Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur, is the first cycling team to launch a ground-breaking wellness programme aimed at enhancing the health and performance of its riders both on and off the bike.
As the team strives to further professionalise its setup, this new wellbeing programme is structured on three main pillars: sleep, the menstrual cycle and mental health. The programme also comprises of COVID protocols, medical, and new concussion protocols.
Drops Le-Col Co-founder and General Manager, Tom Varney, says: “We are putting our riders first and are committed to embarking upon this journey to empower them and enable them to understand themselves as individuals as deeply as possible.”
Sleep is critical for both physical and mental health. Promoting good sleep practices will in turn promote positive performance development, strength, endurance and cognitive function.
This key aspect of the wellness programme, spearheaded by our sponsor, premium mattress brand, TEMPUR, focuses on enhancing recovery and rider performance.
We are working with TEMPUR to track the team’s sleep routines, highlighting the effects of sleep on both the psychological and physiological condition of our athletes, whilst the team trains, recovers, and competes. TEMPUR products, mattresses and pillows have been provided to all riders and will be used both home and away on team camps and at races to ensure optimum levels of sleep and thus, performance can be maintained by riders no matter the location.
“Sleep is a fundamental tool to support our riders in improving their performance and we’re encouraging riders to invest in sleep and recovery as much as they do in training. With TEMPUR’s world-class products and its brand expertise, we couldn’t be better equipped.”
“We are excited to be supporting this really important initiative,” says Tobin James, Vice President TEMPUR Northern Europe. “We have provided all riders with mattresses and pillows to help improve sleep quality – both at home and on tour – to support their bodies whilst resting, restoring and repairing.
“As the first of its kind, we can’t wait to see the results of the Drops-Le Col study and feel privileged to be playing a part in promoting women’s health in sport.”
Drops-Le Col is, we believe, the first cycling team to have riders track their menstrual cycles, which allows every rider to gain a deeper understanding of their unique physiology.
The team have partnered with World-leading sports performance and biomarker company Orreco. Their existing clients include WSL Champions Chelsea FC Women, USA Swimming and The FA. Led by Female Athlete lead Dr Georgie Bruinvels, they will educate our riders, staff and coaches about their menstrual cycle’s. The team will utilise Orreco’s Fitrwoman App and FitrCoach platform to track riders menstrual cycles and Orreco will provide the athletes and their coaches detailed individualized reports, action plans and strategies to help manage nutrition, recovery and wellness around the menstrual cycle. The athlete program helps world-class athletes train in sync with their menstrual cycle to sustain peak performance at the highest level.
Commenting on the partnership with Drops, Dr Brian Moore, CEO of Orreco, said: “We are delighted to partner with Drops-Le Col. It is so exciting to work together to advance the science of elite performance for women in sport. Our FitrWoman and FitrCoach platforms are being deployed to help harness the power of female physiology, so the Drops athletes can perform their best on any given day.”
The final pillar of the programme is that of mental health. The importance of mental health cannot be understated. Data shows that among professional athletes, 35% suffer from a mental health crisis, which may manifest as stress, eating disorders, burnout, or depression and anxiety. The team is promoting an open and honest environment where communication is actively encouraged, creating a positive environment that normalises speaking out when not okay. Tracking sleep and menstrual cycles can additionally provide key pointers to identify or understand mental health issues, whether that manifests as signs of stress prior to a race or during heavy training phases.
GM Varney says: “Our founding ethos is to create a happy and supportive environment where riders can develop and reach their true potential. This remains our number one priority today.
“The wellness programme is an extension of that and we have the aim of creating an environment that allows for honesty and openness between teammates, riders and the staff.”