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On-bike video “the way to go” for cycling, says UCI president Brian Cookson (+ videos)

Governing body permits on-board footage at world championships, cameras catch spectacular crash

UCI president Brian Cookson says that on-bike video is “the way to go” for cycling. He was speaking in a video produced by the governing body that incorporates some footage from the women’s road race at last week’s world championships in Ponferrada, including a spectacular crash.

It’s the first time that cameras on bikes have been allowed at a world championships, following successful trials at a number of races throughout the season, and certainly the insider’s view of the peloton the footage provides has proved to be a hit with fans.

“Cycling’s one of the most brilliant sports in that it comes to you, it’s free to watch by the roadside pretty much,” said Cookson. “That’s something we want to extend and expand, improving the viewer experience by making on-board cameras, geo-location technology, all that sort of thing.”

In a comment to the YouTube video, one of the riders whose bike was fitted with a camera, Latvia’s Dana Rozlapa, said of the crash: “I came out really lucky! We actually were doing 70km/h at this particular moment so scraping asphalt at these speeds are not what you call valuable experience.”

Others making comments on YouTube queried why the voiceover on the video stated that no riders had been injured in the crash when in fact several were taking to hospital including three members of the Canadian team, one of whom sustained a broken clavicle and another a fractured hip.

Currently, technological limitations mean that it isn’t possible for on-bike footage to be incorporated into live TV broadcasts, but Cookson is confident that will change in the future.

He said: “There are problems with transmission, with bandwidth, with battery weight and the equipment that’s needed and so on,” Cookson continued.

“But I think we all know that in our ordinary lives, that technology is improving all the time, smartphones are getting smarter.

“We are trying to progress, we are forward-thinking, we are not trying to restrict technology, we are trying to embrace it and use it to benefit our sport.”

He concluded: “This is obviously the way to go for cycling.”

Here’s some more footage from Ponferrada, courtesy of Shimano Race TV which has lots of other on-bike videos shot throughout the season on its YouTube channel.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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