01 July 2011

Where and how to watch the Tour de France

In France! - of course
Alright how about for those of us who will not be attending the race live in France this year? What are our options to watch and track the Tour de France in the comfort of our own homes.
Official website
Le Tour this website is so deep, explore the tabs. There is so much great information all on this one website. 

In the USA: Versus (NBC) TV Tour de France Live coverage schedule (time is in EDT) . Here is the schedule for the re-airings of the TDF on Versus & NBC TV (pretty much all day)
In the UK: viewers review this schedule for the Tour de France on TV compiled by the Telegraph
In France: France 2 Schedule  France TV every afternoon in your favorite bar or home television. List of Streaming Videos.
Online Live Video
Steephill. TV - all the live links (the Eurosport links work)
ProCyclingLive - more live links 
CyclingFans - live and archived
Versus All Access - live HD video let you pause, rewind, and view in slow motion. Subscribers may watch highlight videos, interviews, and NBC-exclusive material like online-only analysis. $29.95.

Online Live Information 
Le Tour time gaps and live comments
France TV (live may not be available in USA)
CyclingNews - live written reporting
NBC App - all the content mentioned above accessible through an iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Online video reports 
Breakfast with Bernie Eisel and VeloNew, daily morning video
Bicycling.com daily video with Chris Horner
Tour Talk with Frankie Andreu and James Startt
Ben Swift Cycling video updates 
Geraint Thomas & Ben Swift videos
Archived videos & photographs
Versus/NBC Sports
Steephill. TV
Video.bicycling.com (watch Tour Talk with Frankie Andreu and James Startt) 
Oz Cycling
Cycling Central
Guardian.co.uk - Video highlights of every stage

Cycling News and Magazines
Cycling Central
CycleSport  and *Cycle Sport’s Tour Village
Bike Radar
Velo Nation
Cycling News 
The Age  
DailyPeloton.com - Stage reports and news
Guardian.co.uk - interactive guide and TDF news

Rider power and numbers and wins
SRM live tracker
Cycling Palmares (race wins) for every pro rider

Bike Snob NYC - blogging about the Tour de France, when you want to see some different words used to describe this race (not the same old sports talk interview) read his posts - he is funny. This is supposed to be fun!
VeloPeloton Blog 
Hardly Serious with Jens Voigt 
Podium Cafe
Tobes' Blog
Chris Horner's blog
The Inner Ring
Cycling Tips blog 

Twitter - the inside scoop, maybe even TMI 
Who to follow at the Tour de France - Riders, staff & DS a list of who you can follow at the TDF.  Or my abbreviated shorter list at The good meat at the Tour de France (mostly riders and goodies without the bulk).

Forums - speak up
The France Forums
In my opinion:  
So many options - I am a fan of multi-media cycling. I watch TV, I watch on my laptop, I watch on a second screen at my desk, I use my iphone, and I read live ticker reports online so I can really see who is in the break, what the time splits are and what is happening in the moment. I consistently use Steephill.TV for links to watch Eurosport or French TV online live, because I feel the cameramen are excellent, and they keep the cameras rolling to cover after race footage and podium presentations.The Europeans are pros and cover this race super well. 

Also if you like to watch the early part of the stages (and you live in the USA) you will need to pull up a link to Eurosport (visit Steephill.TV or ProCyclingLive to find links) or Versus/NBC online, and watch on your computer until the TV coverage begins. Versus/NBC tends to give a preview, and review of the start, and then show the last part of the stage live. Eurosport and Versus/NBC will have slightly different camera coverage (I think it depends on which camera they select in the moment). If you get tired of the commercials on Versus cutting off the live coverage, you can always watch Eurosport. 

Versus - from what I can tell, the true advantage of the $29.95 All Access package is being able to watch the coverage anytime you want on your computer depending on your work/life schedule. You can watch good quality on your computer and I like the flexibility of not being tied to a TV. You control what you watch and when, but Versus will air differing lengths of coverage throughout the day on TV anyway. All access also offers tour tracking, but other sources offers this as well. I'm not certain about this one quite yet (but someone please convince me if this is the bee's knees) although I might be a late joiner. 
Tracking games - tour tracking sort of cracks me up because your rider is either in the front, in the back, or in the car. They are on the same mountain in France and they are only minutes apart. The racers no longer wait it out at a cafe or catch a train, they stopped that behavior some time ago. Besides I don't want to know where Alberto is. Again these games give us something to do while watching the coverage.

Twitter - I get a kick out of Twitter during the 3 weeks of the Tour de France. Seeing Manuel Quinziato hugging his refound lost luggage just cracks me up. Hearing what the riders really think, and witnessing them tease each other puts the fun back in this sport. Plus you can tell when they get tired by week three.

Daily recaps - if you have a busy life and do not have time to watch cycling for 3 hours a day, visit www.Steephill.TV, he daily adds the links to stage video recaps. You often have your choice of watching the last 1km, or last 5km, or longer. The video time length is listed next to the symbol.

I am excited for the Tour de France. Wade through all the smack talk and predictions - no one really knows what will happen everyday out on the road anyway. This is sport, and this is one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Time to be a fan of the Tour de France!