Tracking favourite riders would be easier this year for Tour de France fans?

Chris Froome of Great Britain and Team Sky rides on his way to overall victory during the twenty first stage of the 2015 Tour de France. (Representational Image.) Photograph:( Getty )

AFP France Jun 29, 2016, 01.46 PM (IST)
Tour de France fans will find it easier to follow their favourite riders during this year's race, thanks to new GPS tracking technology.

Each of the 198 riders' bikes will be fitted with a GPS tracking device that will communicate with those fitted to the other riders and to their team cars.

The information will be analysed by a digital analytics platform run by Dimension Data, who also sponsor one of the Tour teams, and then be uploaded to a cloud which fans, media and even commentators will be able to access.

Fans will be able to access highly accurate information 

The data will show more accurately a rider's current speed as well as his position within the group he's riding with and the distance between his group and others, or that between individual riders. It will make it easier for fans and media to evaluate the real-time situation during the race.

Fans will be able to access highly accurate information via a Dimension Data website that will also demonstrate the weather conditions around a rider and even what gradient he is on.

"Everything we've planned for the greatest cycling race in the world this year is focused on helping (organisers) ASO tell a compelling story about cycling as an exhilarating professional sport," said Dimension Data group executive Adam Foster in a statement. 

"And true to ourselves as technology experts, we're using data to do just that," he added. 

Dimension Data sponsor the only African team in the tour who last year rode under the name Qhubeka.

British rider Stephen Cummings won a stage for Qhubeka last year while Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot, who is part of the team again this year, was one of the first black Africans to ride the Tour alongside compatriot Merhawi Kudus.