Today Tour Tracker added expanded women's coverage to our Tour Tracker Grand Tours application. Over the past 10 years we have covered women's races every year, ranging from providing races custom apps free-of-charge to including select races in the Grand Tours app. And we are super excited to do our part in increasing the amount and quality of coverage of women's cycling. But with that excitement comes concern.


We can't speak for other members of the cycling press, but for us, the races Tour Tracker covers is directly related to the availability of information about and from the events. For better or worse, the Tour Tracker platform is dependent on having detailed information about an event available in specific formats and in a timely manner.


That information includes but is not limited to:

  • Point-by-point GPS route data for each stage.

  • Details about every team and rider.

  • Reliable information about the race's progress.

  • Timely, accurate results in standardized formats.

In fact to make the first Tour Tracker work back at the 2007 Tour of California, we spent 3 days clicking on maps to generate the route data by hand, dot by dot!


Ten years later we have found it sometimes challenging to get that level of data from women's events. Having been behind the scenes, we get it. Even at well-funded events the last thing a course director is worried about is whether the press has the GPS files for the race. In fact, they might not want them public. And at underfunded events, the challenge is 100x greater as just getting the race going can be a Herculean task.


So, we wanted to use this post to make two requests. One, that you try to enjoy our added women's coverage, knowing that we might not be working with all the data we need. We spent the off-season modifying the app to support a race without interactive routes, but some users might equate the lack of routes as a lack of desire to provide high-quality coverage, and that couldn't be further from the truth.


Two, I'd like to use these final words as a request to the race owners, race organizers, team owners and riders. Please help us help you. Women's race coverage can be a challenge when little information is available, just like any race.


Race organizers, please make your routes, start lists and results available to the press promptly. And teams, please do everything you can to get your rider information out there and help us fill in the gaps.


We hope you enjoy our expanded women's race coverage!


Allan & Clara

User feedback on our new climb gradient visualization has been awesome. And the response to our survey was great, but there was not a clear winner. So, we thought it would be fun to let users submit their own designs. So we extended our web-based Tour Tracker to allow YOU to be the designer.


All you have to do is go to the URL listed below (on your laptop) and then start tweaking the design by changing the URL values. Below the URL is a list of options you can change / add to the URL. You can see your design better if you click on one of the climb icons on the profile and then select Gradients. Once your design is perfect, send us the final modified URL to support@thetourtracker.com. The best designs will be shared in the app and the top design will get TEAM coverage for life! Good luck!


http://live.thetourtracker.com/?show_gradients=true&gradient_colors_type=color_get_lighter&gradient_color=ff0000


Values you can set in the URL:

gradient_colors_type: This controls the basic design of the climb gradient graph. Values are:

  • color_alpha_blend - A single color (red) will be blended on top of the profile color from transparent to opaque. Setting gradient_color=RRGGBB can override the default.

  • four_colors - There are four colors in increasing grade: green, blue, black, red. Setting gradient_color_1=RRGGBB, gradient_color_2=RRGGBB, gradient_color_2=RRGGBB, gradient_color_2=RRGGBB can override these colors.

  • color_get_darker - A single color (red) will go from bright to dark. Setting gradient_color=RRGGBB can override the default.

  • color_get_lighter - A single color (red) will go from dark to bright. Setting gradient_color=RRGGBB can override the default.

Tour Tracker users might have noticed I make not-entirely-infrequent references to Time Machine, our feature that lets you rewind / play / fast-forward the app to any point in time. And I have to admit, it is my favorite feature in the app by far, so this tech article is about that.

What is Time Machine?

The idea behind Time Machine is that you should be able to go back in time and see exactly what was happening at any moment in the race. What was the GPS tracking system showing? What commentary had the reporter last posted? What were the standings at that moment? And then, naturally, you should be able to tell the app to "play" the race from that moment forward.

Why is Time Machine?

The original and still primary goal is to let users synchronize our race data with any tape-delayed video from the race. All of the exclusive live data and commentary available "as live" while you are watching the race, pausing and skipping forward as you wish. Originally the controls for "pausing and skipping forward" were minimal, but as of the 2020 TDF the apps have a video-player-like control bar with buttons to do just that.

Integrated Video Playback

And even cooler, when a Tour Tracker app has live video embedded in it - for example we provide the official TDF coverage for Australia and the United States - pausing and rewinding race video automatically rewinds the data for you. Or if you rewind the data using our UX, the video will adjust accordingly. It is pretty much magic.

I say "magic" but I have definitely spent more time (like thousands of hours) working on this feature that for years I had no idea if anyone at all was using. I was actually excited when I got my first email complaining about a bug in Time Machine. Someone was using it!

But let's get away from story telling and down to the details.

Enter, Control and Exit Time Machine

You can start Time Machine several ways:

  • On the mobile apps, select Time Machine from any stage's detail page. That brings up a page that lets you type in a distance to go (typically the easiest thing to see on a race video) and jump to that point in time. Voila.

  • Alternatively, tap any icon on a stage's map or profile, which brings up details about that climb, sprint, etc. That page will also have a Time Machine item that when selected, will bring up the "distance to go" page with the distance already filled in for the icon you selected. We actually start a little before the icon, assuming you want to see the last few minutes of a battle to the top of a climb or a sprint line.

  • On the web, you can just double-click anywhere on the stage profile or on the icons and jump to that point without typing in anything. You can also double click on any commentary post and it will take you back to that moment.

To control Time Machine:

  • On the mobile apps, the Time Machine control bar is always available at the bottom of the screen. Using that you can rewind - tapping once goes back 1km, holding your finger down will repeatedly go back - go forward, pause, restart and stop entirely.

  • You can also tap the distance to go to rotate what data is displayed there between distance to go, distance covered, time elapsed and the actual time of day.

  • Currently on the web, just double-click on the profile again to reset the time. Working on adding a control bar soon!

To exit Time Machine:

  • On the mobile apps, tap the stop button (a square) on the Time Machine control bar.

  • Alternatively go back to the "distance to go" page and tap Stop Replay.

  • On the web, an Exit Time Machine button shows up on the Profile view. Odd but true.

Cool Things To Do With Time Machine

  • Synchronize your video and our data to have an exclusive "as live" experience.

  • Relive any moment of race just using our amazing reporting and data feeds.

  • Hold down the fast forward button and see some cool things happen, including...

  • View the profile of the stage and watch the gaps grow and shrink throughout the day.

  • View the new virtual standings and see the exact time of day when the leader's jersey changed hands.

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