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Governing body's video trial looks to pay immediate dividends with footage shot from on-board John Degenkolb's bike in ToC stage one sprint

Last month, UCI president Brian Cookson said that the future of TV coverage of professional cycling could include footage taken by on-bike cameras to give fans of the sport an unprecedented view from inside the peloton - so does the use of video cameras on several bikes in the Tour of California herald the first sign of this in action?

When the video cameras mounted to bikes producing thrilling action shots like this of John Degenkolb’s sprint in the opening stage of the US race, where he was narrowly beaten by Mark Cavendish, we’re inclined to think this can only be a good step for the sport.

Other sports, like Formula 1, have been far more progressive with the use of car mounted video cameras with great effect and some have been calling for a similar step forward in professional cycling for a good few years.

The video above was shot on Shimano’s new CM-1000 camera which hasn’t been released yet (so this is a handy bit of publicity for the company) with one attached to the front of Degenkolb’s handlebars via a K-Edge mount, and another on his leadout rider Ken Hanson, mounted to his seatpost.

The video gives a rare insight into the speed, energy, excitement and danger of the bunch sprint. The speed is extremely high, the wheels close and there’s a lot of shouting. Notice Degenkolb hovering his fingers over the brake levers early in the sprint. It's a rare insight into the sprint finish. 

Speaking last month at the SportAccord convention of international sporting bodies, Cookson said: "One of the biggest challenges – not just for cycling, but for many sports – is the need to evolve while staying true to the essence of your sport. How do you progress and embrace innovation in order to make the spectator and viewer feel even more engaged?

"We will look at technology such as cameras on bikes and in team cars to see how they can be used to enhance the viewer experience. Imagine being able to share the view of Chris Froome as he rose up Mount Ventoux or came up the Champs-Elysees to win last summer’s Tour de France. And why stop at cameras - what about having microphones on bikes or sharing rider data on screen.”

The UCI responed to our request for clarification by saying: "For the moment there is no rule change on this matter. This is a project at the UCI to allow the use of cameras. At the Tour of California, some derogations have been given to test the use of cameras in real conditions."

We also contacted the Tour of California race organisers and they told us: "the UCI has granted us permission to use Shimano Sports cameras on bikes."

Do you want to see more of this on-board footage from races?

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

48 comments

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Miles253 [198 posts] 2 years ago
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That is cool, could really help mix it up in key moves within the race

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lookmanohands [119 posts] 2 years ago
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That was great footage. Wayyyy better than seeing somebody get overtaken by a fat w@nker in a car while on their mobile. it would really bring the sport bang upto date in terms of viewing experience. Come on uci time to step out of the wool shorts and jersey era.

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localsurfer [200 posts] 2 years ago
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That was awesome! They could even encourage teams to do it by allowing a weight benefit. Stick a camera or two on your bike, and you can knock 500g off the UCI weight limit, for example.

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Scoob_84 [379 posts] 2 years ago
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That gives you a great sense of what it must be like in the pack. Awesome footage  41 41

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mrmo [2067 posts] 2 years ago
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feel seasick now...

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nebz [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Now that was fantastic. It really brings you into the action. I had a huge grin on my face as I watched it, so a huge thumbs up from me.  41

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Martyn_K [183 posts] 2 years ago
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Fantastic images. It is certainly time that cycling got up to date with TV coverage. While it will probably be a long while before live pictures are beamed from a bike, onboard cameras saving to memory for highlights packages can easily happen.

Most bikes are counterweighted anyway in order to bring them up to UCI regs, so potentially any bike on the pro tours could be camera rigged.

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Ridededog [3 posts] 2 years ago
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I would LOVE to see that in a way that F1 races does it, making it live (using live streaming from the camera as the race is happening)  105

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Leviathan [1885 posts] 2 years ago
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Cool, did he just loose energy at 1:02 or did he know he couldn't beat Cav with 25m left to go?

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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It was all going so well for him until 50 secs when a little red white and blue flash dashed across the scene!  103

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NeilG83 [285 posts] 2 years ago
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Now we know why Degenkolb lost by a couple of inches. It was the extra weight and loss of aerodynamics from carrying that camera.  4

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SteppenHerring [328 posts] 2 years ago
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NeilG83 wrote:

Now we know why Degenkolb lost by a couple of inches. It was the extra weight and loss of aerodynamics from carrying that camera.  4

The thing is, since bikes can be built far under the UCI weight limit then adding stuff like cameras, power meters, cadence sensors, bells and the Herman Safety Wing have become the norm.

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FlatBattery [26 posts] 2 years ago
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More of that please!

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Mart [110 posts] 2 years ago
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More of this please, even if the footage is only showen in the highlights after the race.
Hearing the communication between riders and the crowds cheer is great, much better than from a motorbike. Although all angles have their benefits this will add to them.

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wellcoordinated [207 posts] 2 years ago
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Great footage, but aren't there too many technical issues here that make this nothing more than a tease? For instance the camera can't transmit live pictures.Then there's the battery life of the camera (2 hours). I guess they could fit a dynamo?  4

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bikebot [1793 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh my, that was rather good.

I don't know how raw that edit was but I hope the sound is also the original, very little wind rush which couldn't have been easy.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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Good steps for the future.
I think asking for stuff like this live in TV is a big ask, for highlights it's brilliant though, gives people an insight to the peloton.

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Cantab [93 posts] 2 years ago
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 41 41 Cracking footage, gives a perspective on (in?) the lead out train that you just don't get from the moped or helicopter cameras. The onboard cameras in F1 make coverage of the sport significantly better, doing the same to cycling TV coverage will only help to make it more accessible to the mainstream!  4

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Wolfshade [185 posts] 2 years ago
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Brilliant, can you imagine if they also broad cast live?

Remember the multi-angle thing they did for football, well imagine being able to pick a rider and view it from them, fore or aft?

It looks so much quicker than seeing the arial shots or from the camera car!

Huzzah to the UCI!

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Cambat [12 posts] 2 years ago
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Check this comparison of the new Sony HDR-AS100 Action Cam out against a Go Pro 3. Notice the stabilisation on it. Quite a few other nice touches on it too. £350 big ones make it quite competitive.

http://youtu.be/rj4e1maVDF8

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dafyddp [346 posts] 2 years ago
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Superb! Although, I'd like to see the live broadcast technology nailed first - watching the ToC last night on Eurosport, the ariel view was fine, but the in-race footage was pretty ropey with lots of juddering and sudden drop-out.

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therevokid [932 posts] 2 years ago
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not sure I fancy watching when a "prang" occurs !!!
think of the language, the bleep machines would melt under
the load  1

... but ... that was brill  1 ... defo need more of that

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aslongasicycle [383 posts] 2 years ago
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I dunno. Its all a bit exciting and dynamic for me. Change is bad.

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mooleur [537 posts] 2 years ago
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aslongasicycle wrote:

I dunno. Its all a bit exciting and dynamic for me. Change is bad.

"Don't like change" - sounding a bit Manx there fella! ;P

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graham_f [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Would love to see that from Cav's perspective  1

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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dafyddp wrote:

Superb! Although, I'd like to see the live broadcast technology nailed first - watching the ToC last night on Eurosport, the ariel view was fine, but the in-race footage was pretty ropey with lots of juddering and sudden drop-out.

ToC coverage in general is pretty shocking I think so far.
They just can't seem to get it right.

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notfastenough [3673 posts] 2 years ago
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Top top stuff. Just a shame the camera didn't have a wider angle - I was expecting Cav to come into shot.

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Roberj4 [218 posts] 2 years ago
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More...  41 41 41 encore...  41 41

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zanf [811 posts] 2 years ago
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Someone did a comp of the race footage along side the bikecam footage:

http://youtu.be/rbPAc4CREAI

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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This is what we need, takes us in the middle of the action, anybody who watches motorsport knows this is the way forward, I would like them to the use the Giro-Cam that MotoGP have though if that's possible, that keeps the camera perfectly in line, I guess that may require motors though.

But a great start, can't wait for more of this

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