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The marginal gains or micro excellence theory is the idea that making small incremental improvements during a process, when added together, will make a significant improvement overall. A theory that personifies Team UAE Emirates and one that Scicon Sports embraced when a need arose for a lightweight carrying case for the team's data transponders during races.
In an era of big data, transponders were made and attached to bikes in order to track data and gain further insights such as speed (km/h), power (watts), cadence (rpm), heart rate (bpm), gradient (%) during races. The transponder is fixed to the saddle with a custom bracket and both cumulatively add weight to the bike.
As UAE Team Emirates sets out with big goals, the team uses systematic and surgical precision with a thorough understanding of the combined effect of small changes that lead to significant outcomes. In their quest to improve the tiniest of detail, UAE Team Emirates discussed the opportunity with Scicon Sports’ Racing Support to decrease weight and increase aerodynamics by developing a custom data transponder racing sleeve. In turn the product development team of Scicon Sports rose to the occasion and developed a solution that provides an alternative to the mounting bracket with a flexible, robust and weight saving sleeve that carries a data transponder neatly under the saddle. Prototypes were made and tested in training until the final product was made and debuted at Italian stage race Strade Bianche, crossing the line on all bikes of Team UAE Emirates and seeing Tadej Pogačar take the win. This single component alone is not enough to win a race or make more than a borderline gain, but when added to a host of other smaller improvements, it makes all the difference.
UAE Team Emirates, embodies micro excellence and this can be seen through their track record from newcomer to two Tour De France winning victories and Olympic medals within five years. This impressive growth, season after season, pays tribute to the fact and therefore attracted world-class riders and quality sponsors.
The team at Scicon Sports shares the theory of micro excellence with professional cycling teams and understands that there is no magic bullet to turn high performance into elite performance. A key aspect is to focus on continual learning and improving one small detail at a time as processes are constantly refined and under review. Performance data is captured and analysed to identify new areas of improvement. An environment and culture focused on optimum performance and teamwork are crucial. The most powerful benefit of micro excellence is that it creates contagious enthusiasm as every member of the team is looking for ways to improve.
The dedicated focus on improvement in the smallest detail is what separates the elites from the rest who are often more gifted or talented but never realise their full potential.
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