This Thursday morning, two days before the start of the 2024 Tour de France, Visma – Lease a Bike announced their revolutionary new “control room” that they will use at the Grande Boucle. However, following that presentation, it has come to light that the UCI has begun investigating that new addition to the Dutch team’s work.

“The International Cycling Union (UCI) has been informed of the recent announcement regarding the use of a “control room” by the UCI WorldTeam Visma – Lease a Bike. We are currently carrying out checks to ensure that the configuration put in place by the team complies with the regulatory framework in force, in particular with regard to the capture and transmission of data as indicated in article 1.3.006b of the UCI Regulations,” reads the official statement.

“Our priority is to maintain the integrity of the sport by ensuring sporting fairness, equitable access to technology and the primacy of man over machine. The UCI is committed to upholding these principles and will take appropriate action based on the findings of the investigation”.

The aforementioned Article 1.3.006b, relates to on-board technology. According to the UCI’s own rules, devices that capture or transmit positioning data, still or moving images, or mechanical information are permitted, as are similar devices that can collect data on heart rate, body temperature and sweat rate.

However, the “authorization is limited … to transmission protocols that allow only the runner in question to view the data during a competition.”

For his part, Mathieu Heijboer of Visma – Lease a Bike said of the control room: “We are very pleased to have been able to develop the control room with our innovative partners, which allows us to collect and analyze even more live data and get a better overview of the race. This will allow us to support the coaches in the car and help them to make the best possible tactical decisions more quickly”.

The new Visma-Lease a Bike control center is placed in a van that has been equipped with the collaboration of Visma which, let’s not forget, is an important software company; and the online betting company BetCit, also a sponsor of the team, and whose mission is to collect all the data that may be relevant for the race: position of the cyclists, power, wind direction, weather conditions at each point of the race, radio communications, time differences, complicated points of the route, etc. Data with which you can see the whole picture to make the best decisions in the race.

A technology that immediately reminds us of that applied in Formula 1, where teams are able to analyze in advance when the driver has to enter the pits, in which position he will start after his stop, in which lap it will rain or what is the best pace strategy at each moment of the competition.

However, as every time technology bursts into cycling in a disruptive way, the UCI has already shown its concern about the capabilities of this Visma-Lease a Bike control center, indicating that they will carry out checks to ensure that the current regulations are respected as regards the collection and transmission of data.

Suffice it to recall that, for example, the capture and transmission of metabolic data such as blood glucose level is not allowed, while others such as speed or power are public and accessible.