A technological innovation to make bike racing broadcasts even more immersive and spectacular was banned by the UCI mere minutes after it was introduced.
At the Superprestige cyclocross race in Belgian municipality of Gavere this weekend Lucinda Brand was leading the field, as she has become accustomed to doing, but then something came whizzing up behind her.
Not a rival competitor, but a drone with a camera attached, getting television viewers as close to the action as it's possible to get.
The drone followed Brand as she tackled the mud and swooped around corners and down descents, furiously pedalling her way to victory, but before the drone had even had a chance to run out of battery it was grounded, banned by the UCI mid-race.
Amazing footage😍 Unfortunately, this was the only flight, UCI banned it during our race. But a big shoutout to the people who introduced this to our sport! I think a drone like this is an amazing feature to make the broadcasts even more interesting! (1/2) https://t.co/ZZQUo0D91iFebruary 12, 2022
"Amazing footage," Brand captioned the video of the drone following her on the course. "Unfortunately, this was the only flight, UCI banned it during our race. But a big shoutout to the people who introduced this to our sport! I think a drone like this is an amazing feature to make the broadcasts even more interesting!"
Brand had been informed about the drone before the start of the race and assured it was completely safe. She hopes this isn't the first and last time we see drone cameras used.
"The crew contacted me before the race and I know they are all about safety," Brand explained. "The drone is small and it looks like the propellers are protected to not hurt someone. Hope to see these shots again in the next races! So what do you think ban or fan?"
Brand then posted a poll, which at the time of writing has had over 4,000 votes with 96 per cent of respondents saying they were a fan of the drone camera.
"The drone images today are really an added value for our sport," Trek Baloise Lions manager Sven Nys said after the race. "If you want to innovate, this is the right direction."
The UCI is yet to comment on the matter.
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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