...but many TdF sites are struggling to keep up with the demand, says Keynote Systems, the Internet Performance Authority.

Web users at work tune in to ‘live’ Tour de France updates…

Keynote Systems has been measuring the online results of the main Tour of France cycling websites.

During the week of 12th-19th July Keynote detected a distinct pattern of dips in site performance and thus increases in download times during the working week, as people have turned to the Internet for live updates. Given that the Tour of France occurs during the afternoon (GMT), it is likely that people at work are driving the demand for information.

There were two noticeable afternoons when performance declined on the official Tour of France site, www.letour.fr as well as on the related French TV website, France Télévisions, www.letour.francetv.fr.

On the afternoon of Monday July 15, as Santiago Botero and defending champion Lance Armstrong battled to win stage 9 in an exciting duel of strength, the time taken to download the English language home page of www.letour.fr/2002/us climbed to 15.83 seconds. The France Télévisions site rose to 10.95 second, while www.cyclingnews.com took nearly 25 seconds to provide an update.

The same pattern occurred when Lance Armstrong secured the first mountain stage from Pau to La Mongie in the Pyrenees, though it was less marked with he exception of www.cyclingnews.com which took over 27 seconds.

The same pattern is also detected for the official Tour de France home page in

English and German.

Availability remained high however, with average figures throughout the week

staying above 99% for all sites.

Eric Nataf, Keynote Systems’ product marketing director, Europe, said: "This eek saw the Tour of France move up a gear as the favourites begin to assert hemselves and the race enters the arduous mountain stages. As a result ore people have taken an interest in the race while at work and this has een reflected in the performance of web sites providing live updates. hile performance has suffered, for the most part availability has been

good, though this may not hold true as the race enters its last week."

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