by women athletes in resistance specialties.
“It makes sense,” reasons Viribay, who has used the glucometers with the Ineos cyclists to find out how the use of ketones affects blood glucose.
"Rules influence carbohydrate metabolism."
After Faulkner's disqualification, the Spanish Mavi García advanced to 11th place in the Siena classic.
She also uses the glucometer in training, and has also suffered from amenorrhea.
“It is an advance that, if we all use it, it is very good for all of us.
I have used it training here at altitude to get to know myself a little better, to see when I need it, when I don't, and the truth is that it was quite useful for me", says the Mallorcan cyclist, who this year has signed for the Liv team, where she will be directed for the first time in his career by a woman, Georgia Bronzini.
“Honestly, I don't suffer a lot from amenorrhea, and if I have, it's when I'm competing a lot and when I lose;
I already know, when I lose an extra weight, that I already know what it is, I end up losing my period.
Josu Larrazabal, Trek coach, women's and men's team, also recognizes the value of the glucometer as a tool to know, not to decide.
“Before a race you already know how much you are going to need, depending on the intensity.
60 grams per hour, more or less.
It's all very calculated.
The glucometer is not the game changer that they say, ”he explains.
"It is not necessary to eat during the race because there is already a plan."
Larrazabal, who trained the Dutch Ellen van Dijk to break the hour record (49,254 kilometers), also does not understand that it is necessary to avoid amenorrhea.
“In my experience,” she explains, “amenorrhea is closely linked to excessive volume loading in training.
By regulating the training you can control it”.
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