ZAAF is one of the newest UCI Women’s Continental Teams and CORE is partnering with the team in 2023, delivering heat management expertise and solutions. When racers get hot, their power output falls. The partnership brings the ZAAF cycling team real-time core body temperature monitoring and solutions for heat training and active cooling so that riders can boost their performance.
CORE will provide the team with expertise and technology including the CORE sensor that provides real-time, highly accurate core body temperature measurements during training and racing.
Temperature behaviour can differ significantly between people and the perception of temperature can vary significantly against the actual core body temperature. But continuous monitoring provides an accurate overview of thermoregulation and its impact on performance. With the real-time data, rider heat training, pre-race cooling and active cooling is more effective.
Team Director Manel Lacambra says, “As a professional cycling high-performance sports team, we rely on science to guide our performance decisions. The data and expertise provided by CORE is extremely valuable in our 2023 pursuit of team podiums. Our team performance coaching follows a precise approach as we introduce CORE body temperature sensors to the team riders. To begin, we are focusing on body temperature adoption and measurements during training, body temperature during races, as well as gathering, analysing and applying this data to guide rider-specific heat training strategies.”
CORE performance manager Chris Blomfield-Brown says, “This is a new opportunity to be involved with the ZAAF cycling team from the beginning and to bring in the CORE technology and expertise as one of the fundamental building blocks. At the start of the season, the riders were already pre-cooling and using their core body temperature insights, so it is rewarding to see the team already achieving competitive results”.
The Legend of ZAAF
The ZAAF cycling team was founded in tribute to Abdel-Kader Zaaf, an Algerian who rode the Tour de France four times in the late 40s and early 50s. It was stage 13 of the 1950 Tour de France where a remarkable incident secured his place in history. Zaaf and Marcel Molines created a 30-minute break on the peloton in scorching 40ºC heat from Perpignan to Nîmes. In the days of old, riders would receive food, drinks and even wine from the fans. Abdel-Kader accept wine and in combination with the heat, the press reported that he was then seen zigzagging before stopping to take a nap in the shade of a tree.
Woken by fans as the peloton was approaching, a disorientated Zaaf rode the wrong direction, towards the approaching bunch. Though Molines won the stage and Zaaf abandoned, the legend of Abdel-Kadar Zaaf was born as he captured the hearts and minds of the people.