I’m a big cycling fan. In addition to recreational cycling and commuting by bicycle, I like to follow big-time professional cycling. I’m really thrilled that the Amgen Tour of California is starting from my home town of San Francisco next Sunday. This is a new event on the cycling calendar, a 700 mile, 8 day stage race from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Many of the world’s top teams and riders are expected to participate including George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Floyd Landis, Chris Horner, Fred Rodriguez, Gilberto Simoni, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Viatchslev Ekimov and Paolo Savoldelli.
I won’t be able to attend any of the other stages in person but I will be following them with ESPN2’s daily highlight coverage at 10PM Pacific Standard Time. But even better, I’ll be able to follow the action live on my cell phone thanks to Velonews.com, Google and Yeswap.com. Velonews will have live coverage on their web site. Here’s a link to their coverage of one of the best stages of last summer’s Tour de France http://www.velonews.com/live/text/242.html. Note how much this looks like a mobile page. Mostly text with a few small images – this page will work on many phones although the total page size, 25 KB of text plus about 60 KB for images is too large for some phones. The other problem with viewing Velonew’s live coverage on a phone is finding it. The url changes every day and to reach the actual coverage you have to drill down through several large mobile-unfriendly web pages. When you finally reach the live page it is displayed in a frame on a larger page. You CAN reach the page but on a typical mobile browser it’s requires a lot of trial and error and time.
To make it easy to use the Velonews coverage, I built a little mobile page on the Yeswap.com portal. Each day the page is updated with a link pointing a mobile transcoded version (to alleviate the page size issue) of the Velonews.com live coverage for that day. For WAP2 phones the page uses the Google transcoder, which now resizes images – thank you Google. WAP1 phones get a page transcoded to wml with the Yeswap.com transcoder.
The url is http://yeswap.com/CyclingLive.php. You can avoid some triple tapping by going to yeswap.com and then choosing Sports/Cycling/Cycling Live from the menus. The Cycling Live page uses browser detection to give you a WAP1 or WAP2 page depending on your device’s capabilities. This should work 99% of the time. If you aren’t getting the type of markup you want, you can force WAP1 (wml) by using http://wml.yeswap.com/CyclingLive.php. To force WAP2 (html) use http://htm.yeswap.com/CyclingLive.php
Incidentally, if you want to go directly to the Velonews coverage rather than using my page it’s not hard provided you have a bookmark to one of the Velonews Live pages. The only part of the Velonews url that changes is the number at the end which is incremented each day. It looks like Sunday’s inaugural stage of the Tour of California will be http://www.velonews.com/live/text/271.html so Monday’s stage will be 272.html etc.
The Cycling Live page is not just for the Tour of California. I plan on using it for all the events that Velonews covers. Based on what they did last year it looks like there will be live reports from the following events:
Tour of California / Feb 19-26
Ghent-Wevelgem / April 5
Paris-Roubaix / April 9
Amstel Gold Race / April 16
Tour of Georgia / April 18-23
Fleche Wallonne / April 19
Liege-Bastogne-Liege / April 23
Giro d’Italia / May 6-28
Tour de France / July 1-23
Vuelta a Espana / August 26-September 17
World Road Championships / September 24
After after each event, the archived report will be available online until the next event.
Sunday’s Tour of California stage starts at 10 AM Pacific time (GMT -8).