UCI Mountain Bike World Series Partners with WHOOP for Live Biometric Data

May 11, 2023 at 4:12
by Ed Spratt  

The UCI Mountain Bike World Series has announced that WHOOP will be a major partner for the upcoming race season offering the potential for live biometric data.

As part of the new partnership the UCI Mountain Bike World Series says that it will now be able to offer for the first time (in mountain biking) biometric data from select athletes as they are racing. In the press release, it states that this data will be shared during the broadcasts while also being used to inform the pre and post-show analysis. The new partnership will not just be for the XC World Cup this weekend as UCI Mountain Bike World Series aims to access this data for the Downhill World Cup coverage.

While this may be a first for mountain bike coverage WHOOP already worked with Warner Brothers. Discovery Sports as they partnered with Eurosport for the 2022 Giro d’Italia Grand Tour. During this partnership, the biometric data was able to offer viewers a look into the heart rate and strain of racers as they took on a challenging final climb.

This weekend the press release states that we can expect to see members of the Alpecin Deceuninck Team such as XC U23 European Champion Puck Pieterse and reigning XCC Short Track Champion Sam Gaze among the riders sharing their data.

bigquotesOur mission to propel the UCI Mountain Bike World Series into a new era is underpinned by our desire to take fans to places they couldn't ordinarily reach and to deepen their connections with the sport they love and its athletes.

To do this, we're looking forward to integrating cutting-edge innovations into our broadcast coverage including partnering with WHOOP for game-changing insights into rider performance. Not only will this help explain to spectators and our audience how an athlete is able to overcome their rival, but it will elevate the endurance and skill to a whole new level by enabling the most advanced real time race analysis ever witnessed.

WHOOP is excited to be building on our partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery.
Scott Young, SVP Content and Production at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports

bigquotesThis summer we’re bringing WHOOP Live to the international coverage of the UCI Mountain Bike World Series, supporting the sport, and providing viewers and fans with a unique viewing experience; with insights into the feat of human performance involved in mountain biking. It’s our goal, together with WBD, to help elevate the broadcast, athletes and commentators to this new era of the Mountain Bike World Series.

Our team is looking forward to being on site, to meet this community at several events this summer, and allow more people to unlock their own human performance with WHOOP.
John Sullivan, SVP of Marketing at WHOOP

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
2,768 articles

  • 135 11
 No one fkn cares. Just sort out a decent race broadcast you fkn UCI flogs.
  • 44 43
 I care. Everyone was winging that Discovery would do a terrible job and here they are trying something new. Geeze! I want a pony! I hate ponies!!
  • 4 0
 Upvoted both of you. Great work.
  • 3 1
 @philneuve: It's yet another brand that will be plastered all over the place. Another bag of cash for the UCI topshottas while the racers get shafted, and we have to pay for the honour of watching an ad filled shit show.
  • 2 1
 @Cheddar420: It's like you've never watched sports before. New brands coming in...to plater their whatever, wherever is how we get the privilege of watching some of the best athletes in the world, compete all over the world.
  • 3 1
 I like to comment on top comments so people see me.
  • 1 0
 @KeithShred: I see you; you aren't invisible to me, Keith.
  • 1 0
 Tell me uci is losing money without telling me uci is losing money.
  • 4 0
 @philneuve: In this context I am talking about something that was free, and now it's going to cost money. All the while they are signing bigger more expansive deals bringing in even more money.

We'll see how long we get to watch the best athletes in the world racing when their sponsors are told to kick rocks because UCI Decided to sign a deal. UFC did exactly this. They took a check from a big company, trickled down pennies to the athletes ,compared to a personal sponsorship. Athletes walked, top talents, even bottom tier talents were taking a 20x loss in revenue. From 100k a fight to 5k. It would be silly to think the topdogs, the big earners, are going to take a paycut and stay racing UCI events.

This works for the UFC because the brand is bigger than the athlete that's not the case with the UCI. There's no reason next year Redbull/Crankworx can't expand into the space left behind by UCI's greed.

Judging by the limited course previews and some chatter online this might be the year of the Trail Bike World Cup anyways. The technical parts of the tracks are being nuked to accommodate better camera angles. I only watch the racing because I can see dudes hit stuff I could barely ride at 60+kmh. I have no interest watching dudes ride walking paths quickly.
  • 79 1
 Will be very positive for the viewer to be reminded that Pidcock has the same heart rate in the final sprint as most of us climbing a flight of stairs with a shopping bag
  • 14 1
 You mean the automatic moving stairs found in shopping malls where you don't have to move your legs at all, right?
  • 1 6
flag vinay (May 11, 2023 at 8:46) (Below Threshold)
 Is it? I think these top level athletes are actually able to reach both a higher heart rate as well as have a lower resting heart rate, so basically they have a bigger range. I don't know about that particular rider, but I wouldn't be surprised if he does actually get it higher than us when he performs a sprint. It is just that when he does, he also does sprint faster that we ever will.
  • 1 1
 @vinay: Maximum heart heart isn't likely any higher than that calculated Max HR = 220 - age. Resting HR is the big X factor. If his resting HR is 35bpm for example, he could ride at roughly 5x this versus the average Joe with resting HR of 60bpm who could reach roughly 3x their resting HR
  • 9 1
 @Jaylynx: I'm far from an elite athlete and even my max HR is way above 220-age. At 44 I should max at 176 but I've recently hit 193 and had an average race HR of 174 for a 1.5hr race.
  • 3 0
 @Jaylynx: that doesn’t check out for me. My resting HR is like 45 and I’m not fast uphill (75th percentile on a good day). Resting HR is a single factor among many.
  • 4 0
 @Jaylynx: 220-age has been thoroughly debunked. Max HR varies from person to person for many reasons.
  • 2 0
 @grnmachine02: As has RHR. Low doesn't mean fit. High doesn't mean unfit.
  • 45 1
 I can't see the athletes being particularly happy about their live data being available. Surely it's a good indicator of how toasted you are from an effort and informs your rivals? I can't see how they could implement this fairly unless everyone had it?
  • 17 1
 There’s such wild variation between people that it won’t really mean much unless they know the rider in questions actual history. I’ve got a riding buddy who’s heart rate maxes out 15-20bpm higher than mine and we are only a couple years apart in age.

Whatever, it’s not like I’ll be able to watch it anyway.
  • 4 1
 This is what they do at the virtual esports world cycling championships. The race directors for each team have access to all the riders’ vitals. If they see a rival redlining, they can tell their riders to make a move. Or they know when their riders have run too hard and can give them some time to recover. I think it might be a lot harder to apply this to riders out on a trail in the real world for any number of reasons, but it’s not without precedent.
  • 2 0
 @somebody-else: I don't think that would be an issue. Watching each race would give you a baseline and I don't that the variance is sufficient to prevent an accurate estimate.
  • 1 0
 It says only available for select athletes. I imagine that means those athletes who are happy to share.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: JFC
  • 37 2
 will the racers be gettin extra money from whoop for wearing their product giving up their biometric data
  • 81 2
 They will be charged $30/mo for the privilege of being told to drink less alcohol and to sleep more. The proprietary charger pack will break seemingly randomly and they will be charged $25 for a replacement which will take 5 business days to arrive which will render the device useless for several days, corrupting their personal algorithm for an indeterminable amount of time.

They will be offered 1 free month of service when they dare to raise an issue with customer service. They will be denied the opportunity to pick up a replacement pack in person at the company headquarters if they live in Boston because their stock warehouse is on the west coast (that one was personal, sorry)
  • 24 4
 Comparing heart rate data between racers is totally meaningless, it’s a gimmick we could do without on the broadcast. What’s next, tracking how many times they blink their eyes during the race?
  • 1 0
 That is a thing. They measure blink rates when demoing marketing videos, so yeah, maybe!
  • 9 0
 Real time monitoring of Rob Warner's blood-alcohol content while commentating is the data we really want! Much more relatable, and arguably more achievable, than the heartrates of young pro racers.
  • 12 2
 Completely bizarre, weirdo idea. It's nobody's business and has no real value.
  • 5 6
 Has been done in road racing for years, and actually I always found it interesting to see. But of course, this is an MTB site, so people are obliged to hate on anything new, AND anything to do with UCI, so this is a major trigger, of course.
  • 1 1
 It’s a business move, exactly.
  • 9 0
 Can we have a live-analysis of the ingredients in a water bottle as well?
  • 4 0
 Now we get to know who gets to piss in whose bottle.
  • 3 0
 Only at select Enduro events
  • 7 3
 Senior Vice President Scott Young needs to tone down on the superlatives in his marketing lingo. Other than that, this cutting-edge innovation actually sounds pretty cool and I would have loved to see how it elevates the broadcast - if it wasn't behind a paywall, that is.
  • 1 0
 Very Jargon-y. I agree
  • 4 0
 Bloody Hell, I thought I knew that name. He was exec producer/head of television of the Australian V8 Supercar race series when I worked on it mid 2010's, he was a flog then and didn't understand TV or the market and looks like he still doesn't understand TV or the market he is working with.

As the saying goes 'Shit floats to the top'
  • 6 2
 Could this feature be turned off? I do like to see the riding, but having their biometric data rubbed in my face feels a bit too intimate to my liking. Plus, what sense are we going to make out of this? Do we know their morning resting pulse too, their aerobic thresshold, heart rate variability? Otherwise, it is just a number. I can see a power meter make sense for XC but just the heart rate number is just that, a number. Was there anyone actually asking for this feature or was it this electronics company with a bag of money begging for some exposure?
  • 5 0
 Out of all possibilities for things being rubbed in your face being too intimate, you chose biometric data?
  • 1 2
 @mi-bike: You mean to say I can expect more intimate stuff being rubbed in my face when watching bicycle races? I wasn't aware of that and I'm not even sure whether I want to know.
  • 4 0
 was interested in whoop but the subscription format put me right off, got a garmin. Paid for the watch and..... an that's it. No monthly fees
(I th?nk fit bit/google are subscription for anything of any use to an athelete as well?)
  • 4 1
 I don’t think anybody asked for this. All we want is a trouble-free viewing experience of a decent broadcast with decent commentary. Sort that out first, will you?

Also is it just me or does anyone else also not want the racers biometrics on their screen? Seems weirdly intimate and honestly a little too close for comfort. Besides, for the viewers theres literally no useful information to be extracted from those metrics anyways.
  • 1 1
 GCN+|Eurosport coverage of many disciplines has been next to flawless with excellent commentary so far, in fact commentary at a level far above the “look at the time” shouting on Redbull TV, I don’t see any reason why that should change with their coverage of MTB.
  • 2 0
 @FuzzyL: Next to flawless? I wouldn’t say that. Nova mesto na morave showed the top 3-5 riders and we had no real idea what the rest of the field was doing. Had to then listen to some guy blather on about what an innovation a dropper was. Interviews on the ground before and after were substantially worse by broadcasters who didnt seem to understand anything that was going on. Red Bull was staffed by people that ride and gave a shit about XC. I dont need to complain about paying but if youre going to raise to price so to speak then at least do a marginally better job.
  • 5 3
 Are the riders going to be getting paid from this? or is the UCI just pocketing more money while preventing riders from getting personal sponsors. Also are they going to force the dh riders to wear a stupid watch just for a little graphic that likely wont work most of the time and no one will give a flying f*ck about when it does.
  • 2 0
 Analyzing someone's HR data after a race isn't going to do much for you. What you could correlate from comparing someone's data to your own is, maybe you should of done more base training and over/unders this off season?! Plus whoop doesn't pull power data which is what everyone cares about. Until we can have everyone pricking their fingers each lap, wearing a VO2 masks, wearing an "ACCURATE" hr monitor (I think whoops kinda suck), maybe some muscle biopsies post race and maybe some pych evals to determine who stressed they were pre race, at the end of the day whoever wins wins because they have the right genetics, the right training, the right team, ect ect. Too many variables to monday morning quarterback...But I'm all for data. Data is cool. Data is also useless unless you know how to read it and use it...
  • 1 0
 Flight Attendant and psychiatrist!

@sjma: the other side of the rainbow
  • 1 0
 I can imagine maybe some of the athletes maybe don't want to be sharing this sort of data with their competitors and/or the public so hopefully it is by consent only and not mandated at the will of the broadcaster.
As a viewer I am not sure how insightful this sort of information is unless there is an understanding of each athlete's baseline performance and the like. Sounds gimmicky and particularly if it only applied on say a key climb- I don't think it would come as a surprise to find out they are all giving it 110% up the final hill!
  • 3 0
 I'd prefer more actual cameras on the course so we dont miss any racing. how many times have to heard Rob say: "oh it looks like hes been down"
  • 2 0
 Good luck taking sponsored Garmins off athletes! Surely it has to be athletes’ choice if they wish to have personal and I’d say borderline medical data published in screen.
  • 1 0
 Too bad Whoop is really inaccurate. I used the whoop 4.0 for half a year and compared it to my Garmin heart rate strap and Whoop was never close. But then whoop uses that inaccurate data to make calculations. Crap in, crap out.
  • 2 0
 Marketing company announces additional marketing. So called product is a joke. Worst HR monitor ever tested continues to be the most expensive, backed by a $30 monthly subscription on a 1 year contract!
  • 1 0
 It would be cool to look at power meter data but it sounds like it's going to be gimmicky at the best. As a racer I would not want to share my data without large compensation.
  • 2 0
 People here are getting offended on behalf of the privacy of mountain bikers in-event physical health data.... What is the world lol.
  • 4 0
 Big whoop.
  • 1 0
 what an amazingly useless effort. we get data like that and broadcast quality like the ökk xco in chur. cameraquality like in 2005.
  • 1 0
 This is a cool idea with a huge caveat that they'd have to wear a heart rate monitor other than a Whoop if you want to see anything resembling accuracy.
  • 1 0
 Hopefully we get a live heart rate and recovery page for some content between races.
  • 2 0
 What's the problem? It's a Whoop score, so it's completely meaningless
  • 2 0
 Thats pointless. I hope the athletes are getting paid for this crap!
  • 1 0
 Cool. But do the riders sponsored by Garmin and competitors know? Or do they find out in a press release on pinkbike?
  • 1 0
 Alpecin Deceuninck Team has the Whoop for long time, MVDP for 3 years now.
  • 1 0
 Lol. Just what we all needed.
  • 2 2
 Yes. This is what I want the UCI focusing on. Live biometrics instead of their live video broadcast. /s
  • 3 2
 Ah, good old Pinkbike........full of luddites angry about something new.
  • 1 0
 Kashima Internal temperature probes?
  • 1 0
 I like numbers.
  • 1 0
 Pointless fluff
  • 1 0
 Big Whoop.
  • 1 0
 Fuk yeah man
  • 2 4
 I am sure the data can be used to research elite performance in biking like never before. Not all bad IMO.
  • 2 2
 How so? I suppose elite racers were already tracking their heart rate (and more) so the analysis could already been performed (and surely is). Broadcasting doesn't add anything, unless the armchair fitness coaches will be able to come up with some breakthrough insight. Chances though is that the value of the data you're getting is actually worse than what the riders are tracking themselves. You can (and want) to wear only one single heart rate belt so if a rider uses Polar for instance, they're not going to step away from that. They can wear the Whoop unit and use the wrist measurements which will be broadcasted, but that's way less accurate. Especially for the athletes with dark (or at least less translucent) skin. I've got dark skin and use both optical as well as chest strap measurements depending on the occasion. The optical stuff is convenient, but way off.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Having all the elite riders competing against each other and having all their data together in one place seems useful. They all may be tracking their numbers individually, but not in a set, compared to everyone else in the field.
  • 2 0
 Not with Whoop data. It's wrist based HR only, which can be somewhat useful for averages over long periods (such as recovery, and getting a sense of a days exertion) but is next to useless for anything more fine grained, such as detailed race analysis. In activity analysis really needs more tailored data sources; particularly a HR chest strap, but power meters really help as well. Just try doing any kind of focused HR training using a wrist based HR monitor and you'll soon see how inaccurate they are!

So the data could be interesting if it was collected with one of the companies that actually do a good job of in activity data (Garmin chiefly, but there's a few others as well) but partnering with Whoop is a pretty weird choice as it's really not the use case for that technology (Whoop is great for being an easy to wear all the time background data logging to look at big picture things). All using it here really does is give them some good marketing.
  • 1 1
 $40 usd a month?

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