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World first for RideLondon women's race this Saturday - live on-bike video on TV

Laura Trott, Giorgia Bronzini and Emma Johansson will have cameras on their bikes this weekend for BBC

London will this weekend host a world first for television coverage of road racing as, for the first time ever, live footage shot from riders’ bikes will be included in a broadcast of a race as it happens – Saturday evening’s Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix, featuring many of the world’s top female riders.

Cameras will be attached to the bikes of three of the sport’s biggest stars – Matrix Pro Cycling’s Laura Trott, winner of the inaugural edition of the race, last year’s victor and double world champion Giorgia Bronzini of Wiggle-Honda, and world and Olympic medallist Emma Johansson of Orica-AIS.

In men’s racing, many riders and staff from UCI WorldTour teams belonging to the Velon joint venture were equipped with GoPro cameras and produced some often enthralling footage, but live pictures during a race was thought to be at least a year or two in the future.

So the organisers of Prudential RideLondon – and the women’s side of the sport – will be pulling off something of a coup on Saturday evening when BBC2’s coverage of the race, which starts at 6pm, includes live images taken from on-board the bikes.

One advantage they have which makes that possible is that Saturday evening’s race takes place on a tight, 1.3-mile circuit around St James’s Park, on which radio frequency nodes will be positioned to pass the footage on – a very different proposition from, say, a 200-kilometre Tour de France stage on which TV images need to be relayed via a plane flying above the route.

Century TV, Prudential RideLondon’s host broadcast partner, has developed the technology with Belgium-based facilities provider, Videohouse-Eurolinx/BRF. Its managing director, Rohan Browning, said: “Cycling is entering a new era in broadcasting. Lots of people have wanted to provide on-bike live coverage for years.

“We’ve seen it successfully used in post-production as well as recently in the velodrome, but everyone wants to see it used live on the roads. The technology has always been a limiting factor, as well as battery life and weight.

“Now, thanks to Videohouse-Eurolinx/BRF, the technology is in place which allows us to bring these new techniques into cycling for the first time. It’s a brilliant development and hopefully will provide fantastic live pictures.

Event director Hugh Brasher commented: “This announcement demonstrates that the Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling continues to break new ground, not only in cycling but in broadcasting too.

“We are delighted that this world-class race will be shown live on BBC2, and even more pleased that the host broadcasters have chosen the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix to showcase this revolutionary technology, which I’m sure we’ll soon see reproduced in other cycling events around the world,” he added.

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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