The UCI has announced that on-bike cameras will be in use at next week’s Track Cycling World Championships in Paris. The footage will be broadcast live on the big screen at the National Velodrome and by the event’s various broadcasters.
To ensure fairness, all of the bikes in certain events will be mounted with a camera. The cameras will be fixed underneath the bike seats and will be directed to film the action taking place behind.
UCI president, Brian Cookson, commented:
“The UCI wishes to increase cycling’s appeal among the fans. We already introduced cameras and geo-localisation at the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, and have also carried out camera tests at the UCI Cyclocross World Cup. Now we will offer the public at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and television and internet viewers throughout the world the chance to experience track racing live from the inside for the first time.”
Last year, Cookson described on-bike video as being ‘the way to go’, adding: “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.”
For an example of how the footage might look, a camera was mounted to Luke Rowe’s bike for a recent round of the Revolution Series at Manchester Velodrome. The video can be seen here.
While on-bike footage from professional races has been seen on a number of occasions, there are certain challenges inherent in using it during a broadcast. In December, CyclingTips.com teamed up with Tom Reynolds and Andy Richardson to offer a live stream of footage during the Shimano Supercrit in Melbourne.
Like track cycling, a criterium offers a more straightforward environment in which to offer live pictures and while road racing presents additional challenges, Reynolds concluded that it would, in theory, be possible to live-stream a WorldTour event.
After this first experience in Paris next week, the UCI intends to use on-board cameras at other events on the UCI international track cycling calendar.