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The Professional Cyclists Association (CPA), which represents pro cyclists, says it is dedicated to protecting rider data as it joins a UCI working group on virtual cycling.
“We believe protecting the riders’ freedom of choice concerning the sharing of their sensitive data (heart rate, height, weight, watts per kg, etc.) is a matter of paramount importance,” said CPA president Gianni Bugno via a press release. “Riders must be free to decide individually whether to let the teams release their data – and if so, at what cost – or to use their data personally for promotional reasons, or even to keep them entirely private.”
With e-cycling world championship events on the horizon, cycling’s governing body is creating a working group on the emerging competitive discipline. According to the CPA’s statement, the riders’ union will work with teams’ union to formulate a plan on protecting rider data as part of their discussions on a new Joint Agreement.
Keeping physiological data private has long been a talking point for the pro peloton, with some riders and teams more reticent than others to publicize personal data. The issue takes on new dimensions with the rise of e-cycling platforms like Zwift, where various aspects of physiological data are utilized to render virtual efforts.
The CPA’s statement highlighted the importance of giving riders’ the final say over the use of their personal data, in accordance with existing legal frameworks like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other applicable laws outside of Europe.
“Sensitive data is the individual rider’s exclusive property and cannot be shared without their permission,” Bugno said. “The use of riders’ data in the e-sports context has broad legal and commercial implications that must be dealt with by the governing body of cycling, alongside all stakeholders, as soon as possible.”