Following le Tour on le iPad
By Adam TURNER
The iPad makes a handy couch-side companion for the three grueling weeks of le Tour de France.
If you're a sleep-deprived cycling fan with an iPad at hand, it's easy to keep track of the action. SBS Tour de France website renders nicely in Mobile Safari, such as last night when I was watching Stage 5. The Fantasy Tour site also works nicely for Dreamteam fans who fancy themselves as a team manager.
Unfortunately the Flash-based TDF multimedia site isn't as iPad friendly. Obviously the live Flash-based TV simulcast doesn't work, although if you've got a notebook at hand it's a great way to watch the tour in bed. Even the non-Flash-based sections of the site aren't that user-friendly on the iPad.
SBS has released a free iPhone app, although it's copped a lot of flak in the user reviews on the iTunes store. You'll need to cough up $3.99 to activate advanced features such as real-time tracking and real-time alerts. Before you do, check out the free Rabo Bank Cycling for iPad app (plus there's also a free iPhone app).
The Rabo Bank app shows you a live map of the stage, marking the climbs and sprints as well as the distance to the finish line. It also reveals the riders in the peloton and those in the break away, as well as their lead on the pack. The app seems to be around 7 to 10 km behind the live broadcast, or a bit over 10 minutes (once SBS skips through the early parts of the race and catches up to live with around 100km to go). So it's handy during the race but obviously not much use during the final sprint. It's times like this the iPad's lack of Flash is really annoying, as the official Tour website offers an amazing live view of the race which is only about 1 km off the action.
As we push towards the mountains, keep your lead-out man close and your tech even closer.
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