When the curtains fall on the world's largest cycling race this Sunday, 198 riders from 35 countries will have covered a staggering 2,193 miles over three weeks, navigating the challenging route from Normandy to Paris. While the athletes, support teams, organizers, and authorities play pivotal roles, a silent yet crucial team often remains in the shadows—the timekeepers. In the 103rd edition of the Tour de France, Tissot has assumed the role of the official timekeeper, responsible for meticulously capturing every second of this high-stakes competition.
Precision from the Starting Line
Tissot employs cutting-edge technology, using photo cells at the starting line of each stage to initiate the clock. The process begins in the early morning, ensuring that the starting and finishing equipment is flawlessly installed before the athletes arrive. The timekeeping team works tirelessly to verify the system's functionality, conducting constant tests to guarantee accuracy.
Tracking Every Pedal Stroke
In the fast-paced chaos of the Tour de France, Tissot faces the challenge of monitoring 200 cyclists in a highly publicized event. Each bicycle is equipped with a transponder, functioning like an IP address, providing a unique identifier for every rider. This transponder is activated at the starting line and records intermediate times throughout the race. The finish line employs photo-finish cameras, the only devices capable of precisely determining the winner in cases of exceedingly close finishes.
Tissot's Legacy in Cycling
Tissot's involvement in cycling traces back to the 1950s, with Swiss Timing, a division of the Swatch Group, taking charge of all sports technology and timekeeping activities in 1972. Tissot Timing, as the official timekeeper, epitomizes precision and reliability in the realm of cycling events, solidifying a rich history with the Tour de France.
Meeting Daily Challenges
For the Tissot timekeeping team, every day at the Tour de France is a new race. With only eight dedicated individuals on the ground, teamwork is paramount. Collaborating seamlessly with organizers, TV networks, and other data providers, the team ensures that every aspect of the race is accurately documented. The exhaustive three-week duration demands exceptional focus, efficiency, and the ability to adapt to unforeseen challenges, making it a unique and demanding competition that surpasses even the duration of the Olympics.
In conclusion, Tissot's unwavering commitment to precision, coupled with advanced technology and a rich history in cycling, positions them as the unsung heroes of the Tour de France. While the cyclists vie for the yellow jersey, Tissot's timekeeping prowess silently determines the true champion, capturing the essence of every pedal stroke in this iconic race.