And so it begins!
itv4 (28e) has live coverage Saturday 1630-1900 BST and Sunday 1430-1630 BST, with highlights daily at 1900-2000 BST (except Saturday when it’s at 2000), repeated the following day at 1300.
Unfortunately, it seems that reruns of 60s serials are more important to itv4 than the Tour de France (home of cycling? more like a doss house it’s only allowed in at night), so we need to look at foreign channels for live coverage…
France Television is the home broadcaster and you can watch live tour coverage on France 2 (5w) most days from about 1420 CET. There’s often a short programme earlier at 1250 or 1300 CET for the village départ on France 3 (5w). I suspect the highlights are in either the France 2 Journal at 2000 CET or Tout le Sport around 2300 CET on France 3. Generally, the pictures are what you’ll see used as a base by all the other broadcasters.
Belgium’s RTBFsat (13e) is also showing tour coverage in French. In previous years, it’s been fairly similar to the French coverage, but with different commentators. If I remember correctly, a little before the stage, their show A bicyclette offers a bit of a different look around the start towns.
Italian channel RAI Due (13e) seems to have the live stages this year, with highlights later on RAI Sport píu (13e). Earlier in the day, RAI Sport píu is showing the Giro d’Italia femmini if you’d like to watch that.
Either the Spanish-language channels suck, my TV guides suck or both. I can’t find any free-to-air coverage from Spain at all.
In German, Eurosport (19e) has live coverage daily. Usually, they add more on-screen captions, picture-in-picture interviews and also magazine programmes like Planet Armstrong. Good for information, but some may find the scrolling competitions a bit distracting.
ARD and ZDF (13e and 19e) continue their love-hate relationship with le Tour. This year they’re showing live coverage, but I think starting later in the stage than other broadcasters (1630 CET or so). Hopefully this year they won’t bottle out if some drug cheats are caught during the race.
Unusually, I’ve also found RTL Tele Letzeburg (19e) showing live coverage. I don’t remember finding that before. Maybe they’re hoping to capitalise on the reduced coverage from across the border in Germany this year?
Have you spotted any more free-to-air coverage? Any particularly good (or bad) presentations of the Tour? What do you love or hate about the shows? Leave a comment and praise Phil or condemn Carsten if you like…