Ag2r la Mondiale riders chill out with cryotherapy at Dauphiné
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ag2r la Mondiale riders chill out with cryotherapy at Dauphiné

by Conal Andrews at 8:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tech News, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
New technique to recover used by French team

Nicolas RocheHeading towards its biggest goal of the year, the Tour de France, the Ag2r la Mondiale team has been utilising some space age technology in a bid to recover after stages from the day’s exertions. The riders on the French squads have been using cryotherapy chambers, supplied under the team’s partnership with the company Tec4H.

The method sees the riders enter a chamber which contains liquid nitrogen at -150 degrees celcius. They wear gloves and socks, and their heads are outside. They endure the cold for three minutes, then emerge.

Although it sounds drastic, it is an evolution of the iced baths and cold swimming pools used by teams in the past, and is not harmful.

"Cryotherapy is a technique used in Eastern countries for several decades to fight against inflammation in people suffering from rheumatism,” said team doctor Eric Bouvat. “They saw the effectiveness and gradually used this for the athlete who has inflamed muscles and tendons after exercise. This technique has been developed for this year in France by the company that provides us Tec4H.

“We use it in two cases in athletes. Primarily, to facilitate recovery and fight against pain after exercise. Then, this technique can be implemented over the long term since the cold can improve the immune system. In this team we use cryotherapy after the stages, but we also use it in the morning because the cold stimulates the endocrine system and the production of hormones.

The team is being led in the Dauphiné by Irishman Nicolas Roche (pictured). He starts today’s time trial fifth overall, seventeen seconds behind Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov.

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