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Home » Cycling » It’s Time for Changes in Pro Cycling Coverage – Simple Solutions to Keep the Peloton on the Right Side of the Grass, Pumping Air.

It’s Time for Changes in Pro Cycling Coverage – Simple Solutions to Keep the Peloton on the Right Side of the Grass, Pumping Air.


Antoine Demoitié : 1990-2016 – http://wp.me/p1Wg03-fYd

A young racer was killed after he was involved in a crash.  According to reports he survived the bike crash but was run over by a media motorcycle.  It cannot be emphasized enough how ridiculously senseless the loss of a 25 year-old young man is because a motorcycle carrying a TV camera was too close to the cyclists to avoid running a kid over after the crash.

It’s not just Antoine.  According to a linked article;

In 2015, the list of riders injured by race motos included Tinkoff riders Peter Sagan and Sergio Paulinho, both at the Vuelta a España; Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) at Clásica San Sebastián; and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) at the Tour de France. At the 2015 Ronde van Vlaanderen, Shimano neutral service cars took out both Jesse Sergent (Trek) and Sébastien Chavanel (FDJ).

The women’s peloton is not immune. Marianne Vos, the most decorated woman to ever pin on a race number, suffered a broken collarbone during the 2012 Valkenburg Hills Classic, after an incident with a race moto. A month earlier, Emma Pooley, an Olympic medalist and world time trial champion, was knocked off her bike by a race moto at the women’s Flèche Wallonne.

And who can forget Johnny Hoogerland getting knocked into a barbed wire fence by a support vehicle?

It’s time for cycling to enter this century in terms of race coverage because most of these accidents are entirely unnecessary – and coverage can be made better in the process.  Here’s how:

  1.  Take a note from NASCAR… Mount cameras on each bike.  Most teams are struggling to make weight on the bikes anyway by adding lead.  A small battery powered camera could easily be mounted on the head tube or under the handlebars.
  2. Run cable cameras, similar to those used in NFL stadiums, along the entire course (granted this is no small feat but if it saves lives – and it would – it’s worth the effort).  This would make peloton coverage better because cameras could be moved to where the action is.  Now, I’m not saying this solution would be easy – it won’t but done correctly the capabilities for great coverage would be stellar.  This way all you need is the lead motorcycle(s) to clear the way.

This still doesn’t deal with the pesky team cars (maybe we go back to the olden days of fixing flats?  Sure beats dying) but it’s a good start.

I love cycling.  I love cars.  I love motorcycles…  All three zooming around together in a confined space sucks and I’m tired of seeing my favorite cyclists taken out by vehicles.

It’s time to fix this.  Open up in the comments with your ideas.

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23 Comments

  1. Those two suggestions are pretty good. Were those yours?

  2. bribikes says:

    Yikes, that is terrible. It takes guts just to ride in those pro races…

    Would some kind of drone be helpful for coverage? I know they already use helicopters, but it seems like drones could get closer than a helicopter ever could.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I’m sure they could be used in certain circumstances but I think the cable cams would work a little better. The problems I see with drones is the penchant to try to fly them too close to the action, the lack of range and that they have to be remote controlled. Also, I see avid fans trying to knock them out of the sky. Of course, the same could be said of cable cams. Great thinking though.

    • Had that idea too, though drones & helicopters may not be a good mix?

  3. zoeforman says:

    When will media bike be told to give 10meter distance to bikes They have super zoom cameras so don’t need to be that close to bike

  4. Well said, with all of technology of today we still have crappy images of cycling and motorcycles with camera men hanging off of them. Me and my wife was watching a stage last week and my wife said “I would not want that job” she was referring to the camera man standing on the back of the motorcycle. I think I counted almost two vehicle per cyclist that day between media cars, motorcycles, official race vehicles, and the team cars. There has to be a better way.

  5. tamsynsmith says:

    I definitely think more bike mounted cameras is the way to go.

    Whilst cable cameras sound good, I think the cost would be prohibitive – it’s fine to do that in an NFL stadium that is used regularly throughout the season, but would anyone really pay for it along a route that could be up to 277km/172 miles long (the longest that Gent-Wevelgem has been)? Many European countries need EU subsidies just to pay for their roads to be surfaced, so the cost of this would need to be paid for by the people who want to watch the races – is the demand there? I’d also worry about vandalism, as the kit would be in public areas with no security. Also, it might make cycling more boring as it may mean that exactly the same routes need to be used every year.

    It’s a sad dilemma. Hopefully someone will come up with safe and sensible solution.

    • bgddyjim says:

      You bring up some valid concerns for sure, however I think some of them can be addressed simply by thinking a little outside the box. For instance, you make the cable system moveable, so it can be set up along the route, anywhere. As for cost, your camera is technically a battery operated “bot” that travels the length of the cable so the only cost you have is in the moveable stanchions, the cable and the cameras. Vandalism would definitely have to be worked though but I don’t think that’s a deal breaker. When you figure the motorcycles and salaries involved in driving them and paying the camera people, I truly think a cable cam could be done cheaper if it’s designed well. Make sense?

  6. Sheree says:

    Good idea to take from other sports – thinking outside the box – I like those first two. Suggestion no 2 might also pave the way for more races on (large)circuits, where it’s easier to safeguard the riders, gives better viewing possibilities and is surely easier to manage for organizers. But UCI and organizers have to recognize that roads and racing has changed and to come up with solutions that totally benefit the health and safety of the riders.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks Sheree, I never even thought about the possibilities for crit-style races too! Either way, like you wrote, it’s time to start taking better care of the racers.

  7. i have never… watched a race on tv. perhaps this is a “third year” to-do list item….

  8. MJ Ray says:

    Other coverage said it was a commissare moto with an experienced pilot. Are you sure it was a TV one?

    Race referees have to move around the field. There are arguments for putting them on smaller motorbikes than the current trend for 900+ monsters and for using drones for TV (with safeguards: search for the Marcel Hirscher drone video if you’ve not seen it) but Cav was on the cycling podcast saying that part of the problem was race organisers using smaller and smaller roads to try to make the races more exciting.

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