Tour de France goes high-tech with GoPro footage and live rider tracking

tour de france gopro dimension team giant
Pro cycling team consortium Velon and ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation, the Tour de France organizer) have partnered with GoPro to produce awesome video of this year’s Tour. Footage from team cars, mechanics, bikes, and more will be available viewers. In addition, ASO will offer real-time live tracking for all teams, a first in the history of the tour.

All 22 teams participating in the Tour will use GoPro cameras during the race, with at least eight teams actively providing footage each stage. Testing of live bike-mounted footage will begin with neutral service of Stage 2. Viewers can go to Velon’s website and social media pages to see the videos. GoPro will also show some of the shots its their YouTube channel. There’s an example of the possbilities in this vid:

GoPro’s set produce “Ride of the Day” videos chosen from the social community; if you have some awesome footage you can go its Facebook page to submit to the contest. The daily winner gets a cycling kit, and the grand prize is a trip for two to the final stages of the Tour.

This isn’t the first time Velon organized filming for a major race. The team group previously worked with RCS, the organizer of the Giro d’Italia to push bike camera footage from the Giro. The partnership with GoPro is a first, however, as the shooting at the Giro was done using a variety of action cams, including the Shimano Sportcamera and the Garmin Virb.

The tracking feature, provided by Dimension Data, will work using trackers placed under riders’ saddles. Dimension has a finished analytics and delivery platform that it plans to use to share real-time speed and peloton info with the media and the public. The stats will also be archived. They’ll also do daily stat vids; SPOILER ALERT: check out day one below.

The Criterium du Dauphine served as the test race for Dimension Data’s analytics. The tracking website, built to support 17 million viewers and 2,000 page requests a second is supposed to be up and running. For now, Dimension Data offers the Daily Data Wrap, which includes the speed of the winner at the finish, top speed overall, average speed and time per kilometer, average and top daily speeds across all riders, longest leader, time spread between first and last riders, and more. Add to that their app, Dimension Data Augment, that viewers can use to see new specs overlaid on the race and the 102 Tour de France might set a new standard for the type of stats and interaction viewers expect from their sports broadcasts.

NBC Sports, the only other website to offer a functional live race tracker at the time of this writing, charges $30 for either the entire race or $5 per day.

Velon is a consortium of pro cycling teams that went public a little under a year ago. Of the 17 World Tour teams, 11 are Velon members, including BMC, Belkin, Cannondale-Garmin, Giant-Shimano, and Tinkoff-Saxo. GoPro’s Youtube channel and Hero camera line have made them a leader in action sports recording. At Velon’s inception, the organization stated the aim to bring more action to bike racing’s television production. The partnership between Velon and GoPro is set to continue after the tour; Velon will feature race footage for the rest of the season.

Edited 7-7-2015: changed link to Velon website video page

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