‘Tour Tracker’ App Brings Race Action to Cycling Fans’ Phones and iPads

The Tour Tracker app shows not only live racing action, but also a wealth of race-related information, like elevation profiles and current standings. Credit: Tour Tracker.

The traditional time sacrifice made by cycling fans — hours spent waiting on a remote hillside for only a brief glimpse of the riders as they pass by — is now history, thanks to a revolutionary app that brings full live race action to phones and handheld devices.

At the recent USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, many fans were seen alongside race courses with mobile devices in hand, watching both the live race in front of them as well as the television-quality coverage provided by the Tour Tracker application, a free app for iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

Like the live TV coverage from the Versus cable channel, the Tour Tracker app brought live in-race coverage to fans’ mobile platforms, allowing people to both see the race in person — if for only a few seconds — while still following every second of action via their portable devices.

“It’s the perfect example of technology really solving a problem, instead of just being a cool device to play with,” said Rob O’Dea, one of the two brains behind Tour Tracker. As a professionally published cycling photographer (as well as a longtime successful marketing executive), O’Dea knows well the problem cycling fans have traditionally endured when it comes to watching races live: You might spend hours by the side of some remote mountain pass with no idea what was going on until you saw the racers quickly pass you by.

With the Tour Tracker app, all that is changed since fans can basically watch an entire stage unfold from start to finish, combining the best of the couch-potato TV-watcher and on-the-scene worlds. Sponsored by electronics retailer and pro cycling team sponsor Radio Shack for the USA Pro Challenge, the “Shack Tracker” was the buzz of the crowd lining the streets in Aspen and Vail during the two USA Pro stops there in late August, with people watching the race on their phones and iPads while waiting for the cyclists to arrive at their viewing spot.

Cycling fans in Aspen watch the USA Pro Challenge on an iPad while waiting for the racers to reach town. Credit: MSR.

Though Tour Tracker isn’t a brand new phenomenon — “it’s an overnight success that has been years in the making,” joked O’Dea — it’s safe to say that the combination of application maturity and great mobile-viewing platforms like the iPad are the perfect storm for an app that’s perfect for its intended audience — zealous cycling fans who want to watch both the entire race and the few seconds of live action, who can now do both things at once.

Close-up of the Tour Tracker app in action on an iPad. Credit: MSR.

Though O’Dea won’t give out audience download-number specifics (he says those stats are the ownership of the individual races like the USA Pro Challenge or the Tour de France, which Tour Tracker licenses its app to on a race-by-race basis) it’s a safe guess that it has probably already attracted hundreeds of thousands if not millions of viewers who learned of the app’s existence while watching the Tour de France or the USA Pro Challenge on TV this year.

Though this year’s app was already chock-full of important race information beyond the live action — such as elevation profiles, maps and even an fan-interaction forum via Twitter — O’Dea said that he and Tour Tracker co-founder Allan Padgett (one of the original architects of Acrobat, now part of software giant Adobe) have even bigger plans for 2012. For cycling fans, that’s like Christmas in July — knowing that they may never again miss a moment of the Tour de France, no matter where they may be.

A race fan follows the live coverage while watching course-side in downtown Vail during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Credit: MSR.


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  2. […] is considered the premier online and mobile race coverage platform. (Editor’s note: We profiled Tour Tracker last year.) It addition to the USA Pro Challenge, it’s utilized in the Tour de France, Tour […]

  3. […] highlights the revolution that the app is having for cycling fans worldwide. See the article here: Mobile Sports Report. Tweet Stay In Touch! Learn of upcoming TourTracker events, get the latest features first and […]

  4. […] is considered the premier online and mobile race coverage platform. (Editor’s note: We profiled Tour Tracker last year.) It addition to the USA Pro Challenge, it’s utilized in the Tour de France, Tour of […]

  5. […] TourTracker is considered the premier online and mobile race coverage platform. (Editor’s note: Weprofiled Tour Tracker last year.) It addition to the USA Pro Challenge, it’s utilized in the Tour de France, Tour of […]

  6. […] coverage thanks to a partnership with CyclingNews. We’re happy for founder Allan Padgett and TourTracker… the best way to follow the biggest race in a mobile fashion. Unfortunately, the TourTracker […]

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