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June 29, 2017

Dimension Data brings machine learning to the Tour de France

Predictive analytics functionality is also going to be tested out for the first time.

By James Nunns

Dimension Data is helping to bring machine learning to the Tour de France.

The world famous bike race, which beings in Düsseldorf on Saturday and finishes at the  Champs-Élysées in Paris on the 23rd July, is for the first time having machine learning algorithms applied to it.

The Dimension Data analytics platform, which was developed in partnership with A.S.O, the organisers of the Tour de France, applies machine learning and algorithms that combine live and historical race data to provide a deeper level of insight into the race.

Read more: Data rides into Tour de France peloton

Fans will be able to see rider profiles and learn more about the environments and circumstances in which they perform best.

Predictive analytics is almost making an appearance as part of a pilot to try and assess the likelihood of various race scenarios, for example whether or not a peloton will catch breakaway riders at certain stages of the race.

Scott Gibson, Dimension Data’s Group Executive – Digital Practice said: “As more technology is introduced into sport, the viewing experience is transforming, and its popularity increases. What’s especially exciting for us is how we’re helping A.S.O. to attract a new generation of digitally savvy fans, and how advanced technologies like machine learning are opening up new possibilities for providing the insights that today’s fans demand.”

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GPS transponders, which are installed under the saddles of each bike, transmit data which is then combined with external data, such as the course gradient and weather conditions in order to generate insights.

It’s expected that over three billion data points will be created and analysed over the 21 stages of the Tour, up from 128 billion last year.

Read more: Why doing business in China is like the Tour de France

The Tour de France solution uses a cloud-based virtualised data centre to provide the scale and flexibility required to operate.

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, A.S.O. said, “Today, our followers want to be immersed in the event. They’re more digitally engaged on social media than ever before, and want a live and compelling second-screen experience during the Tour. Technology enables us to completely transform their experience of the race.”

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