Making Something Useful from the TdF Presentation

Oct 19 2009

tour_reflectI’ve never been much for Grand Tour prognostications immediately upon the release of a given event’s parcours. Aside from the fact that an infinite number of doping convictions, crashes, team developments, and vacillations in form could occur during the next 10 months, the fact is that things tend not to unfold as predicted.

Is the memory of this year’s Tour so faded that people have forgotten how the first action-packed week—tabbed by many beforhand to be something of a bore—led into a week and a half of largely formulaic and negative racing, culminating with a ride to the top of Ventoux that almost appeared to be a mosey to behind two day-long breakaways.

For me, the most telling insights from the 2010 Tour presentation had nothing to do with the route; Alberto Contador’s decidedly unsubtle walk-off of underdressed rival Andy Schleck, and possibly one of the most awkward handshakes ever captured told me all there was to know at this point in time. As Shane Stokes so rightly quipped “spot the alpha male”.

However, that’s not to say that the Tour route data can’t be put to some good use. After all, would I really leave you hanging without a post since Thursday if I weren’t up to something? ‘Cross racing only takes up some much time, you know—even if it involves concocting means of hoseless mud removal while watching others nearly freeze to death.

So I present to you Cyclocosm’s 2010 Tour de France Map viewer. Showing some decent online pluck for a print publication, Velonews put together a Google Maps overlay from what little route has been released so far. I followed-up by building a template around that to make the interface fast, beautiful, and user-friendly.

Outside of fresh scrolling muscles, there are two tremendous benefits to this set-up. The first is that I don’t have to worry about keeping my own version of the map up to date—the source material is identical, so if the map author makes a change, my map changes, too.

The second is that now I have a new content type for displaying Google Maps data; essentially, any bike race you can draw on Google Maps, I can display quickly, easily, and beautifully display within the site—with proper attribution for your efforts, of course.

Oh, one more thing: it doesn’t work in Internet Explorer. And I have no intention of fixing that.

7 Responses to “Making Something Useful from the TdF Presentation”

  1. Anonymous October 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    does it work in firefox? it didn’t in mine.

    • cosmo October 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

      It should. IE gags on object, but FF should be fine.

      If it doesn’t work, I’ll fix it in a sec

  2. cosmo October 19, 2009 at 7:41 pm #

    Ok, fixed it. Straightened out the “By Type” stage lists with some br tags. Not pretty, but it’ll do for now.

  3. rainbow October 19, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    OH super photo!. looks like Lance sat on all his previous TDF trophies at once, or is he still trying to swallow evidence that wasn’t left behind in Astana hotel rooms?. But my best laugh of the day was seeing the names of 29th Pellizotti 30th Pozzato on the UCI world rankings then 31st Lance Armstrong;- ( now I know the other two had alarmingly underwhelming seasons, but Lance had a super Stella exposition of a year, what gives?. a nice trio of Stooges, I thought too.
    And could you try and dig up and produce a HTRWW on the race was won for the world champs( iI see you’ve been requested already, but without result), I’ve been so far in the depths of Indonesia that I couldn’t even get Lance’s Twaats!

  4. SteveFroth October 20, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    Thanks for the kind words, cyclosm folks. And I like what you’ve done with our map!

    Steve Frothingham
    Editor, VeloNews.com

  5. Sebastian October 20, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    Dude, I missed that Contador/Schleck clip the first time around — thanks for catching it! But it does serve to remind me of why I like the Schlecks (and Gesink): as someone who grew up in the eighties, I nostalgically welcome the return of the Tall Climber.

  6. henkio October 21, 2009 at 5:43 am #

    Here is the route for the Roetterdam prologue.
    http://i38.tinypic.com/2ni0708.jpg

    Or maybe it just didn’t work with me :)

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