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  • Steve

    Guess its fingers crossed that ‘ black spotted cow on the side of the road’ doesn’t go wandering’ in the meantime.

    Have always wondered when the change will come to race coverage when the data is analysed to fill the time rather than having Paul Sherwen tell us the same phrases day in day out: ‘burying himself, ‘Big’ Thor/Jens/Tom/George, heads of state, in for the kill, his hammer being down, turning the screw, yellow jersey gives you the power of ten men’. Indeed please can you add a Phil and Paul bingo call card for your coverage. What  will be the most used phrase this year?

    Wouldn’t even mind a little bit about the equipment being used on a specific stage just to compare the PRO to the UNPRO that i am. But then i presume the last thing rival teams want to give out is all their secrets

  • Tim Rowe

    Forget the ardosier – I’m currently working on software that will bring this data straight back to any rider using Pebble :)  Sadly the UCI regs ban it for road cycling… actually, the wording is “Except in mountain biking…”.  Which is fine, because it’s fantastic for XCM, and still useful for XCO.

    • Anonymous

      Interesting. I made a website (http://raceshape.com) to view the how the timegap changes for Strava segments. Basically computes a time gap every second and plots it. Doing this real-time would be better, but communicating between devices is the catch.

  • lekoshe

    No wonder they’re always wrong at the Giro, they’re all shouting at each other in Italian over the radio!

    Good to see that there is a technological solution. It’ll take a few years to get past the mediocrity police at the UCI though.

    • Notso Swift

       UCI are more worried about sock height than improving the fans interface

  • jules

    the problem with GPS is that its accuracy can be flaky. you only need to look at short Strava segments (e.g. 300m) to find some wacked out times – people doing 47 km/h up short steep hills with valid HR data to suggest they were really riding.

  • Paul

    Thanks for the article.  I was wondering this too.  

    The problem with using landmark/stationary based calculations is that by the moment the pack gets to the landmark, the time gap may have changed.  Maybe this is why 30-40s gaps can seem to go to nothing really fast as the pack is ramping it up.    

    • jules

      good point. what would be useful is info on the rate of change for the gap, rather than just the gap itself. i notice they have that in the F1 broadcasts.

  • Angellawry

    Really nice piece, thx

  • Notso Swift

    I think I would ride faster for Claire

  • Jim

    One thing I’d really like to see is actual speed.
    I would’ve thought this could be done quite easily at least for the TV feeds from the motorbikes, by pacing the riders and getting a readout from the motor bikes speedo.

  • Nico

    How are time gaps on the finish line calculated? How big of a bunch will receive the same time and how big must the gap between riders be before they are allocated different times?

    • As for the UCI rules:

      2.3.040  All riders in a given bunch shall be credited with the same time when they cross the finishing line.
      Timekeeper-commissaires shall continue to officiate until the broom wagon arrives. They shall also
      record the times of riders that finish after the set deadlines and shall hand the list of recorded times
      to the president of the commissaires panel.

      • jules

        also, my understanding is that  bunch = all riders crossing with less than 1 second gap to the rider in front of them

  • Chamach

    Mlle Pedrono is an “ardoisier”, not an “ardosier”. Just for precision… Thanks for that explanation !

  • Giovanni

    It would be terrific to see the road gradient displayed on TV during the big mountain stages, unless youve ridden the road yourself, TV never does it justice.

    • Robert Merkel

      The Giro, Vuelta, and some of the Belgian classics provide this information, though not continuously. 

      The Tour TV coverage omits this stuff by choice.

      • Tomtom

         Do you know why the Tour TV chooses not to show this?

  • will

    Nice Post.

    For me the important take-away about time gaps is that they are a look into the past.

    If a break-away rider is 5 kms from finish and the TV posts a time perhaps a 2″ gap, it is saying that the perhaps at the 6,5 km (or whatever) to go point, the leader was 2″ ahead.  

    The gap may have closed significantly by the time the chasers get to the 5 km mark

  • Just appreciate all these boys. Really lovely show at all. Really I was looking forward to read about it. Thanks for this allocation. :lol:

  • Aaron Smith

    Actually very close but slightly wrong. The clue to how the timing is done is in your photo. Myself & a good friend had the fantastic job at the worlds in Geelong of being what is call “info moto” Two motorbikes operate by doing as you say riding up the road, stopping, taking a time gap with a stop watch & then radio that back to the cheif comms car. In with the cheif com is a man who virtually does not stop talking on another radio band. He does nothing but give out time gaps and other info to team cars, other coms etc. After doing this job, i’ve closely watched what happens at the other races. In your photo you can see a white / brown bike. They are the guys taking the time gaps. Which in turn the timing moto (yellow) gets the signal. That’s what happens at major races anyway. Smaller races like the Sun Tour it is the timing moto that does both jobs. 

  • This may be a stupid question but here goes.  When you see the Average speed at the end of a stage, is this calculated from the rider/s telemetry or via the motorbike or by whom/what?  Im certain it cant be from the motorbike as you see them zoom past all the time, which would boots the overall average.  So if thats not the answer what is???

    • Rad

      Race Distance/Elapsed time

    • Greg Keller

       Wouldn’t they just divide the stage length and the winner’s time?

  • Considering there is already a minimum weight, they could just mandate the carrying of GPS/telemetry gear. GPS can be very accurate if you want it to be (costs money, but this is top level sports). 5Hz GPS is standard entry level motorsport, and you can get 10/20Hz – and the bikes aren’t going that fast compared to motorsport. You could then have speed, accel, gradient, etc. And the transmitters wouldn’t need to be very big, cos the receivers could be on the official motorbikes, which are very close. I’m guessing you could get a complete package for around 500grams (mildly informed guess). Have a look at F1: the FIA mandate carrying of cameras, etc for viewing/TV coverage.

  • Le Scamp

    What happens when a rider has to change bikes?  Do you think cycle racing has become too technical?

  • Michal

    Thanks for interesting info.


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