You're sitting at your computer terminal at work. You wonder how George Hincapie is doing in today's stage. Is he in a breakaway? Is the race nearly over?
You can pick up just about as much real-time information off the Internet as you can from watching Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen on OLN. Here are some resources for keeping in touch during the race:
1. UK's Eurosport website: Dave Harmon and Sean Kelly present a live webcast of the Tour de France stages. Look for the ”video/audio/photos” control in the upper right hand of the Eurosport Tour de France page.
2. The official Le Tour website: Here's where you'll find minute-by-minute race updates (“newsflashes“) with the most recent at the top. Especially helpful are the “Gap” tab for graphical representations of any breakaways, chases and the location of the yellow jersey, and the “Race position” tab, which shows the location of the peloton on a stage profile. You'll also find links to team rosters, standings, and interviews. Go to Le Tour Live.
3. Google Earth: The Le Tour website and Google are presenting a real-time presentation of the Tour stages in 3D on Google Earth. When I checked it Sunday, it opened with a map of the course, then the sprint locations came into view, then a bicycle representing the exact location of the peloton. Every few minutes, the location of the bicycle changed as the bike racers moved along.
The 3D Google Earth interface also has controls to change the views; in the Alps you can put yourself right down on the deck and see the terrain the cyclists are pedaling through. Go to The Tour in 3D for links to download the Google Earth software and the daily stages.
4. Bicycle news websites: CyclingNews and VeloNews also offer running updates as the day's race progresses. While CyclingNews is straight text, the VeloNews presentation also shows the racer's location on a map.
5. Ubilabs and SRM Live Tracker: Here you can track the locations of 8 cyclists on a Google map, as well as their heartbeat rates, speed in km/hr, stress points, distance and power. The 8 are American Christian Vandevelde and Jens Voight (CSC), Sebastian Lang and Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner), Michael Rogers and Patrick Sinkewitz (T-Mobile), Dram Tankirk and Filippo Pozzato (Quickstep). When I checked Lang, his heartbeat was 130 bpm to sustain 41 km/hr; Tankirk 119 bpm to go that speed. Watch the data fly by at Live Tracker. (Via TdF2006 blog.)
There are probably others, but these are the ones I've used — except for Google Earth and Live Tracker, they're new to me. If you're like me, you'll probably use a combination of different media.
In addition, you can put the Tour de France on your WAP-enabled cellphone. Check out the article at WAPReview.com.