Tour de France 2015 first five stages are in the bag. They’ve been as crazy as last year, hectic as ever and a lot of nasty crashes and some high profile crashes. It’s normally around this time that things settle for a while and the big sprinting guns get on with the end of the day business. I’ve been watching the tour for well over thirty years now and I still get an adrenaline surge watching them sprint for the line! Probably something wrong with me, oh yea I like the Tour de France. The best moment to date was watching Tony Martin escape and TT it to the line. Martin is now in the Yellow! It’s been a long time coming. Putting the cobbles in the Tour is in some way inspired, maybe sadistic, especially after the big crashes the day before. For me it detracts from the Roubiax a little and I’m hoping it doesn’t become a regular feature (famous last words).
What I find really unique about this Tour is the amount of data flooding in, from Data Dimension to Strava uploads. Starting on Stage 6 is live tracking on a rather slick looking map. It’s only beta at present but it’s a far cry from the funny little figures used on a linear line to show time gaps before. For a fan, this is a lot of fun, for the statistically minded fans it’s a gold mine. I love it but, don’t get too obsessed. I like the bite size data facts are enough for me. This is the rise of data and it will see a lot more ‘infographic style’ Tour presentations coming up in the near future. Maybe too many but, I would like to see something interesting come of it, the key is in allowing designers and web developers access to the live data. I imagine the Tour de France website in the near future will have a whole lot more live stats, running and hopefully on the TV too. It’s going to be good for the sports image. The onboard cameras are certainly proving popular, more so for morbid viewing of crashes but, it’s a start.
Stay safe and don’t do drugs. Can you say that to a Tour rider?