© Baixauli Studio

The health crisis provoked by the COVID-19 virus has led La Vuelta to eliminate the signing process that traditionally characterises each stage departure. The signature podium is key: a compulsory part of the competition that carries a sanction should the rider not fulfil this registration process prior to participating in the stage departure. In order to avoid the physical manipulation of pens and paper this year, thanks to Movistar, the process will be carried out through facial recognition technology.

The facial recognition technology implemented by Telefónica Security Engineering is one of the most effective measures offered by Movistar to its clients to control the pandemic. It allows people to be identified without contact, while maintaining interpersonal safety distances. This facial recognition system is a computer app that analyses a person’s physical characteristics in order to identify them. The program detects the user, studies the details and then verifies if he is authorised to access a certain place or certain information.

The system, that can also measure body temperature, will serve in this occasion to capture the cyclist’s image and – through an innovative facial recognition algorithm, display on the signature podium stage and screens, the details of the corresponding rider. This will eliminate contact during the signature podium process at each stage departure and, thus, the risk of contagion among the cyclists. This is the first time in history that this type of innovative technology will feature in La Vuelta, and it will be done through Telefónica Security Engineering.

Movistar, telecommunications partner of La Vuelta, promotes the use of technology as a helpful tool during the sporting events it participates in. Currently, the Movistar Team cyclists already use big data in order to obtain real-time monitoring of their training sessions. Knowing the performance levels of the riders, applied to such variables as the stage outline, stage difficulty or cardiac rhythm, is an infallible tool to obtain a team’s maximum performance.