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PARIS (AFP) — International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson said he is mulling over the idea of installing cameras on professional racers’ bicycles to bring fans closer to their heroes.
Already, Belgian broadcaster Sporza has experimented with dashboard cameras in certain team vehicles at Gent-Wevelgem and the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) with great success.
It is one of the few recent cycling innovations to have received almost universal approval, capturing the emotions of the sport directors and team officials at key moments in the races, as well as hearing first hand some of the orders barked out at riders.
Now Cookson wants to extend that trial to putting cameras on bikes looking at a rider’s face during a race.
“We need to embrace innovation and sell our sport,” said Cookson in a UCI statement. “How do you progress and embrace innovation in order to make the spectator and viewer feel even more engaged?
“We will look at technology such as cameras on bikes and in team cars to see how they can be used to enhance the viewer experience. Imagine being able to share the view of Chris Froome as he rode up Mount Ventoux or came up the Champs-Elysees to win last summer’s Tour de France.
“And why stop at cameras — what about having microphones on bikes or sharing rider data on screen.”
Such innovations have worked well in sports like rugby, where the referee has a microphone and television spectators can hear his exchanges with players, or Formula One in which broadcasters can tune into radio contact between teams and their drivers.