De Matrix

Ahead of a full race preview, a short note to explain the new communications system being used by the Dutch team for Sunday’s road race.

With race radios banned for the worlds, the Dutch will use telecoms and roadside matrix display boards to give unique tactical advice to their riders.

Team boss Leo Van Vliet will watch the race on TV from a “control tower” office on the Cauberg. From this vantage point he will send SMS messages which get relayed to matrix display screens on the course to be read by the passing Dutch riders.

Obviously these screens can be seen by everyone, from riders to roadside fans, so they will be sent in code. This is not yet known but perhaps “het kangoeroe sprongen” (the kangaroo has jumped) could mean Simon Gerrans is up the road or “de bonen gaar zijn ” (“the beans are cooked”) could mean Tom Boonen is looking tired. Dutch fans have been busy with suggestions on Twitter.

And no, I’m not making this up. You can see the video online (from 1m30s) with Dutch broadcaster

24 thoughts on “De Matrix”

  1. Dutch cycling forums are all over this. Our national coach is well known for his creative mind (he did come up with the Amstel Curacao Race), but this particular move is mocked mostly…

  2. Innovative. But not quite fair if the others don’t have access to the boards. If I was in charge of this race I wouldn’t allow this trick unless every coach gets to use the boards. That would be nice, we could start guessing what all the codes mean.
    it’s ‘De Matrix’, btw, not ‘Het’

  3. I’ve always thought sms was the way to go. Garmin could add sms capabilities to their bike computers and the teams can have one way communication that way.

  4. The board is on the last bit of false flat of the Cauberg, no? Would the riders be even able to read it? Whatever was on that board I couldn’t read for the world. I wonder what you see when you’re a rider barrelling full speed ahead. Do the Orange glasses come with binoculars this weekend?

  5. The matrix has you! Kind of like the idea of hacking into the system and foiling the message relay, much like the Brits did with encoded messages the Germans were using during WWII!
    Still, methinks it’s typical Dutch to use such tactics! There was a 150 odd yr old poem unearthed in an excavation in London, England, that had been written by a British trader, and who had done plenty of international trade during his career. He had written the poem about his impressions of the Dutch, basically saying that they are sly/sneaky, and would play for every cent possible, without the slightest hint of conscience! Having lived there for 7 yrs I concur!
    Being so close to the Belgian border, and with Belgian’s chances of winning being as strong as they are (at least on paper) I foresee a sizeable fan contingent, hopefully covering all the digital boards with Belgian flags! Mwuhahaa!!!!

  6. Remember the Olympic road race when the timing systems didn’t work (using mobile networks) because of all the fans clogging the networks? I’d stick with chalk boards.

  7. This sort of communication reminds me of the race-info placards MotoGP crews hang out of pitlane to relay key information to their riders every time they pass through start finish.

    Pedrosa OUT – would convey a key rival in the championship series has crashed out.

    Rossi +1.23s – says that Rossi is 1.23 sec behind you
    Rossi +0s – means he’s sucking your tailpipe

    Difference b/w this and the dutch version compared to a moto w/ a chalkboard is that the information is customized for your team.

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