New gadgets, but legs and sweat still key to Tour

Fri Jul 3, 2015 10:22am EDT
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By Julien Pretot

UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) - The 102nd Tour de France has some new high-tech toys this year as the famous old race reaches out to younger fans but those old staples, legs and courage, remain the recipe for victory.

Tour organizers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), GoPro and the teams struck a deal to have on-bike camera footage during the Tour and the Vuelta.

There will also be live tracking of individual riders, making it easier to spot them and giving real-time gaps and speed for those fans watching from their laptops.

"It's a world first. It's a real plus," ASO director general Yann Le Moenner told Reuters on Friday.

"We'll have a Tour that is more digital than ever with on-board cameras and a tracking system, which has never been used before in cycling."

On-board cameras, although there will be no live broadcasts, are an obvious lesson from Formula One as the sport tries to capture the experience for those sitting in armchairs.

"Gone are the days in running around in clapped out buses and such like ... major corporations are not really interested in that look, they want this that and the other and want to appeal to wider audiences," Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Sean Yates told Reuters.

"You get the hard core cycling fans who will watch, but in the mean time the generation worldwide, you have to bring in younger audiences.   Continued...

Movistar riders cycle during a team training session in Utrecht, Netherlands, July 3, 2015.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier