Vuelta introducing F1-style innovations
Vuelta organisers Unipublic are aiming to spice up TV coverage of the race by offering some exciting
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Unipublic’s campaign to reinvigorate the Vuelta after the last two editions were hit by high-profile doping scandals will include some intriguing innovations that could seriously boost interest in the Spain’s national tour. The race organisers have already announced a major change in weekend scheduling, bringing six of the eight weekend stages forwards so that TV companies can more easily show more of the race during this busy sporting season. In addition, Spanish TV is planning to increase the number of mid-stage interviews it carries out with team managers. However, unllike at the Tour de France, for example, where interviews are carried out over the phone and with previously recorded images, these interviews with be carried out via a micro-camera installed in team cars. As well as face-to-face interviews, fans will also be able to hear team directors talking to their riders, as well as replies from the riders. Given the strategic nature of many of the instructions passing back and forth, directors will be warned about when the camera in their car is going live so that key tactical information is not given away to rival teams via TV. Another innovation is likely to take fans closely than ever before to the race action. While cameras mounted on bikes have been seen before, the Vuelta is planning to mount another micro-camera on the seatpost of a rider, but looking backwards at riders following him rather than forwards at the backs of riders in front. The hope is that by having this camera on the bike of a key domestique each day, fans will be able to see how the main players in the race are performing. For example, on a day when a sprint is likely, the camera could be mounted on the bike of one of Milram’s lead-out men so that it can follow Alessandro Petacchi’s movements in a sprint. As well as vision, the camera will also transmit sound. A different rider will carry this 100-gram camera each day. Those who cannot watch on TV aren’t being left out either. If you’ve got a web connection during stages, check out Google Earth for the ultimate bird’s eye view of the race. Real-time satellite pictures will enable fans to follow the action from the ultimate eye in the sky. One innovation that the Vuelta brought in and other races have copied is being discarded by the Spanish race. The transmission of information from riders’ pulsemonitors has been canned as teams refused to let their leaders be monitored. Consequently, riders selected for this coverage have tended to be out of contention and of little interest from the competitive point of view.