04 September 2021

Otakam, time trial asset for Arkéa-Samsic

The Arkéa-Samsic team has entered into a partnership with Otakam, a company that specialises in data processing and which is involved in the individual and team time trials run by our riders. The latest example is the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.


The time trial has always been a fine discipline in cycling, but it has become more and more so in recent years. The emergence of data in our sport has made the discipline more and more scientific. This is why the Arkéa-Samsic team has entered into a partnership with Otakam, a young start-up from Toulouse that offers analysis and performance monitoring, and which, thanks to the exploitation of a CNES patent linked to the physiological monitoring of astronauts, has made it possible to create a tool for the optimisation and management of effort and time forecasting, a field that has interested the coaches of the Arkéa-Samsic team, led by Théo Ouvrard, hence the partnership contract with Otakam.

In concrete terms, this collaboration is detailed by Gaëtan Lemoine, business developer and data scientist at Otakam. The best example is the one that comes from the field, so let’s go back to the individual time trial offered in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.  “We worked with all the riders on managing and predicting the time they were likely to achieve in this time trial according to their physical abilities.  We are in direct contact with the coach on site during the event, in this case on the Poitou-Charentes, it was Flavien Soenen. Our objective is for the riders to optimise their efforts during the time trial in order to obtain the best possible time at the finish. “We take into account the weather data, the rider’s data and the terrain and we run them through our algorithms, which gives us the pace table that the rider must follow, and this gives the optimal management that the rider must have over the whole time trial.

The data is individualised for each rider. We really do this on a case by case basis,” continues Gaëtan, “according to the capacities of each rider, but also according to the characteristics of the terrain. During the time trial in Poitiers, Flavien was pleasantly surprised because all the riders involved in the time trial set times that were consistent with those we had given before the race. We are less than a second per kilometre between our forecasts and the times set by the Arkéa-Samsic riders. The idea is to continue this work with the Arkéa-Samsic team, especially before the races. What would be interesting would be to carry out tests in the wind tunnel and to simulate the different aerodynamic coefficients, which would allow us to calculate the gains that the riders could make by optimising their position. But if the rider wants to continue to be more comfortable and less aero, we can give him the time he will lose on a time trial by opting for this decision. The time trial is an increasingly fine test in modern cycling, and Connor Swift, who shone in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes on a daily basis, but took the leader’s jersey on the evening of the time trial stage, will not argue…