Professional cycling organisation Velon has partnered with Infront Sports & Media with the idea of delivering a full athlete experience to fans around the world.
The deal, signed for 10 years, is designed to bring fans closer to the sport, with on-screen rider data set to be available to broadcasters of the biggest races.
Data on rider position, altitude, speed, acceleration, heart rate, power and cadence is said to be on offer, with the Tour de Suisse mooted to be where the system will make its debut.
"We are delighted to be partnered with Infront Sports and Media. Our partnership enables us to make a major step forward to enable data to be shared with fans, and it is going to be fantastic," said Velon CEO Graham Bartlett.
"Just imagine how great it will be for fans to see the performance of the riders as they follow races on their screens or see them at the race. This is something that has been available in other sports, and now we're bringing it to cycling so fans can better engage with the riders and get a much better experience.”
Velon debuted on-bike cameras during the 2015 season, bringing the fans closer to the rider experience, but it wasn't until the end of the season until this footage was used live by broadcasters.
“Data will be handled sensitively so as to respect rider privacy rights and will use filters to ensure that live usage does not deliver a competitive advantage or disadvantage during a race,” Velon said in a press release to announce its deal with Infront.
Team Sky's Chris Froome backed the partnership, saying: "Velon are committed to bringing the fans the best possible race experience and the success of introducing the on-bike cameras has been great to see.
"This new partnership will enable the Velon teams to look at other exciting and innovative ways to open up cycling to new audiences."
Infront Sports & Media is part of Wanda Sports Holding, which is part of the Dalian Wanda group, owned by China's richest man Wang Jianlin. Dalian Wanda has recently purchased the rights to the Ironman triathlon brand and was linked to the purchase of the Giro d'Italia from RCS Sports, although this deal never came about.
“Cycling is a key sport in Infront’s long-term strategy and also an important pillar of the wider Wanda Sports Holding business," said Stephan Herth, Infront Sport & Media executive director.
"We are therefore proud to partner with Velon in revolutionizing the cycling experience of the fans, as well as the way that the sport is positioned and marketed in the digital sphere."
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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