Is 2015 going to be the year that saw Cycling sprint to the forefront of modern sports broadcasting? Probably not, but perhaps the foundations are being laid.

It’s an exciting time to be a Cycling fan.

Thanks to the likes of Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram we now have intimate access to riders and races like never before. Teams are producing some great behind the scenes videos. Providing insight into everything from their training and recon rides, to inviting us into their hotel rooms at dinner. Now we too can be part of the Pro teams!


Orica Greenedge consistently put out the best race and team documentaries.

But way beyond all of that is a new bit of technology that appears to have caught the imagination of the Peloton. And it has the potential to completely revolutionise the way we experience bicycle races.

Actually, the technology isn’t new at all, but the willingness for riders to use it in races is both new and incredibly exciting.

I’m talking about on-bike cameras.

Usually mounted below the bars or under the saddle. The cameras are small, light, and unobtrusive. Yet the provide an insight into the Pro peloton that just hasn’t been possible before.

This raw footage lets the viewer feel every vibration from the road. Hear every painful groan as the rider embarks on an infamous climb. And experience the true terror of a professional team lead-out in the last KM of a race.

The closest thing we have right now to my vision is Velon. A collaboration between eleven Pro Teams which aims to “bring the race alive from the rider’s perspective, showing the fans what it’s like from the saddle.” It’s a huge leap in the right direction and I hope they can continue to expand their services beyond showcasing some great footage post-race.


Imagine the possibilities!

Every rider could be issued with a front and rear facing camera that has the ability to stream live footage to your computer or TV. Imagine if you were able to choose who you rode onboard with. All live. And all while you watch and listen to the commentary provided by the TV companies.

Follow the break as it happens, or sit in the bunch and enjoy the banter with your favourite GC rider. It would make for some amazing viewing.

It’s entirely possible. Sadly I doubt it will happen any time soon. Obviously this would be a subscription or Pay Per View service. I’d buy in to it though!

But wait! Let’s take the idea one step further. Riders are issued with timing chips anyway, and they all use a GPS device. Why not use that to pinpoint their exact locations and update that in real time, too? We’d always know where our favourite riders were, or who was in the breakaway. We’d also finally have consistently accurate time-gaps!

I’d have to draw the line at live power and physiological data. That’s no good. We can’t have Contador knowing the Froome is about to blow for example on the deciding stage of the Tour De France. However, a bit of openness regarding this post-race would be more than welcome.

A quick look at how the viewer could interact with this new technology

ONBOARDING

I would love to spend more time thinking this through a bit more, but sadly projects at my day job and training have to take priority.

Left side – The videos

  • Main race video feed
  • Any ‘onboard’ video feed you have chosen to view. In this example I’m watching on board footage from all groups. I could however choose additional feeds.
  • Elevation profile of the route, and where on the course riders are.

Right side – Interactions

  • Main race timeline. Updated in real-time would show exactly who is in what position.
  • Every rider could have stats and video feed options.
    • Option to stream their onboard camera
    • The team they ride for
    • Their Twitter feed
    • More information
    • Etc
  • Switch between live race feed, Social media feeds, and race details
  • Elevation profile of the route, and where on the course riders are.

This example only scrapes the surface of what’s possible. We could introduce 3D charts, or integrate Strava segments. The possibilities are endless. I just really wish there was a way to make this a reality.