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Live on-bike Tour de France footage could be broadcast in two years’ time

GoPro working towards having a camera on every bike in the peloton

Live footage from every single bike in the peloton could be possible within two years, according to GoPro. The action camera firm believes that a modified version of the technology it is currently using in MotoGP and the NHL could be produced that would meet the particular demands of road racing.

On-bike video from races is now relatively common and this year also saw memorable footage of the aftermath of stage three’s horrendous crash recorded by a camera worn by an ORICA-GreenEDGE team mechanic. However, broadcasting live is another matter altogether.

Live footage from on-bike cameras was trialled at the Track World Championships earlier this year, but there are greater challenges for road racing where those involved are not confined to a specific place.

GoPro’s director of lifestyle marketing Todd Ballard told VeloNews that the firm’s HEROcast live-stream system, which is currently employed in MotoGP and the NHL, could be adapted to meet the specific demands of cycling. “We don’t have a timeline, but sooner is better. We have a team right now working on that broadcast technology.”

Ballard says the equipment would need to be smaller and highly mobile, but is confident this will happen. “I would love for it to be next year, but that seems a little soon,” he said.

The goal for the short-term is a little less ambitious. He simply wants to prove that the footage produced can be compelling for viewers and can add something to coverage of the race.

“I think already we have captured some amazing moments of the race, like the ORICA-GreenEDGE piece. No one has ever seen that before. Or the Tony Martin win from the perspective of all the other members on the team. For me, I got goosebumps watching it. I haven’t ever seen stuff like that and not many other people have either.”

At present, around 110 hours of footage are being recorded each day via 12 or more riders in the peloton plus assorted team staff. It is a lot to boil down to one three-minute clip each day (all that is permitted to protect the video rights bought by television broadcasters). However, Ballard believes that those involved will get better at what he calls ‘content ingestion’ and once they do, it will hopefully then be time to move into live streaming.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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