Gone are the days of telling 'big fish' stories about your ride. When your speed and position in the peloton are constantly monitored, there's no room for minor exaggerations.
A big feature at this year's Tour de France is live data transmission. You may have noticed a small device attached to the rider's seat posts. That little black box is constantly transmitting info into the cloud and back to the data center to then be processed and presented to you, the viewer. It can be difficult sometimes to really understand just how fast, or how far apart the teams are: camera crews can't be everywhere at once. But with advances in modern technology, we can get closer to the race than ever before.
Robbie McEwen catches up with Peter from Dimension Data to find out more about this new insight into the heart of the race. Peter makes it all sound very simple, although we are pretty sure it's not. But basically, the devices are like small GPS systems that plot the rider's position and speed on the course and then send that information along with TV signals, bouncing off the planes up above, and back down to the data collection center in the trailer. That data is captured, digested, then presented online and sent out to television stations so you can see it live at home.
Not surprisingly, Dimension Data managed to capture some stunning, yet horrifying data from the massive crash on Stage 3. The information collected showed the peloton go from travelling at speeds up to 53 mph down to zero in a matter of seconds. That's a quick and painful way to stop when you only have a thin layer of Lycra between your skin and the tarmac.
We can't wait to see new applications of this technology and to see where it takes the Tour next!