Early trials are underway to collect real-time data on riders' speed and position in the peloton and feeding it directly to TV stations to display to audiences, BikeRadar has learned.
If the experiment proves successful it means TV audiences could soon view stats on hardest working riders and which team members have spent the longest time on the front of the peloton.
Operatives from the Euro Media Group, who specialise in outside broadcasting, were spotted cable tying cadence sensor-size units to the undercarriage of team saddles at today’s Criterium du Dauphine stage start in Grésy-sur-Aix.
While the operatives remained tight-lipped about what they were up to, Bruno Gallais, international business development manager at Euro Media later confirmed to BikeRadar the company was working with ASO, organisers of the Tour de France, on the early stage trials of the GPS-based technology.
However the technology won’t be ready in time for the start of the 100th Tour de France which starts at the end of June, said Gallais. Instead, the first live figures and stats could be streamed at Paris-Tours, another ASO race in mid-October.
If the technology is successful, it could provide audience – and commentator - friendly stats on the amount of time riders have spent on the front, hard working domestiques doing bottle runs back to team cars and the cohesiveness of teams riding as groups within the peloton.
It could also provide useful data for conscientious team managers about their riders’ work rate and positioning.
Broadcasting in-race data to wider audiences has been trialled before. Commentators used to be able to access heart rate data on selected riders during races, and power meter maker SRM fitted GPS units to selected riders’ bikes in the 2005 Tour de France. None of the previous efforts have stuck, however.