The below is an insights piece crafted by Mitchelton-SCOTT’s team physiotherapist, Dan Guillemette. Here, he explains how and why PHYSIOLAB’s S1 is utilised by the team during their worldwide Grand Tours. During 2018, the team took it to the Giro D’Italia, Tour De France and Vuelta a España. We’d like to thank Dan for kindly sharing his testimonial.
“As a multi-disciplinary performance team within an elite, professional sport, Mitchelton-Scott are constantly reviewing how the team manages acute injuries and our recovery strategies during Grand Tours (Giro, Tour and Vuelta Espana). The primary reason for using the PHYSIOLAB S1 is that it meets all of our needs. As a performance group considering new protocols and interventions, we have several key factors (aside from the clinical evidence) that form part of the decision-making process. These are:
- Size (we have limited space on the team vehicles)
- Functionality/ease-of-use (especially as we have several different nationalities within the team).
The S1 unit is compact and easily portable, which gives an added advantage when travelling overseas. The cycling season starts in January and finishes in October, with competition not just in Europe but the US, Middle East, Australia and China. Time lost on bus transfers, post stage waiting for the podium, anti-doping and media all have an impact on starting the recovery process – not just for the next stage. Remember these Tours are 3 weeks long, so it is also about managing the daily and cumulative effects of the efforts.
Pre and post-stage the riders can travel for 2-3 hours on the team bus, which makes it a perfect environment to stimulate recovery. Riders will use PHYSIOLAB’s S1 post stage using the double leg (dual) therapy pack, as well as the calf therapy packs for 15-20 minutes at between 8-12°C. Depending on time frames and logistics, riders will also use PHYSIOLAB in their hotel room when relaxing. As the riders often compete in hot climates, the unit is also used to assist with heat stress management (especially if cold water immersion/ice baths are not available). In a sport such as cycling, logistics are such a big factor that these interventions are not always practical.
Trauma is an ever-present risk in professional cycling, often occurring at high speed and resulting in multiple contusions and abrasions. Most contact points occur around the hip and the hands, so there is regular use of the PHYSIOLAB therapy packs for these areas. Acute swelling and loss of function is a real issue. When riders crash we have a limited time to prepare them for the next day. It’s not like football where you can just substitute a player for another. Cycling is a linear, symmetrical activity and during the Tour (or Giro & Vuelta) riders can be spending anything up to 7 hours on the bike. So, consider how many pedal revolutions that is – and they do it for 21 days! Therefore, it is vital that we limit any long-lasting effects from trauma that will contribute to more serious injury and losing a rider from a race.
Being able to rely on an effective tool, like PHYSIOLAB’s S1, to promote soft tissue healing and limit the effects of trauma is paramount. Knowing that we are confidently maximising our responses (within the limited timeframes that we have) ensures we can promote the health and well-being of our athletes.”