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Image courtesy Stages Cycling
What was initially seen as an upstart company, based in the fitness industry, attempting to provide power data to riders at a low price point has now announced a partnership with the savviest, most data driven team in the sport of cycling – Team Sky. The Stages power meter first traded on the fact that it cost less than half what other crank based power solutions cost. This led to a perception that is was also less accurate than other meters and not ideal for a serious athlete.
Stages played defense on this all year, showing that despite its low cost the meter was not only as accurate as any other meter, but more consistent over changing conditions than any other meter, which is actually a more important feature. These are features our own long term testing with Stages Power has validated. What became clear to us was the lower price of a Stages meter comes from its design as a single, left arm meter affixed to standard alloy cranks, not from any budget parts or less accurate data. The design also resulted in incredibly low weight, less than 20grams on our scale.
By measuring only the left leg’s power output Stages doubles the number to get a reading more inline with what we see from Quarq, SRM or pedal based systems that measure both legs. During our experience this resulted in lower overall numbers than registered with a Quarq meter, but more consistent numbers. For impressing our buddies with big power numbers it is not ideal, as a training device it is perfection.
As Team Sky moves to Stages for 2014 it seems clear some translation of old data will need to occur in order to put the doubled left leg power numbers in context for the athletes and trainers. The numbers Froome will see on the head unit he dearly loves to stare at will likely be slightly different than what he is used to. We have reached out to Team Sky for comment on this and will update you as soon as possible.
Team Sky’s thirst for data and their enormous budget mean any and all systems are on the table. For Team Sky to have chosen Stages means they value consistency above all else and after a lengthy validation period, according to Stages, they believe the meter will deliver better consistency than any other. After all, when Froome is six hours into a Tour stage and relying on his power meter to dose his effort on the final climb, an inconsistency of even 10watts could be the difference between winning and losing.
Reactions to the partnership from both parties on page 2.
“We are so pleased to announce that Team Sky will race with Stages Power this season; this sponsorship, and what it means for Stages Power, is very exciting for our company,” said Pat Warner, Stages Cycling’s Senior Vice President. “We are humbled and honored to be collecting data for one of the best teams in the sport. It’s a huge responsibility and we both have great confidence that Stages Power can help Team Sky be successful this season.”
Tim Kerrison, Team Sky’s Head of Performance Support, said: “As a team, we see the power meter as a very useful tool. The results that we get, both from training and racing, help us to quantify how our riders are performing, which then allows us to make informed coaching decisions. Stages have worked hard to develop a high quality product that is extremely lightweight, reliable and simple to use whilst retaining the precision and accuracy that we require at Team Sky. We welcome Stages as a technical partner for 2014 and look forward to continuing to develop and improve our performances on the road, informed by the data generated by the Stages power meters.”
Carsten Jeppesen, Team Sky’s Head of Technical Operations, said: “The power meter is one of the most important tools for the team – giving us the perfect insight into how a rider is performing, which is crucial for the coaching team. We’re very excited to team-up with Stages, who are not only innovating the power meter market, they are also making the real-time on-bike measurement of power more accessible and affordable to a larger cycling population. We look forward to working closely with Stages in the future and also helping to develop further products with them.”
Matt Pacocha, Stages’ Marketing Manager said: “Over the last year, many riders chose the Stages Power meter for its economical price, but this partnership with Team Sky really shows that we have what it takes to lead the power measurement category. Not only are we more affordable than anyone else in the category, but we’re proving that the product meets the needs of one of the world’s best professional cycling teams.I’m most excited for the opportunity this presents for the Stages Power meter’s future,” continued Pacocha. “We’ve got great ideas for new products and features, and the team has the ultimate understanding of riders’ needs at cycling’s highest level; put those two prospects together and it will only benefit the riders who invest in Stages Cycling products.”