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Feeling pretty good about your power numbers? Think you can hang with Van der Poel? Much of the credit for why we even have access to those numbers lies with Velon, which has now officially announced a formal partnership with digital services specialist EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) to bring an enhanced suite of live-tracking data metrics to fans. It’s an offering they’re calling VelonLive.
If you’ve been following professional road racing over the last year or so, you’re likely already familiar with what Velon has been doing, bringing viewers a Formula 1-style presentation with real-time updates on riders’ speeds, power, cadence, heart rate, and more.
“Velon has worked with EY in the past, but they have now chosen to broaden and deepen the relationship with us and make the collaboration official,” Velon CEO Graham Bartlett told CyclingTips. “In the past, we’ve worked on a web and app strategy. For the new deal, we’re focused on improving the web-based race centre first, making the experience online much better for the fans.
“You’ll see a revamped race centre on Velon for the Giro, but it’s still something we, together with this advanced relationship with EY, will keep improving as the season goes on and beyond.”
According to Bartlett, much of those improvements are directly attributable to the expertise that EY brings to the table.
“EY have been making a lot of updates and improvements to how the backend data delivery works – making the delivery of the data feed much more reliable and consistent, which is important for the fan experience,” he said. “The way we will use the data with our race partners and their broadcasters will also improve.
“For instance, if you compare how we were able to show the data for [the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race] and how we can show comparisons, averages, and other graphics for [the Tour of] Flanders, a lot of that is down to the improvements EY are making with us.”
“For elite cyclists, racing is a passion,” said 2017 Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin. “Sharing our race data with fans adds a new, exciting dimension to the sport, and it’s great that we can make fans part of our journey in better and closer ways than ever before.”
Fans will be able to access the live data via a VelonLive app and website. General viewing aside, this development should allow race commentators, media outlets, and race organizers to analyze race situations differently, while also opening up deeper conversations on race tactics, such as during post-race interviews.
While we haven’t seen a final calendar, VelonLive data is expected for more than 100 days of racing around the world each year, beginning with the 2019 Giro d’Italia, which begins May 11 in Bologna, Italy. It will also include be available for the Hammer Series.
As far as VelonLive has come so far, Bartlett confesses that there’s still a long way to go.
“Everything from the hardware we use, the backend capture system, the way the race broadcasters can use the data, and the new race centre online are better than what they were back in January last year,” he said. “But to the fan, the improvements and changes from those days and where we are today may seem slight. I want to be honest here; we are definitely not saying we’ve cracked this. Far from it.
“We see massive opportunity to improve the experience for the fans and with EY fully on board, that’s our focus. There are so many more ways we can improve to truly take the fans inside the sport.”