• Mark Blackwell

    Like Matt Keenan says, I can see where they’re going with this, and it’s a good direction, but it’s pretty obvious that what exists right now is the collision of a thought bubble from someone senior (“on screen data!”) and the practical reality as implemented by engineers on the ground. Fact is that calculating instantaneous speed from GPS data and instantaneous gradient from altimeter data results in bouncy, often meaningless output.

    This is probably part of the reason why it doesn’t help commentators tell the story, because what’s presented on screen quite often conflicts with what is clearly happening on the road… the commentator just starts gesticulating about Froome’s amazing attack or somesuch, tries to tell everyone that Froomey is going 3km/h faster, but then suddenly it’s not true, and the commentator looks foolish.

    • Even the Tour Tracker app (which is whitelabled by the likes of Cyclingnews, SBS, etc) which does a remarkable job is an extremely manual process of using stopwatches, gathering data by viewing the race on tv, communications with commissaire cars, etc. That said, there are some technical marvels in there as well.

      Calculating time gaps is also a very manual process. What you see on TV are timegaps between in-race motos, not necessarily between the peloton. The time gaps used within the race are often manually calculated by the commissaire.

  • Jessy Vee

    As a viewer, all of this extra data is very exciting and adds additional value when watching a live stage. But as a lover of bicycle racing, I’m wary that it’s turning into a numbers game and our sport of passion with riders making decisions for themselves on the road is well behind us. And that makes me sad.

    • DaGoose

      Totally agree Jessy. As all the teams have this data available to them it wouldn’t be hard to know how much effort is needed and where to catch breaks etc. How long before Sky (or any of the teams) start employing pure mathematicians working remotely in a dark dungeon somewhere crunching live data and feeding it back to riders to tell them exactly what wattage is needed. Or is this already happening?

      • Dave

        Many teams are having the DS sit in the front passenger seat on targeted stages now, so they can devote more attention to playing the 1:1 scale version of Pro Cycling Manager.

        • Jessy Vee

          I used to love that game. :D

      • It’s already being done. Sky helped Wiggins win the 2012 TdF through some simple math and power to weight calculations based on the climbs and TT’s.

        • Robert Merkel

          And back in the bad old days too.

          There’s the infamous tale of Ferrari calling Bruyneel in the team car when Pantani went on the attack in the 2000 tour, telling them not to panic because there was no way Pantani could maintain the power he was putting out for long.

          The riders *know* what they’re capable of, and have a pretty fair idea what their rivals can do. Power meters make this a bit more precise, but not much.

    • Dave

      Data for the viewer is great, and there should be more of it. I ride myself, and I find it easier to appreciate the race if I know that a 6% climb (like the road on the way to the shops for me) is being ridden at 23 km/h.

      It’s the same when I watch Formula 1 – the on-screen graphics help the viewer get a better appreciation of the race situation at the times when it’s spread out too far to see on one live camera shot.

      The electronic rider aids are bad though. There should be absolutely no two-way radio (a non-vocal transmitter with a couple of buttons used to send requests for mechanical support or a crash/emergency would be sufficient) and the power meter head units should be stuck under the saddle like in track races where they are only permitted for post-race analysis.

  • Cameron Harris

    It was interesting that the commissaires did not rely on the telemetry data to resolve the issue of #runningmangate on stage 12 to Ventoux. Instead, they chose to assign Porte & Froome the time that Mollema logged at the finish line, notwithstanding the fact that Mollema will have lost time from being involved in the crash as well.

    It would be interesting to see the difference in GC result had the time gap at the time of the crash been given to all three crashed & recovered riders. I presume this is to avoid the creation of precedent.

  • Damien

    can’t wait to see froome’s inside fiftys, contested possessions and clearances


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