CYCLING’S MONEYBALL TEAM
Team Dimension Data might have an advantage over other WorldTour teams in that their naming sponsor works in the ield of data analytics and digital technology. Dimension Data’s group executive for digital business solutions, Scott Gibson, who sits on the executive board of the cycling team, told Procycling that they are looking at how they can not only gain publicity from sponsorship, but help the team race better. In turn, that helps the marketing of the company, which is after all the main point of sponsorship.
“It’s early days, but we’re saying, ‘Let’s igure out how we can apply technology to the team,’” he said. “We’re incrementally adding new things.”
One early bene it they have brought is that they developed an app for the riders to input various feedback about their physical state. When the medical team reviewed Bernhard Eisel’s feedback in 2018, they realised something might be up. “He said he was not feeling great and had headaches. It alerted the medical team there might be something wrong. They said to go for a checkup and that’s when they found the lesion and he needed emergency brain surgery.”
The team is now using data analytics to inform their recruitment decisions. After inishing 18th in the 2018 WorldTour, they have signed nine new riders. “We ran an analysis of our team. Using the current points system, our 2018 roster was 18th in the WorldTour. If you look at the 2018 results of our 2019 roster and add up the points, we would have inished 13th in the WorldTour. If you average out the results of our 2019 roster over ive years, we’d be sixth in the WorldTour. And if each rider got their best result in the last ive years at those races in 2018, we’d have been irst.
“The guys are not machines, and sh*t happens, riders crash etc. You can’t Moneyball this precisely, but we do think you can recruit better. And then we’re looking at a subsystem where we can work out domestique value - there are no points for that, but it’s like an assist in football. When we recruit for 2020, we’ll hone the method to see which riders deliver points for the team.”