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The Outer Line – Pro cycling is hiding in plain sight: better ways to tell the story

The Outer Line – Pro cycling is hiding in plain sight: better ways to tell the story

Don’t miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you…

Saturday, May 14

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Don’t miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+ .

The Giro d’Italia ’s mostly boring stage 3 painfully reminded fans of pro cycling’s lackluster and unimaginative television format. Inspiring scenery of Budapest, the Danube, and medieval castles may generate new tourism, and some diehards may have tuned in for the intermediate sprints every hour or two. But by and large, until the last few minutes of the five-hour coverage, viewers were treated to three unknown Italians in a futile break – trying to snare marketing impressions for drone and hamburgers – interspersed with repetitive and monotonous shots of the peloton rolling along.

Televised bike racing has been static for the last 50 years – cameras on motorcycles and helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft signal relays, all converging in a single transmission feed with different commentators narrating the same action in different languages. There is no reason why drones couldn’t be used starting today to enhance the coverage spread and better relay the signals at reduced costs; this is just one example of how the back-end technology has evolved while the storytelling techniques have stood still, causing many cycling broadcasts to feel two-dimensional in a world that has mostly moved on to three or more dimensions.

Mountain stages can create gripping drama as gaps open and close, and four or five hours of coverage can pass all too quickly. But long, flat stages inexcusably lull even […]

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