Armchair fans could soon be fed performance data from the world's top riders during races after professional cycling organisation Velon announced what it claims will be a "game-changing" deal for the sport on Thursday.

Velon, a commercial collaboration of 11 WorldTour teams, pioneered the use of live on-bike camera footage at last year's Abu Dhabi Tour, and says a 10-year agreement with Infront Sports & Media will further revolutionise coverage of cycle races.

In theory, television viewers will be able to dial up technical data such as pedal RPM, VAM (climbing speed in metres per second) and power output as the likes of Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) attack climbs.

Previously such technical information would only be available to team staff.

"The first phase of the partnership will enable live race data to revolutionise the fan experience," Velon, established in 2014 to boost cycling's marketability, said on their website.

Performance data has been a thorny subject and often a source of suspicion in a sport which has suffered a chequered history of doping scandals.

Briton Froome's dominance in some of the toughest terrain on last year's Tour raised eyebrows in some quarters, prompting his Team Sky outfit to release his performance data from one devastating attack on Stage 10.

Froome, who had to contend with rumours of doping, went a stage further after the race, undergoing physiological tests at a London laboratory and publishing the results.

Velon said the data available during television coverage would include various streams, although quite what would be publicly visible on TV screens would be subject to discussions with riders, teams, event organisers and the governing UCI.

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford wrote to UCI president Brian Cookson this year calling for a standardised procedure for the sharing of performance data.

Velon says its new deal is a step in that direction.

"Riders really want to get their data out as it aids transparency and believability in their abilities and accomplishments," it said.

"But we fully understand the need for race and rider sensitivity to make sure neither are compromised."

Velon CEO Graham Bartlett said it was good news for fans.

"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," he said.

"Cycling fans will be able to better engage with the riders and get a much better experience."

Friday 26 Feb 2016

"The news release is full of corporate jargon. For a group that wants to appeal to passionate sports fans the language reads like a faceless corporation’s annual report. They’re “embarking on a project to create the ideal platform” and we get hyperbole like “game-changing” and “revolutionary”. This website has enuogh typos to know that critiquing someone else’s writing is risky ground but the point is that for all the fanfare today there’s very little to go on.

If anything this corporate tone tells us what it is: the inking of an industry insider deal. For example, and let’s make one up, Singapore Airlines does a deal with IBM to manage their bookings systems: the news excites the two parties and some people who work in airlines and IT but for everyone else it’s just, well, people doing business. Velon said from the start it wanted to earn income by selling on-bike video and now they’ve signed a deal with a sports marketing agency who are going to help make this happen. It’d be more of a story if this wasn’t happening."

More at the INRNG.

Follow Troy Brosnan to the remote island wilderness of Derby, Tasmania. Jungles, pine forests—this corner of the world checks all of the terrain and flora boxes, and with only a handful of cafes and pubs to keep the isolated locals occupied, an epic trail network seemed only natural. Join Troy and Specialized Australia employee, Patrick Young, as they leave the stress of the professional DH circuit behind in pursuit of loose singletrack, insights into trail building, and all-around good times.

French veteran Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) won the overall at the Tour de La Provence after rising Colombia sprinter Fernando Gavaria (Etixx-QuickStep) emerged victorious on the final stage.

The 21-year-old Gavaria finished ahead of Danilo Wyss (BMC) and Romain Feillu (BTP-Auber 93), as Voeckler topped the final general classification in front of  Petr Vakoc (Etixx-QuickStep) and Lilian Calmejane of Direct Energie.

“It was a nice way to end a really hard stage," Gavaria said. "With 25 kilometers to go, a couple of riders, including Petr, attacked in order to shake up the GC.

"At that moment I was sitting at the back of the peloton, waiting to see how things will unfold. Unfortunately for Petr, he was caught, which meant I came to the front, and helped by the guys, who rode hard and protected me, managed to take the win.

"This victory bodes well for the Track Worlds, in London. When I left Colombia, I didn’t know where I was with my condition, but in this race I got a satisfying answer. I’m eager to take it to the track and see what happens there. After the Worlds, I will return to the road and continue working hard, to help the team get other good results."

Voeckler won the tough opening stage while Gavaria's team-mate Davide Martinelli won Stage 2 in controversial circumstances.

Users can find every detail of the Giro d’Italia route. It is designed with an interactive wheel, that guides them through the stage locations touched by the Giro, with technical and tourist information for each of the 21 stages.

SBS cycling will broadcast all stages of the Giro d'Italia LIVE from Friday 6 May - Sunday 29 May on SBS/HD or livestreamed at the website or on mobile via the Tour Tracker suite of apps.

Andrea Palini of Skydive Dubai outsprinted Astana’s Andrea Guardini to win the second stage of the Tour de Langkawi.

Guardini continues to lead the general classification, two seconds ahead of Palini, with China’s Wang Meiyin (Hengxiang) 10 seconds off the race lead.

Wang escaped with Loh Sea Keong (Malaysia national team), Sofian Nabil (NSC), Gong Hyo Suk (KSPO) and Jamilidin Navardianto (Pegasus) after 22km of racing, with the group gaining a 4min 15sec advantage.

Wang won all three intermediate sprints to accumalate a nine second time bonus, which put him in the virtual lead, with the possibility of taking the yellow jersey if Guardini did not post a strong result.

But the race came together wth 11km to race to set up another sprint finish, ending Wang's hopes.

“I didn’t expect to win”, Palini said. “I was hoping for scoring points but I didn’t think I could beat Guardini. However, I was fresher than him after the last climb. That made the difference. I’m very happy. To win here is very important. It already makes my Tour de Langkawi a successful one.”

Guardini underlined how difficult it is to win a race, even for a sprinter of his caliber.

“I said this morning again that it’s never simple to win”, he said. “Palini showed today that he’s a more complete rider than me. He passed the hill better than me. I rode flat out to stay with the main peloton and it took out of me the energy I needed for winning the bunch sprint.”

South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data) finished third, ahead of a crash by Bardiani-CSF’s Nicola Ruffoni which split the peloton.