Five useful things for following pro cycling

Monday, 18 April 2011

Some readers might be old enough to the days when, living in America or Australia, they waited for the airmail to deliver cycling magazines. Some race results might not arrive for months. These days you can get live images via the internet and instant results via twitter.

I like to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world of pro cycling and here are five quick tips and tricks to help follow things:

  • Twitter: it goes without saying this is a powerful service. News is instant and brief. Not all of it is essential, it’s like a crackly radio where the hiss and static can drown out other bits but it’s changed the way news arrives, from Tunisia and Egypt to the Mur de Huy.
  • Cycling quotient: a ranking but much more. There’s race results for many riders and many subrankings like teams. But there’s also other stats available, like “most days of racing” and you can even look up head to head results, for example Tyler Farrar and André Greipel have raced together six times this season in a sprint stage. Who won? In fact it’s 6-0 to Greipel.
  • Podcasts: if you’re away from the internet, you can still download things to listen to. I’ve put together some reviews but will get round to reviewing some more like the Flammecast and the Two Johns soon.
  • Online translation engines: services like Google translate and Babelfish are impressive. In times past you’d need to find a friend with translation skills or even pay someone. Now you copy and past foreign language text in your browser and voilà, the text appears in English or what ever you want.
  • Pavé calendar: you can get a calendar to load into your smartphone or electronic diary from the Pavé blog. It’s useful to see what’s coming and to what’s on each day.
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{ 10 comments }

El Tejan April 18, 2011 at 7:50 pm

for stateside fans like me, sites like cyclingfans and/or steephill are essential if I want to keep up with a race as it happens. sure, the video quality of the streamming sites leave a bit to be desired, but it is a small price to pay to watch in real time. (and then i don’t have have to wait around for 12 hours (or 12 days) until Versus gets around to showing the race.)

Q April 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm

As a matter of fact I do remember waiting for magazines to get race results. During the Tour, I would check the back page of the sports section each day to find out the top 10 of the previous day’s stage. I considered myself lucky that when Greg Lemond won the ’89 Tour, some talk radio host I happened to be listening to felt it was interesting enough to mention it over the air right after it happened.

Thom April 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm

You don’t even need the Google Translate or Babelfish if you use Google Chrome as your browser. It will ask you if you want to translate the site you’re on if it detects another language than your default. You can even turn off the ask option if you want it to do it automatically.

Pirate Maboule April 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Yeah, I remember those days…
I was biking to the newsagent in Ottawa to buy L’Équipe (always a week behind) at a steep price to have photos and news of the Tour.. but it was so wonderful to see and read…

Kathy April 19, 2011 at 1:05 am

Would love to know more about streaming video of the big races. I tried a few of the links on the cyclingfans website on Sunday but wasn’t in the correct geographical region (I live in Canada). Any helpful tips?

tobyjbrown April 19, 2011 at 2:33 am

I’ve recently got into podcasts. Funnily enough I listen to both of the ones you mentioned. There is some talk that the Two Johns Podcast is wrapping up. I love Flammecast though! Those boys don’t pull any punches – very entertaining and I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends :)

Barry April 19, 2011 at 9:41 am

Kathy, steephill.tv should do the trick

Tim April 19, 2011 at 10:18 am

All references so far have been made to means of keeping up to date.
But how about The Inner Ring itself? This website is not so much dedicated to the latest news, but it provides a wealth of all sorts of background details, or original points of view.
Before I became addicted to The Inner Ring, my long-time secret favourite was cycling4fans. Too bad for most readers is that this is a German website, and hence the language used is German. But maybe Google Translate is helpful here. This site has been on air for many years now, and it stood out for its original topics and points-of-view. Too bad that the doping scandals that had a heavy impact on German cycling reverberated in too many articles on cycling4fans since then, which were usually written in a negative tone. Recently, however, the people behind the website have returned to their old habits of writing original articles related to cycling, and they are definitely worth reading. The main difference with The Inner Ring remains the quantity of publications. Cycling4fans publishes something a few articles each month at most. Nonetheless, have fun!

Alex April 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I’ve just added Pavé to my google-calender. Thanks for the input!

Kathy April 19, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Thanks Barry!

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