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05.09.2022 - Press

A ride with the PlumeStrong Cycling Challenge

I had the opportunity last night to reunite with a replica of my 2020 Tour de France winning bike. The Colnago V3Rs was even painted in the special yellow livery that I rode on the last stage. I signed that bike, and it is now available to win as part of this year’s PlumeStrong Cycling Challenge.

So, what is #PSCC22?

Plume is a technology company that provides smart services and WiFi to homes. They have a large office in Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. Their program to give back to the communities they live and work in is called PlumeStrong. 

This year they are using the money they raise to provide access to safe education programs to children in Ukraine and Moldova through their chosen charity, Street Child. This is a cause that is very important to me, so I decided to partner with them. I would love it if you could contribute as well.

I recently sat down with Plume’s CEO, Fahri Diner, and talked about things we had in common, including our connection to Slovenia, the use of technology and what it is like to work and train with your teammates. Here are some portions of our conversation.

Ask Me Anything, recorded 4-September-2022

Why are so many strong athletes coming from Slovenia these days?

Tadej: We have in Slovenia a lot of really great athletes, a lot of talent. I don’t know where this comes from. I think it’s just in our nature that we want to be very successful.  We are really eager and stubborn. And yeah, we’re used to the hard work, I guess, and I think that’s why we are great, at least in Slovenia. But it’s not just us, there are many that are great.

Fahri: You are an inspiration. The inspiration perhaps is infectious, so we’re hoping that you can infect us with that meaning. Spirit, commitment, and stubbornness, those are some of the qualities that I believe resonate in our world as well. In the technology field, our lives, our world changes constantly. There’s nothing constant. So we’re always having to reinvent ourselves and our commitment gives us courage of these convictions.

What role does technology play?

Tadej: We use a lot of data in cycling. It’s one of the sports where you can use a lot of different things, and everything is pretty much useful if you know how to use it. Before the Tour de France, when we have training camps, we build up the form, we watch a lot, the power curve and heart rate monitors. So yeah, we collect everything. And then you will see how the shape is, if we are at the right spot just before the Tour or any race that you want to target. So, yeah, now, these days, it is important that you have a lot of data.

Fahri: Well, I mean, it seems like data is at the core of everything these days. Being in the technology business, of course, Plume and our company is all around data. Perhaps we use it for different purposes, but it’s clearly at the cent of everything we do.

Tadej: Yeah, especially throughout the year. We have so much data that for the next year, you know exactly what you need to do to be better than last year. So it helps a lot to improve year by year.

How do you manage strategy throughout a race? 

Tadej: There is always a strategy and a tactical plan, but in cycling, you cannot do exactly what you planned because there are so many circumstances around that can happen. And yes, sometimes I get to improvising in the race based on my feeling, and I guess it’s in my nature to race from the start to the finish, to give everything, to show my best and try to win in memorable ways.

Fahri: Similar to corporate strategy, do you slipstream or lead from the front? You need both. I feel that my job I’m often in the front trying to find the right course. But there’s an army of people behind me, and every once in a while I need to get back in the peloton and leverage. At the end of the day, it’s all about team, and one feeds into the other.

Signature of Tadej Pogačar

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