Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cycling on TV

Classic Cycling on TV

I’ve recently noticed that most of the guys on the team are getting their international racing fix from Versus and the two major internet providers – and For those who do not know the absolute best source of racing info is: is a subscription based internet provider of live race coverage for virtually every major bike race in the world. The commentary is in English and you virtually have front row seating for coverage. If you have checked the front seat of the team managers’ cars at major bike races you see a couple of critical communication systems – one of them is a television set. Typically the team director is monitoring the following:
Race Radio – this is official race information from the commissaries who control team cars and everything happening in the race. This is also the major source of info to the director for riders in the breaks, time splits, and all movement of vehicles in the race
Team Radios – each team and their riders are connected with an encrypted radio system. The riders have ear pieces and small mics that allow them to talk among themselves and the team director. Generally some of the staff (soigneurs and assistant directors) are also on the team radio for info along the course.
Cell Phones – teams also communicate with staff during the race via cell phones and often relay some critical details of course conditions, rider needs, etc as the race is often miles from a potential problem (or opportunity).
Television – most of the major races are broadcast in real time and with modern transmission systems the cars can get live TV in the car.

The television is probably one of the best methods to actually “see” what is happening at the front of the race as things develop. While the director gets info from the Commissaries it first has to be radio transmitted from the motor Coms to the Chief Com, who then decides what to relay to the team cars. There is always some delay and often some incorrect info relay from the moto Coms. By watching the TV an experienced director can recognize team and rider actions as they are happening and make an immediate and accurate call to his team. The speed of information to the directors and riders these days is virtually instantaneous, but even more important is the ability of the director to read the race and relay items to the team. is without a doubt the best way to learn how to race and I recommend everyone sign up for the coverage. You get to see the front of the race as team and rider tactics play out and more than anything you get to watch when and how everything develops.

There are a number event coverage options, but the most expensive is only $99 for a year’s coverage of the major races. You pay for a package and then log in to and watch the race live on your computer. You can also watch the highlight videos for a few days after each race whenever you have time. The stage races are cool, but the absolute must see racing is right now with the one day classics.

All the best,

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