What cycling can learn from sailing

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10/8/2013| 0 comments
by Neil Browne
America's Cup vs. Cycling A.S.O.

What cycling can learn from sailing

Cycling broadcasting needs to dragged into the 21st century.

seat). I’m suggesting that when there is some excitement they switch to the onboard camera to get the action. Danish television has already done so with select teams during the Tour de France. By doing this, we get the urgency of the wheel change to the excitement of a director when he realizes his rider is about to win. Remember Marc Madiot’s car door pounding enthusiasm during stage 8 of the 2013 Tour de France? How great would that have looked from the inside of the team car? You can’t tell me that wouldn’t have made highlight reels during the evening news.

It’s my understanding that the UCI prohibits the use of onboard bike cameras as it would infringe on broadcasting rights of the race organizers. I suggest everyone get together (by “everyone” I mean the UCI, team owners, and some kind of rider’s representative who actually has some pull) and hammer out an agreement. If new UCI president Brian Cookson is serious about changing cycling, this might be one way to show he’s willing to bring the sport into the 21st century. Roadcycling.com is still waiting for an interview with Mr. Cookson.

This is not to condemn the whole UCI. The UCI has a dedicated YouTube channel which broadcasts races, post-race interviews, and highlights of many disciplines in cycling in high definition – not just road racing.

However, one irritation was that the road world championships broadcast was geo-restricted in the States, so no live viewing for us in the colonies. I suspect that has something to do with a licensing agreement with Universal Sports who broadcasted the race – with highlights available in the videos section here on Roadcycling.com.

Even the most die-hard cycling fans know the first couple of hours of a stage have all the gripping action of a charity ride. For some fans even watching a time trial is a snoozer. Integrating available broadcasting technology into the broadcast booth would only enhance the viewer’s appreciation. Want to explain why the peloton is riding at a 45-degree angle down the road? A graphic showing the wind direction would clearly illustrate the reason. Want to see why a team went to the front? A camera onboard the team car would show the director’s strategy for the move. Again, how exciting would it be to see and hear Brian Holm yelling at his riders to attack – as viewers in Denmark have been able to?

I know this plan can’t happen with the snap of a finger. Some directors aren’t going to be keen about cameras pointed at them for six hours. I also know there are some legality issues that would need to be ironed out so cameras could be mounted on bikes. Also, we’d need a new breed of race commentator who is well versed in the new technology. However, if we don’t even consider new ideas the sport of cycling is going to plod along as new viewers are attracted to other sports. I, for one, am now a fan of America’s Cup and will always tune

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