The best of the best of Media covering the 2014 Tour de France
It's July and for the next three weeks I plan to be very busy in the wee hours of the morn. I plan to be watching the Tour de France - Live! I won't be in France this year to see the race live in person, but that is fine because being at home means I will actually get to really watch the race. This year I have high hopes of being surprised and I like being surprised in real time. When I know that millions around the world are reacting the same as me to that crash or attack or surprise win.
I typically ignore most of the talk about who is going to win the Tour de France (Contador or Froome, or maybe better yet, a surprise). No matter who the media throws at us as the top-10 contenders, we all know stuff happens in the Tour de France. Crashes, illness, time cut-offs, politics, and fate. That is why LIVE is what it is all about when it comes to watching the Tour de France.
|Camera TV perched high on mountain tops. Photo © by Karen at Pedal Dancer®|
The facts of race coverage
It takes over 100 TV Channels (60 live) and 2000 media members to cover just 22 teams and 198 riders in Le Tour. In 190 countries around the world, 3.5 billion people watched coverage of the Tour de France in 2013 (12 million were spectators along the roadside).
Don't tell me who won
My brother has this annoying habit (annoying to me, not to him), of recording the stage and watching it when dinner is prepared and all the dishes are cleaned, pets are fed and he and his wife can sit down with unfolded napkins on lap and forward through the commercials. That may sound dandy, but it leaves me alone at 7:10am (12 hours earlier) wanting to talk about who just cracked or crashed. I spend much of July trying not to ruin the stage results for others, but that is because there are so many ways to now watch the Tour de France.
For those of us who like to feel that collective energy of watching the Tour de France while it is happening, here is how to do it.
My viewing plan in a nutshell - these are my favorites:
- NBC Sports Tour de France Live - web access ($29.99) I stream it onto my TV (live and recap)
- CyclingNews Tour Tracker app
- ASO Live Ticker Le Tour for updates on exact riders in the breakaway
- Tour Talk with Frankie and James I like seeing where they film each piece
- Global Cycling Network videos
- Orica-Greenedge Backstage Pass videos
- Cycling Tips blog
- The Cycling Podcast blog
- Lionel Birnie Le Gourmet de France blog
- Hardly Serious (Jens Voigt for Bicycling)
- Geraint Thomas (videos)
- The Telegraph Cycling Podcast
- iTv Tour de France podcast
- With some Twitter or Facebook mixed in for fun.
MANY CHOICES TO SEE AND HEAR THE 2014 THE TOUR DE FRANCE
TV Schedule Coverage of the Tour de France
Tour de France 2014: British Eurosport TV schedule (Greg LeMond has teamed up with Eurosport)
France TV 3 TV Schedule
Tour de France 2014: ITV TV schedule (David Millar to join ITV Cycling for Tour de France coverage)
NBC Sports TV Schedule for Tour de France 2014 NBCSN and NBC (free) (Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen announce for NBC, Christian VandeVelde, Todd Harris and Bob Roll announce for NBC Sports Network TV. You will hear these announcers spliced together) *US Only
|Camera motos line up at the start|
Paid Live Online Links - this is the best bet for those without satellite, in the US
NBC Sports Tour de France Live - web access ($29.99) or mobile access ($14.99)*. You can in fact watch your web coverage on desktop and laptop both under the same subscription. There is no package for desktop and mobile. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen only online (no Christian Vande Velde commentary unfortunately) *US Only
NBC, restricted to US, restrictions apply:
Latest version of Adobe Flash Player required.
To gain access on iOS 6.0+ devices, visit the iTunes store to download the NBC Sports Tour de France Live 2014 app.
To gain access on Android 2.3+ devices, visit the Google Play store to download the NBC Sports Tour de France Live 2014 app.
Purchase of service must be made on intended viewing device.
Access cannot be transferred between desktop and tablet/mobile devices.
Service only available for US customers.
Live Stream Tour de France - $9.99/month for 3-months
Free Live Online Links - you run the risk of commercials interfering with key moments, * plus many of these channels are geo restricted, but I rely on these links for many races.
My guess is you are either a regular of Steephill.TV or CyclingFans.com, it depends how you like your cycling links organized and presented. Both websites offer daily links to live coverage and news that will work on a desktop computer and might work on your devices. Broadcasters include: Sporza, Raj, France TV 2, iTv 4, rtl, rtve, rtv, rtbf, espn international, nos.nl, tsn2, rds, j sports, super sport, Rai Sport 2, Rai 3, nos, rtbf, rtl, sf zwei, 2 sportin, rmc.
Steephill.TV Tour de France page of links to articles, video, free live viewing (*good source of NBC video clips).
CyclingFans.com Tour de France page of links to articles, video, free live viewing
Cycling News Live Text Coverage. Just the race coverage as it happens.
Live Update Guy - Charles Pelkey, join in the fun at every stage of this year's Tour. Somewhat dilluted comments, plus you will spend much of your time reading requests for tips, it does offer nice pre-stage history and a feeling of belonging to a small pack of fellow spectators.
Live Tickers & Trackers
Official ASO Live Ticker Le Tour web. Good.
Team Sky offers a live race tracker
NBC Sports Tour de France Live app for mobile ($14.99). *The paid app is separate from the Online product. The two paid products are not compatible or transferable. *US Only
Official ASO Le Tour app for mobile. Good.
CyclingNews Tour Tracker app for mobile
For the following territories, please check the availability of a mobile app on the local TV Broadcaster website:
|Photographers at the 2012 Tour de France. Photo © by Karen at Pedal Dancer®|
Go straight to Le Tour website and dig around through all it offers.
Video preview or recaps
Tour Talk with Frankie and James for Bicycling Magazine. My favorite every year.
Cycling.TV TDF recaps (not live), watch the race when convenient to you (international packages vary) $29.99 quarterly.
How The Race Was Won series by Cyclocosm (some stages)
Race Video Libraries
Geraint Thomas (videos)
Global Cycling Network
Cycling Central SBS
Bicycling Tour Video
You could also just go to the YouTube 2014 Tour de France search
Team Video Libraries
Team Sky Race Videos
Orica-Greenedge Backstage Pass Videos
Photography & Video
Jared and Ashley Gruber and Kristof Ramon (Kramen), three of the best photographers in the sport of cycling have teamed up this year to offer photography to Scott, producer of the Moments in Sport website. See their combined work at this website Moments of Tour de France.
Follow the travels of two amazing photographers - Iri Greco and Jim Frye of Brake Through Media: Brake through on the road
|Huge numbers of press at the Tour de France|
Podcasts fun to listen to the chat post race, some are paid, some are free
The Telegraph Cycling Podcast * hosted by Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe
iTv Tour de France podcast * hosted by Gary Imlach, Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, Chris Bordman, Ned Boulting, Matt Rendell or J Douglas, with many guests.
BBC Radio Bespoke at the Tour de France podcast hosted by Rob Hatch, Rob Hayles and team
Cycling Weekly 2014 Tour de France podcast hosted by various hosts and guests
Velocast Podcast with Scott and John, paid £7.99/month, Velocast Daily News podcast free
|Fans watch the stage roadside|
I use twitter to read what the real riders post. I love seeing their photos or reactions. Twitter is also good to find out more about a big happening in the race or hot topic. Besides that the usual suspects in the cycling world on Twitter drive me nuts. Here is a quick follow list for all riders in the 2014 Tour de France on Twiter by Velofacts: https://twitter.com/velofacts/tour-de-france-2014/members or the list of entourage at the Tour: https://twitter.com/velofacts/lists/tour-de-france-entourage
To this list of teams I also like following @MattRabin @letour @TDWsport @DanWouri @theRaceRadio @Friebos @kristoframon @jeredgruber @FakieFrankie @BMCProTeam @CraigLewis85 and Chef @KimRokjaer (I like food!)
Team Facebook Pages
- AG2R La Mondiale
- Astana Pro Team
- Belkin Pro Cycling
- BMC Racing Team
- Cannondale Pro
- I AM Cyling
- Team Katusha
- Lampre Merida
- Lotto Belisol
- Omega Pharma - Quickstep
- Orica - GreenEDGE
- Team Europcar
- Team Giant-Shimano
- Team Netapp-Enduro
- Sky Pro Cycling
- Trek Factory Racing
|Photographers waiting at the finish line for that one perfect photo|
Follow the Blogs
The Cycling Podcast blog (Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie, Daniel Friebe)
Hardly Serious (Jens Voigt)
I am Ted King (Ted King)
Geraint Thomas (videos)
Cycling Tips (excellence!)
Tour de France moto blog Luke Evans for Cycling Weekly
Follow the Tour Companies
I like following the Bike Tour Companies as they bring their clients (the regular folk) through France and live the tour is real life. In Situ Travel, Thomson Bike Tours, VeloClassic, Bikestyle, Velo Peloton.
Read the Race Previews
Tour de France - overall preview and favorites C-Cycling
Tour ’14: The PEZ Preview! Pez Cycling
Team Sky Race Guide Sky Pro Cycling
In 2014, 10 stages will be broadcast in their entirety (9 in 2013, 7 in 2012) - these are also the must watch stages!
1: Leeds – Harrogate / Saturday 5th July
2: York – Sheffield / Sunday 6th July
3: Cambridge – London / Monday 7th July
4: Le Touquet Paris-Plage – Lille Métropole / Tuesday 8th July
5: Ypres – Arenberg Porte du Hainaut / Wednesday 9th July
10: Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles / Monday 14th July
14: Grenoble – Risoul / Saturday 19th July
17: Saint-Gaudens – Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet / Wednesday 23rd July
18: Pau – Hautacam / Thursday 24th July
20: Bergerac ITT! / Saturday 26th July
21: Evry – Paris / Sunday 27th July
Much more by Pedal Dancer on my Guide Page: TOUR DE FRANCE
Also: FRANCE CYCLING and FRANCE TRAVEL
All photos in this post by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®