NTT, the Japanese technology services provider, has unveiled plans to create the world’s largest connected stadium for cycling’s upcoming Tour de France.

The move will see NTT, an established sponsor of the Tour, provide a ‘digital twin’ of the 2021 event, which starts in Brest on Saturday.

NTT, in collaboration with Amaury Sports Organisation, the organiser of the Tour, will offer a variety of digital experiences, including an official live tracking site, data-driven insights via Twitter, Instagram and television broadcasts, a 3D tracker, which will provide 3D views of the stages, a fantasy sports game, and an NTT media wall.

Having been initiated through Dimension Data in 2015, the partnership between ASO and NTT was renewed in 2019 and runs to 2024.

As part of the 'digital twin' plan, NTT will use sensors, edge computing and networks to provide real-time visibility and updates, as well as Covid-19 contact tracing, which will enable staff to streamline operations.

Furthermore, for the first-time, NTT will use real time analytics to deliver a live race overview from any area.

Peter Gray, senior vice president, advanced technology group, sport at NTT, said: “The digitisation of the Tour de France began in 2015 by capturing data from the cyclists to provide real-time updates. Every year we have been able to take the technology to the next level, this year we are creating what is essentially a digital twin of the event. It’s a highly dynamic and changing environment that requires immediate access to information to ensure continuous and smooth operations, resulting in more informed and engaged fans.”

The ASO recently announced the Women’s Tour de France will return to the cycling calendar next year, after an absence of more than three decades.

The women’s eight-day race, to be known as Le Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, will begin in Paris on 24 July 2022, following on from the men’s event.