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.
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.