Well that didn’t take long. The UCI officials ordered a drone with a camera to land on the first lap at Saturday’s Superprestige Gavere ‘cross race in Belgium. There was some pretty incredible footage for fans to see as the drone hovered behind the lead rider, Lucinda Brand (Baloise/Trek Lions) as she sprinted, slid and zigzagged on the quick course.
The coverage gave an incredible glimpse of just how fast the best in the world are, much better than a static camera beside the course.
But alas, just minutes after it followed the former world champion, the UCI grounded the drone. Some speculated safety concerns, given that the drone was flying at the same height as Brand. If the rider crashed, or the drone operator lost control of the mini-copter, it could pose a serious risk to riders or spectators. Others suggested that drones should replace motorcycles with cameras on road stages, but some suggested it would only work on a closed course.
Several were upset the drones were disallowed, including Sven Nys and Brand herself.
“Amazing footage,” she tweeted. “Unfortunately, this was the only flight, UCI banned it during our race. But a big shoutout to the people who introduced this to our sport! I think a drone like this is an amazing feature to make the broadcasts even more interesting!”
“The crew contacted me before the race and I know they are all about safety,” she added. “The drone is small and it looks like the propellers are protected to not hurt someone. Hope to see these shots again in the next races!”
Check out the footage below:
— GCN Racing (@GcnRacing) February 12, 2022