Team Sky's leader has been riding around the Low Countries and northern France with a piece of plastic stuck in his nose. It's no accident though – here's the lowdown on Team Sky's latest marginal gain

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on Chris Froome during the opening stages of the Tour de France, you may just have noticed a strange device lodged in his nose. Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted him wearing a small nose ring during his interview after Tuesday’s stage to Cambrai.

With Team Sky noted for their ‘marginal gains’ approach to racing, this nose furniture is just another small piece of the puzzle in the quest for a third Tour de France win.

The device is called The Turbine, and dilates the nostrils to increase airflow through the nose, allowing the wearer to breathe more efficiently. Creator Rhinomed claims that nasal airflow is increased by an average of 38 per cent while wearing it.

Froome tested the nose ring during last year’s Vuelta a España, even tweeting about its effectiveness. Its return, after a slight redesign thanks to rider feedback, is a ringing endorsement from one of the top contenders for the yellow jersey.

Jack Bobridge suffers after his Hour Record attempt

Jack Bobridge suffers after his Hour Record attempt

It’s the latest in a long line of marginal gains we have seen introduced to the sport by Team Sky, with ideas ranging from taking custom-made bedding to races and bringing back bikes with suspension for the Spring Classics to Richie Porte eschewing hotels to stay in a motorhome during the Giro.

Other users of The Turbine include Trek Factory Racing’s Calvin Watson, MTN-Qhubeka’s Matt Goss, and Jack Bobridge, who wore it during his Hour Record attempt back in January. Expect more to join their ranks should chatter about the device spread through the peloton.

 

  • Rider_X

    I think you are missing the point. Reducing the energy and effort required to breath means that the athlete’s metabolism is less taxed for any given effort. A small gain, yes, but keep add it to the other “marginal gains” and a performance gap starts to emerge.

  • Brendan Power

    You’re absolutely right, of course; nasal airflow is not “THE” limiting factor for athletes. It is, however “A” limiting factor and, as we all know, Sky are the masters of marginal gains, or Kaizen. Even if that wasn’t he case, the fact that the user, Chris Froome, states that it makes a difference would be enough.

  • highrouleur

    Pretty simple physiology really, it may increase nasal airflow by 38% but getting oxygen in isn’t the limiting factor for athletes. Transporting the oxygen to the muscles is the issue and these things do the square root of diddly squat to help there. Ergo, about as much use as a magnetic bracelet, but no doubt plenty of people will go out and waste their money on them after seeing Chris Froome perform so well at le Tour “because” of wearing one…

  • Brendan Power

    It looks as though ‘highrouleur’ has carried out some in depth research on this; perhaps he should share his findings with Team Sky to save them from wasting their time.

  • highrouleur

    Yeah, but it’s bollocks though innit?

  • poisonjunction

    Thanks for the update, I did think it was an unlikely place for face jewellry!

  • Jay Kay

    wonder if it’d help with my deviated septum…nasal breathing is such a chore