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High Tech Tour de France

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the still-waiting-for-cybernetic-implants dept.

221

jefu writes "As you may know, the 2006 Tour de France finished yesterday with an American, Floyd Landis, the overall winner. This years Tour had a very nice live website, including frequent news postings and a flash interface that showed the gaps between the lead riders updated every couple of minutes. The site was taking up to 35,000 hits per minute. There is lots of technology involved in this race, including carbon fiber bikes, serious aerodynamic studies to improve the bikes, the helmets and even the riders. There are also bike transponders, GPS trackers , fancy radio systems to connect the riders to the team cars, online database access to race statistics, and probably lots more."

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Oh.. nice.. (3, Funny)

joshier (957448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774419)

Yeah, brilliant.. Tell us now!.. you know, when it's over.

best cycling site (-1, Offtopic)

mihaibu (543723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774420)

The best cycling site, however, is www.cyclingnews.com

Re:best cycling site (1)

Bazzargh (39195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774765)

For the tour though cyclingfans.com was essential - an eye-hurting mess of a website but it had links to all the live streams of the coverage.

Overheard At The Starting Line.. (0, Troll)

zmilo (815667) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774425)

"Let us start ze Tour!" "But I le tired..." "Alright, take a nap...ZEN START THE TOUR!"

Re:Overheard At The Starting Line.. (1)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774442)

This post is about as funny as Steve Martin's "The Pink Panther"

Re:Overheard At The Starting Line.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774493)

they love jerry lewis, too. both of them. he can really pump that piano.

Re:Overheard At The Starting Line.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774587)

What's wrong with Jerry Lee Lewis's music?
You hate the man because he married his cousin... who was thirteen at the time. But that doesn't change the fact that he was one of the greatest rockabilly pioneers of the 20th century. His music is great, his sexual preferences not as much.

Re:Overheard At The Starting Line.. (1)

zmilo (815667) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774524)

Yeah, and yours is about as much an improvement as Hamas is to Fatah.

Re:Overheard At The Starting Line.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774836)

Clarification of obscure reference : http://albinoblacksheep.com/flash/end.php [albinoblacksheep.com]

What the fuck is this? (5, Interesting)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774433)

I got this from their online log...

17:28 - Hushovd Crashes! Hushovd has crashed in the finale. He is bleeding profusely from the right elbow and appears to be in a terrible state...
17:32 - No Crash For Hushovd Hushovd did not crash as reported earlier but he did sustain an injury in the final straight when his right elbow was caught on something held over the barriers by a spectator.

Umm... Oops?

Re:What the fuck is this? (5, Informative)

McWilde (643703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774473)

This was one of the first days of the Tour, I think. It ended, as the first week's stages usually do, in a mass sprint. The sprinters ride upwards of 60 km/h at the finish. His arm actually caught on an oversized, cardboard hand that one of the sponsors distributed. That was one nasty paper cut.
Hushovd did recover though; he won the final stage in Paris.

Re:What the fuck is this? (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774536)

For one thing, look at the times. That is news created live in an extremely chaotic situation. That's how it goes, mistakes happen.

For another, he was bleeding profusely after being hit by a bit of merchandise held by a stupid spectator while cycling 60+ km/h, he was in a terrible state (needed lots of stitches), but he did not actually crash, he managed to stay on his bike. It's easy to see how that little confusion happened.

Re:What the fuck is this? (1)

Mike Quin (15827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774737)

The problem there was that the TV cameras cut to Hushovd lying on the pavement covered in blood and in clear pain, so the TV (and online) commentators assumed that he'd crashed either during or immediately after the sprint for the line.

I know what this is; (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15775057)

This is Wikipedia.

Wikipedia and fixing mistakes. (2, Interesting)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775116)

Why is it that people think correcting mistakes is somehow a bad thing?

That is one thing that bugs me about Le Tour. (3, Informative)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775081)

I love Le Tour, but the spectators are fucking retards. I remember watching a video (cannot find it now) where Lance was coming through the home stretch and the crowd was parting as he approached, not more than a meter in front of him. (Then getting in the way of other riders, causing them to have to slow or swerve.) Imagine biking as fast as you can through a dense crowd of dense people, just hoping that nobody trips or does something else stupid. And for those not in the know, brakes on road bikes are not what you expect. Almost exactly the opposite of mountain bike brakes, they are not intended to stop you, just trim your speed. If you face an obstacle your only real option is to go around it. Also, you never just stop flat-out in a pack unless you want to become a third wheel for the guys behind you.

Can you do without? (0, Troll)

r00t (33219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774448)

What if you don't want all that?

What if you earn the silly yellow jacket, but you want to wear the jacket you mom made for you? Maybe you'd rather go topless?

Re:Can you do without? (4, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774539)

It's a professional sporting event. Privately owned. Don't wanna play by the rules? You don't gotta play the game.

I'm not talking purely hypothetically either, it's the choice I made, although perhaps a bit easier choice for an American in the 70s. We didn't exactly have a lot of "cred" back then and things over there were not to most American's taste. For my part I'm not talking about the European culture. I loved Europe. I'm talking strictly about the bike racing culture. Those were still pretty much Prisoners of the Road days. Cycle racing was a blue collar sport, a way out of the factory job, but you were pretty much a serf to the team. Simply an employee of the sponsor.

That upstart kid Greg something or other went over there though. He managed to at least partially rewrite the rules. Go figure; and good for him. They needed a bit of rewriting. He made his team an independent business entity from the sponsor, in the American model. That changed things.

But then he didn't want to wear the jacket his mom made for him either. He wanted to wear the yellow jersey.

KFG

The technology didn't stop with the bikes. (5, Interesting)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774451)

There were some excellent advances in biochemistry and pharmaceutics if I remember correctly . . . http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/cycli ng/5138306.stm [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:The technology didn't stop with the bikes. (2, Informative)

mpiktas (740253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774590)

Yeah, that's why I ignored this year's Tour de France. It took some effort, since I check eurosport.com every day, but I was strong:) It is a pity, that doping is so deeply involved in the sport. And the coincidences, when all the doping scandals take place just before the race, during the race, or just after the race, strongly hints (at least for me) of a set up. And that means that everybody is doping, just that some unfortunate ones are told upon. Couple that with Leblanc's relentless hunt (dislike) of Armstrong and Tour de France loses its charm.

Re:The technology didn't stop with the bikes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774758)

So what?
It has been the case for a few years, and seems to have little impact on the Tour's popularity. Remember the festina case (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Virenque)? This year is not worse than the years before.

I've stopped watching the Tour because of that, but most people still watch it.

A few years? (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774835)

Doping has been part of the game for as long as Tour de France has existed. The game doesn't gat any less exiting for that reason, doping isn't magic potions that turn ordinary humans into superhumans.

The hypocracy is anoying though, and it is annoying when some of the pre-race favorites gets excluded because they are unlucky enough to get caught, but that risk is part of the game, like the risk of being involved in a bad crash before the start.

Americans in France! (3, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774457)

the 2006 Tour de France finished yesterday with an American , Floyd Landis, the overall winner

I wonder how Americans always keep winning in France.. these last few years. To hell with all this fancy schmancy technology carbon fiber bikes, serious aerodynamic studies to improve the bikes, the helmets ... blah blah

As Alistair McLean figured out with Vyland and Royale... Fear is the Key. Americans are plain scared in France, methinks!

Re:Americans in France! (1)

bloblu (891170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774528)

Well, one more likely explanation is that there are 300 millions americans. And you see, winning the Tour is about being a biological wonder, capable of gathering lots of oxygen fast.

As a matter of fact, it is true that we french people had a problem with Armstrong. He was seen as arrogant and unfriendly. (Actually, he thought the same of french people and didn't conceal it.) But as far as I can see, people like Landis very much. So you see, it's not antiamericanism.

Re:Americans in France! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774756)

He was seen as arrogant and unfriendly. (Actually, he thought the same of french people and didn't conceal it.)

Actually, everybody thinks that of the french people. My guess is that is has something to do with living in a country which calls itself "grande nation". If you can't understand your own language when a foreigner speaks it poorly, you should be happy that they're trying and come half way, instead of scoffing at them.

Re:Americans in France, but not in America (1)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774896)

While an American keeps winning The Tour de France, Europeans have been winning the Ironman race in Kona lately (www.ironman.com). So, I guess it's just that everyone does better outside their own country. Probably just showing off...

Re:Americans in France! (1)

Free Bird (160885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775023)

Well, maybe this time it had something to do with Vinokourov, Ullrich, Mancebo and Basso not starting, Valverde falling early on, and his opponents not believing that he'd be able to close the gap in stage 17 so that they didn't try to pursue him until it was too late (a very costly mistake), among other things... Armstrong was simply the best but Landis could only win because of his opponents' absences and mistakes. This was his first and last Tour de France victory.

Re:Americans in France! (1)

EJB (9167) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775076)

Maybe, maybe not. Maybe (and of course that hasn't been proven yet) the above four did use illegal substances. If so, they gambled and lost, and Landis made a better bet. The Tour is as much about tactics as it is about riding your bicycle very fast.

- Erwin

Re:Americans in France! (1)

Lobo_Louie (545789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775258)

The naysayers said the same thing about Armstrong's first win (without Pantani & Ullrich), but he sure disproved *that* theory. Floyd won despite have a shitty team, being late for the first time trial and bonking in the Alps.

Sing along now! (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775097)

(to the Weird Al's tune or Manson's one, whatever)

We are stars now!
In the dope show!
We are stars now!
In the dope show!

Re:Americans in France! (1)

vr (9777) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775124)

I wonder how Americans always keep winning in France..

Zank you very much for helping with that icky nazi affair, m'sieur.

Drugs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774460)

Has anyone else noticed that the both Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis had medical conditions which are treated with drugs. Interesting that the most "medically active" bikers have been winning lately. Almost as if the drugs they take for their conditions somehow increase their performance.

Re:Drugs (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774555)

Do you know anyone who has never had a medical condition treated with drugs?

Have you ever seen anyone undergoing chemotherapy? It isn't exactly performance enhancing. Neither is arthritis so bad you're going to need a new joint, no matter what sort of drugs they give you.

KFG

Re:Drugs (1)

windows (452268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774795)

EPO is a performance enhancing substance and is banned from the Tour de France. Armstrong received EPO while he had cancer to treat some of the side-effects of chemotherapy. So, yes, technically Armstrong did receive performance enhancing drugs while undergoing treatment for cancer.

That said, anyone who thinks he was using EPO to cheat while he was undergoing chemotherapy is crazy. Prescribing EPO to patients undergoing chemotherapy isn't unusual.

American technology is best (1, Funny)

jmcoursi (586811) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774465)

... especially in ma(s)king forbidden substances... Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis : 11 wins between them.

Re:American technology is best (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774487)

Wow, way to put out libelous and unsubstantiated claims. The second Americans win something, it's because of doping?

I'm Italian, and I don't recall Americans saying that the Italy soccer team was doped through the roof when they won the World Cup.

Re:American technology is best (1)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774499)

that's because you looked it up in a book... Next time look it up in your gut.

Re:American technology is best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774634)

Italians were too busy paying off the referees in the world cup so they didn't need to dope :p

Re:American technology is best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774811)

There has been too many cases in cycling, and you have to be quite naive, or seriously uninformed, not to think that most cyclists don't use doping products.
Many people, including myself, believe that all that ALL cyclers on the Tour use doping products.

And yes, it includes Armstrong, and Miguel Indurain before.
This does not mean that Armstrong uses more doping products than the others, just that he is the best of the dopers.

Re:American technology is best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774505)

... especially in ma(s)king forbidden substances... Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis : 11 wins between them.

Yes they must be doping, because they are winning... and they are American. Lance Armstrong was probably one of the most tested individuals in the world. If the technology was available, riders from other countries would also be able to mask. Just pay the right price, money trumps nationalism in America.

Re:American technology is best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774548)

Someone's bitter.

If Italy won football against the americans, they must be doping up. If your favorite team loses, the winners must be doping up... What about the winning streaks you can look up in the olympics for each event? Are they doping up too?

Sometimes you just have to accept the fact you lost. That's fine.. treat it as an object lesson on determination and hit the road a little harder in your training.

If you want to get back at us for this time, give us a good run for our money next time.

- An American

Re:American technology is best (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775103)

If Italy won football against the americans, they must be doping up.

Nah, the Italian team won by diving down.
/bitter Australian...

Re:American technology is best (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774571)

forbidden substances... Greg LeMond

Perhaps all the riders will be lining up for lead injections into the gut now.

Or maybe not.

KFG

It's good to be the coach (2, Interesting)

oostevo (736441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774477)

I'm sure the coaches are loving all of this stuff.

In the beginning, you just had the riders out on their own wits to guide them, then they got radios and the coaches got to keep them updated, then the coaches got live TV feeds in their cars to keep themselves updated, and now apparently "it is now possible to track the position and speed of each rider in the Tour de France in real-time thanks to the EGNOS European satellite positioning system."

Being a coach sure got easier if they've got realtime tracking of all the other riders.

Re:It's good to be the coach (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774705)

And yet T-Mobile management and CSC's Bjarne Riis still suggested it wasn't their teams' responsibility to help organise the peloton and chase down Landis on the last mountain stage. Stupid bastards.

Re:It's good to be the coach (1)

Pastis (145655) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774940)

Having much more information may make it easier, but surely must make it more stressful!!

Before you had to decide of one strategy, and let your guys fulfill it. Now you potentialy have to reevaluate your strategy each time you get new information.

Re:It's good to be the coach (1)

MaxInBxl (961814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774949)

Back in the day the only things the coaches had to communicate with their cuclists were the "ardoisiers", guys on the side of track with little blackboards giving information on times / distances etc, and having a crew go up to their cycler in a bike.

Nowadays each cycler has an earpiece and can get real-time information via radiowaves (I imagine) from his coach. I can't remember who it was but one such coach even pushed this a bit farther by having scramblers in his van in order to scramble the competition's communications!

Although from what I've been told the cyclists themselves are only half / half when it comes to this new communication technology. The purists say it takes a lot of the personnal strategy out of the race.

Re:It's good to be the coach (1)

backdoorstudent (663553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775216)

In the beginning, you just had the riders out on their own wits to guide them, then they got radios and the coaches got to keep them updated, then the coaches got live TV feeds in their cars to keep themselves updated, and now apparently "it is now possible to track the position and speed of each rider in the Tour de France in real-time thanks to the EGNOS European satellite positioning system."
That's not exactly true. Even before radios the directors would follow in cars talking to the racers. Radios have just made it safer - you don't have as many agressive team cars battling for road. They haven't really been on their "own wits" since pre-war times when they frequently cheated by doing things like taking a train.

Also mechanical tech (4, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774509)

One of the more intreresting aids I've seen some riders use are PowerCranks: http://www.powercranks.com/ [powercranks.com]

From the site: (http://www.powercranks.com/about/concept.htm)

PowerCranks(TM) integrates a one-way clutch in each crank-arm of your bicycle or stationary bike. This patented modification changes the cranks from being fixed to each other at 180 (as are regular cranks), to being independent from one another. Each leg can drive the bicycle but one leg cannot assist the other. Effectively, with PowerCranks(TM) the rider is doing one-legged pedaling with both legs simultaneously.


So basically, they force riders to use all leg muscles and keep them from lifting one leg with the other, wasting energy. Simple, but very effective. It's a nice concept, and I'd love to get a pair even for my commute, but being a niche product they are rather expensive...

Re:Also mechanical tech (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774600)

All the talk of innovation in bicycle design and yet they ban the use of recumbents [recumbentcyclistnews.com] . As I understand it, recumbents (or recumbants?) reduce the drag so massively decreasing the effort required to cycle (once you get the hang of balancing the contraption).

Why are there no recumb[ea]nt races eh?

Re:Also mechanical tech (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774635)

Actually, the "ban" on recumberents is more an issue of the nature of the sport. Basically they feel that a recumberent is not a bicycle in the traditional sense. But the wind resistance advantage is more or less nullified by the increased effort in climbing hills with recumberents. On a normal bike you can use your body weight to climb more efficiently, not so with a recumberent.

I guess there are few (there are some) races because there are rather few riders as well.

Re:Also mechanical tech (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774714)

On a normal bike you can use your body weight to climb more efficiently, not so with a recumberent.

Recumbents are better aerodynamically, but worse mechanically. The torque from pedals to back wheel has to be transmitted over a longer distance and the frame has to be correspondingly heavier. The longer frame makes fighting gravity harder and adds to frame mass.

Also I can imagine (but not prove) that the horizontal riding position makes it harder to make a good pedalling stroke with even torque around the stroke. The nose down and forward position is better for situational awareness. The recumbent position is better for looking at clouds (as in a sailplane).

recumbent good for looking at clouds. (1)

murple (28187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775107)

The recumbent position is better for looking at clouds (as in a sailplane).

I'm riding a recumbent every day to work and I have no problem with situational awareness.
Only very close potholes can't be seen very well.
But the position is much more back friendly.

Re:recumbent good for looking at clouds. (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775275)

So, if a car is travelling along beside you on the left (assuming you are on the right side of the road), then how good is the driver's situational awareness about you? How much can you actually see what's going on. I ride my regular bike to work, and I feel like having the extra height even above most cars really helps to let me see what all the crazy drivers are doing. I can't imagine seeing much, or having the drivers notice me if I was on a recumbent bicycle.

Re:Also mechanical tech (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775230)

"The nose down and forward position is better for situational awareness"

Huh? Have you ever ridden a recumbent? Situational awareness is far better - you're not staring at your front wheel all the time. I can't count the number of times I've almost been mowed down by some roadie in an aero crouch who can't see more than five feet ahead of his wheel.

As to your other points - true about the recumbent being worse mechanically. Long frames and long chainlines decrease efficiency slightly. However, there are a few FWD recumbents that solve the chainline problem nicely, and improved materials are getting high-end recumbent weights down as low as 17 pounds.

As to a good pedalling stroke, I find it easier to spin properly on my recumbent than on my upright.

Please do not take any of this as being critical of upright bikes - I enjoy both types and think both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Re:Also mechanical tech (1)

palmersperry (242842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774643)

> Why are there no recumb[ea]nt races eh?

There are ... Over here in .uk they're organised by the http://bhpc.org.uk/ [bhpc.org.uk] (British Human Power Club), I would suspect there's a USA-ian equivalent organisation.

Re:Also mechanical tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774744)

> USA-ian

The word, mate, is American. Go learn the language or something.

Re:Also mechanical tech (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775100)

Why are there no recumb[ea]nt races eh?

Get thee to IHPVA [ihpva.org] .

Re:Also mechanical tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15775121)

i'm getting tired of this argument, each fsck time a cycling topic gets mentioned on /.
do you want to know the reason? simply because it is not the same _type_ of bike.

why are F1 cars not allowed in the WRC and, oh, why can't motorcycles and cars compete together in nascar?
those are equally silly questions!!!

Re:Also mechanical tech (1)

pekoe (623399) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775126)

Looks like just a training aid - which is cool - but my guess is the additional complexity of the cranks would cause the crankset to lose stiffness and gain weight? But interesting nonetheless.

But another, lower tech and perhaps more fun way to train would be to ride fixed - without the freewheel (and with only one gear ratio) you are forced to work hard and apparently it really smooths out your cadence, which is why racers train on fixies in the winter. (I'm just getting into fixed bikes)

I'm also interested in the ovoid biopace chainrings that change mechanical advantage depending on whether the pedals are vertical or horizontal.

Re:Also mechanical tech (1)

OO7david (159677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775253)

While these look interesting I don't think I'd use them. Cycling is already rather efficent pedeling-wise in that we are clipped into the pedals and can give force with each part of the stroke. The downstroke is obvious, but being clipped in we can pull up against the shoe as well.

I love drug scandals (4, Funny)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774532)

I just want to know why people care so much about performance enhancing drugs. I would rather see a bunch of juiced up frenchmen flying at 200 MPH on a bike, crashing at the end and exploding, taking out 1500 spectators. Seriously, I watch sports for entertainment, period.

Obg. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15775233)

Well, this is Slashdot. If they were juiced up "frenchmen" they would be riding away from the explosions.

Improving the riders (4, Funny)

njh (24312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774540)

There is lots of technology involved in this race, including carbon fiber bikes, serious aerodynamic studies to improve the bikes, the helmets and even the riders.

I'm sorry Max, but we're going to take your arm off to reduce turbulence...

Re:Improving the riders (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774684)

Nah. You need your arm to steer with. Your penis, on the other hand, creates a lot drag..

Furthermore - just to pre-empt:

Hey - you have your penis on your other hand ?

Re:Improving the riders (1)

njh (24312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774802)

Nah. You need your arm to steer with. Only one?

Re:Improving the riders (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774763)


Did you see that high school wrestler that had lost his legs? He could wrestle in a much lower weight class. His upper body strength was huge compared to his scrawny opponents, but he had trouble with leverage in some cases. Useless legs...

And (1)

pinky99 (741036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774553)

don't forget to mention all the high tech chemicals and drugs on the driver side!

Don't forget (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774925)

What about all the high-tech, performance enhancing drugs the spectators are using? Nothing like watching the Tour high on Human Growth Hormone.

specialist (1)

tancque (925227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774560)

All things considered, it is good to have a tour-winner again who is not specializing in this event and does other courses too, unlike the specialist Lance Armstrong. The fact that he only competed in the Tour took the shine off his victories. It seems fairer this way.

Re:specialist (3, Insightful)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774593)

All things considered, it is good to have a tour-winner again who is not specializing in this event and does other courses too, unlike the specialist Lance Armstrong. The fact that he only competed in the Tour took the shine off his victories. It seems fairer this way.

Armstrong was a truly great cyclist. But I'll agree that him being a one trick pony when it came to races places him under people like Miguel Indurain. I've talked with people who have admired his multi-win streak and when I've said "Yeah, he's good but I think Indurain was better" and have them go "Indu-who?"

For those that don't know. Indurain won 5 consecutive Tour de France races 91-95 and Giro d'Italia 92-93 (not that many double winners in the history). He also set a World Hour Record in 94.

Re:specialist (1)

MobileC (83699) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774918)

A one trick pony maybe.

But what a trick!

Re:specialist (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774638)

While the Tour de France was certainly his focus he wasn't anywhere near the "Tour Specialist" that LeMond was, who was criticised for even spending most of his training time alone in Calfornia and only showing up in Europe for the Tour season.

Lance trained with the team in Europe. He won the Tour de Luxumbourg, the Tour de Suisse, the Dauphine Libere as well as riding in, and winning stages in, a number of other events.

He was hardly a one trick pony.

No, he didn't ride all the one day classics, like Eddy, but then Eddy had to just to make living. They didn't pay squat in those days.

KFG

Impressive. But still one point to solve ... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774564)

Actually the technology use on this race is still impressive.

Example of 2005 configuration :

        * 300 peoples : journalist, cameramen, sound, directors, arangers, production teams, etc.
        * 2 Wescam helicopters : Images from the sky (landscape, monuments and peloton from the top / cool for sprints). The wescam ball is a robotized camera controled from the helicopter used since the 90s in the Tour.
        * 5 image motorbike : Inside the race, following the various groups, or team directors. They provide most of the race images.
        * 10 ground cameras : For TV show and Finish zooms.
        * 2 motos son : sound motorbike, 2 journalist are pushing live interviews of directors or live repports of race events (very usedfull in montains where lots of things can happen at the same time)
        * 2 relay planes + 2 relay helicopters : This is the hidden part of iceberg, since the 90, all the camera (wescam equiped helicopter and image motorbikes) are sending their image streams to those relays. The relays will then ensure all the streams will be received by the technical centre on the Finish city. This was the 90s revolution.

Next year, after RollandGarros in 1080p FranceTelevision (the TV group having the license on the tour) has said they will go for HD Tour :)
(This will put lot of pressure on the relay IMHO)

But even with the onflight stream complex solution, sill problems about camera discontinous stream happen (for instance in tunnels or behind bridges) ... simple problem, but still complex solutions ! Let's hope a solution will be found .... one day ;-)

My best congratulation to Floyd Landis, he was very very impresive and has the "panache" that the road spectators are looking for : bring surprise, passion and never give up !

See ya next year Floyd ;-)

(PS : spectators have never like "uber-champions" that win everything, simply because there is no surprise ... they always win and control the race from the 1sec to the last one. No passion = less interrest for viewers).

Re:Impressive. But still one point to solve ... (1)

clamx (712900) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774682)

It was not 1080p but 1080i. Or more precisely, 1080/50i. I guess they'll have to convert it to 59.94i for the US.

no "ligfietsen"? (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774603)

Over here we have an inventive bike called a "ligfiets", loosely translated a "lying down-bike". You basically lie on your back (with your back supported), and have much more power to push on the pedals. Additionally, the riding prosition reduces drag by a significant amount. Have these bikes been forbidden for use in the tour, or is nobody interested in using them? They go damn fast (and the steering is less prompt), so I'd have expected that to be the new "klapschaats".

Here's what they look like: http://flevobike.nl/ [flevobike.nl]

B.

Re:no "ligfietsen"? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774644)

No, they are not allowed.
They are called "Recumbent bicycles" in English, btw.

from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recumbent_bicycle [wikipedia.org] :


When the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) met in February, 1934, manufacturers of upright bicycles lobbied to have Faure's one-hour record declared invalid. On 1 April 1934, the UCI published a new definition of a racing bicycle that specified how high the bottom bracket could be above the ground, how far it could be in front of the seat and how close it could be to the front wheel. The new definition effectively banned recumbents from UCI events and guaranteed that upright bicycles would not have to compete against recumbents. For all intents and purposes, the ban is still in effect.

Re:no "ligfietsen"? (1)

hauntingthunder (985246) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774656)

Recumbant bikes Yeh they aren't allowed - there are very strict rules set by the UCI as to what is allowed - they can make a lighter bike but there is a minimum weight so TDF bikes are not as optimised as they could be.

Re:no "ligfietsen"? (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774696)

That's bad, IMHO. It will stifle the innovation of the bicycle. That would be like not allowing faster automatic transmissions in racecars because that would make them faster... oh wait.

That would be like not allowing scientists to present using beamers and laptops because it would be unfair competing with them for those unfamiliar with beamers and laptops (for want of a better analogy).

B.

Re:no "ligfietsen"? (1)

hauntingthunder (985246) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774831)

Well they do limit Race cars the new regs for F1 for example and even more so in the Indycar in terms of what they do the the engines etc. The weight limit for bikes is for safety I belive to stop a bike breaking up - which could be terminal on a fast descent.

Re:no "ligfietsen"? (1)

CitizenJohnJohn (640701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774979)

Safety is one of the reasons given for the weight limit, but it's brought into disrepute when riders are allowed to add lead weights to their frames [cyclingnews.com] in order to make the limit. Where's the structural improvement there? A better reason is to try and keep the bike technology sufficiently affordable that smaller teams at levels below the Tour de France can still attract bike sponsors who can afford to supply competitive bikes.

The weight thing has gotten rather out of hand. It's now easy - though hardly cheap - to build a bike that weighs about a kilogram less than the limit (6.8kg), yet even the guys who make these bikes are admitting that you need your head read if you are prepared to spend an extra $1000 saving 200g on a frame.

On the other hand, all this superlight stuff does mean that riders can add heavy but useful equipment to the bikes and remain competitive because everyone has to be over 6.8kg. When Floyd landis had a bad day at the Tour, and followed it up with the most amazing comeback since Charly gaul in 1948, his coaches were then able to get detailed physiological data on his ride from the power-measuring hub on his bike. That's valuable data [cyclingnews.com] . Lighter bikes means that riders now use these instruments in racing where they were previously considered too heavy and kept for training.

Re:no "ligfietsen"? (1)

morie (227571) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774663)

its called a recliner bike in english, I think.

They are forbidden, the driving train of all bikes has to be between the axles and there is a max distance between the axles, effectively making a reclining position impossible.

Same goes for rowingbikes (http://www.rowingbike.com [rowingbike.com] ).

For a better overview of recliners, visit the dutch website for human powered vehicles, www.ligfiets.net [ligfiets.net] .

Re:no "ligfietsen"? (1)

Free Bird (160885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775058)

They're called recumbent bikes, they're not very inventive anymore, and they're disallowed by the UCI.

Also, I'm not so sure recumbent bikes are that much better apart from the aerodynamics (which is a huge advantage, obviously). Fred Rompelberg's absolute speed record was ridden on a normal (i.e. not recumbent) bike. I'm sure he would have used a recumbent bike if it was that much better, they had already been in use for a long time by then.

Comparison... (1)

NexFlamma (919608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774604)

Personally, Id like to see a comparison of all the amazing top-of-the-line tech going into this vs that of the World Cup and, maybe the Superbowl.

Just for comparison's sake, I think that'd be rather interesting.

Is it really hi-tech? (1)

mpiktas (740253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774613)

Concerning live-site, I think nothing compares with tennis grand slams live scoring. You can watch shots practically live, and this really takes more effort technically, than to refresh the site every few minutes. How much is there real change in bike race, especially in flat stages? First hour, peloton is in one group, second hour, one break-away group, fifth hour, break-away group is reeled in, we gonna have a sprint finish. 10 minutes - teams are preparing for sprint, 10 seconds, the sprint has happened, the winner is such and such. That's all. I do not see what is so really ground-breaking technology-wise.

AMB not free software friendly (2, Informative)

dasgeht (990860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774632)

The company that makes the bike transponders has a near-monopoly in radio control car timing systems. I wanted to write a free/open source timing software to manage our club races but the company requires developers to sign a non-disclosure agreement if they want to know the interface specs. Oh, and hello slashdot! (first post)

Re:AMB not free software friendly (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774675)

That's why I wrote my own timing software and made my own transponders/interface. But don't tell them that, they've got patents and shit. Nevermind that the prior art goes back to the 1920s and you can find everything you need to know in Mimms' books from Radio Shack.

Doing it the easy way limits you to 8 cars per heat (using the internal counting circuit of your computer's cpu), but not many clubs race more than that anyway.

KFG

Re:AMB not free software friendly (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774731)

Oh, and hello slashdot! (first post)

Hello yourself number 990860. I sure hope slashcode doesn't have a seven digit bug.

The Slashdot Challenge? (1)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774679)

With all this technology maybe next time we can sponsor an overweight Slashdoter slob to race?

With all these gadgets he may just finish!

google maps live tracker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774699)

this [ubilabs.net] was one of the nicest apps. You could track live data (such as heart beat, speed, stress points, distance, power and current position) of a few selected drivers that were connected to SRMs [www.srm.de] measuring systems that day.

Live tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15774824)

A cool network link allowed to follow the race in real time in Google Earth : http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2006/07/to ur_de_france_3.html [gearthblog.com]
Was just great when watching live!

Google Earth (2, Interesting)

thelamecamel (561865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774914)

They also had maps of all the stages, with all the checkpoints, sprints, etc, available through Google Earth. You'd download the file, and suddenly a bunch of blue lines would appear on the pictures of France. As usual, you could then tilt the view, and the contours of the mountains would appear, i.e. mountains would rise either side of the blue line that people would be cycling down. You can then almost pretend you're flying down the valley along the course! Very nifty.

So can the... (1)

SnakeEater251 (872793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774967)

...high-tech tubes used on the bikes be modified in some way to make my Internets go faster?

High Tech Tour de France '06 (1)

DavidV (167283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15774986)

This story title appears every year by my memory.

Link to high tech version (1)

Zach978 (98911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775022)

You can find the high tech version here [motogp.com] , it's much more interesting.

Tour-de-France is actually pretty anti-technology (4, Interesting)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775133)

I'm sorry, but Tour-de-France is the anti-technology race. Wired had a photo gallery listing many technologies that are banned from the tour:

http://blog.wired.com/tourtechnology/ [wired.com]

Any bicycle which is too light, or which has excessively good aerodynamics is outright banned. There is very little exciting aerodynamics research going on for Tour-de-France. Recumbents were banned by the Union Cycliste International way back in the 30s because they were way too fast. Every bicycle speed record currently held was taken with a recumbent.

UCI basically felt that racing should be a test of the rider rather that of the technology, and so made the diamond frame the "standard". Since everyone else saw people winning races on diamond frame bikes, these bicycles were much more popular than many other technologically superior bikes, which is pretty much why recumbents are hard to find and overly expensive today.

Even this nearly traditional looking Softride pivotless suspension bike (http://www.bronesbikeshop.com/Softride.jpg) was banned because it "could have an aerodynamic advantage".

Re:Tour-de-France is actually pretty anti-technolo (1)

Lobo_Louie (545789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775227)

People don't ride recumbents because they look stupid! Oh, and congrats Floyd! You made USA proud.

Re:Tour-de-France is actually pretty anti-technolo (1)

backdoorstudent (663553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775240)

Thank you for pointing this out. The coverage of this sport is also very low tech compared to other sports. You get noisy glitchy low definition video feeds from motorbikes and bad editing where the commentators are talking about one thing and the tv is showing something else. Compare this to NFL or NBA HDTV coverage for example.

Leader Helmet Cam (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775172)

A streaming helmet cam of the leader of the race would be cool.

Re:Leader Helmet Cam (1)

kegon (766647) | more than 8 years ago | (#15775186)

In fact helmet cams were worn by at least some riders.
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