When we reported on Team Sky’s two-storey ‘race hub’ yesterday, many of you will have been left wondering where the team could possibly go next in its no-expense-spared pursuit of excellence. If you answered ‘an infographic’ – well done, you got the right answer.
Lead researcher Dr Neil Heron from the Centre of Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast, who is also part of Team Sky’s medical team said: “Working closely with Team Sky over two years, I realised that having a reference tool as a constant reminder with the top tips from medical staff, coaches and fellow cyclists would be really useful.
“In my career as a sports medic, I’ve seen athletes forced out of competitions due to preventable reasons such as contracting an infection through poor hygiene or not allowing enough time to acclimatise. For competitions like the Vuelta, which lasts three weeks, we want to support athletes to be in their best form for the duration.
“The infographic is a visual, accessible tool to remind the team of how best to prepare and maintain your fitness and health for competitive sport. As part of the research, I spoke with the team of cyclists, medical staff and coaches and this informed the final resource, published this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in time for the Vuelta 2017."
The infographic features guidance on everything from how to avoid infections to tips on nutrition and physio, as well as post exercise recovery strategies.
Tips include chewing gum with xylitol to reduce risk of infections when flying and daily monitoring of “first pass urine osmolality”.
Dr Mark Tully, researcher and Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast added: “The infographic summarises the key information that needs to be at the forefront of the cyclist’s minds. Having this displayed on the tour bus for example, with reminders such as taking a glass of milk and a well-balanced meal immediately after their ride is a simple but effective measure that can go a long way in helping to keep athletes at the top of their game.”