Robbie knows a thing or two about photo finishes, that sense of uncertainty all too familiar from his own racing days. But how does the technology actually work, and how do they decide who wins when it just seems too close to call?
Above the finish line sits the Timing and Photo Finish Box. Robbie chats to Bruno who has one of the most important jobs of the Tour: controlling the proceedings as the lead riders cross the line, harnessing three powerful cameras to capture the precise moment the race is won. Each camera takes 5000(!) pictures per second...it's fair to say they don't miss much. Two cameras are dedicated to providing data to the race officials while the third is just for television broadcasts.
The photos are then manually read by Bruno and the other analysts. It takes less than a minute to determine the positions of the first 21 across the line, and only five minutes to place the entire pack.
We've all found ourselves calling "baloney" at the television, thinking the cameras got it wrong. But in truth, the cameras are a lot better than our eyes, capable of analyzing each image down to a single pixel, which, depending on the riders speed is only a few millimeters across.
Think you called it better? The pixels don't lie.