Cycling Fans on Satellite Pro-cycling satellite race coverage


Tour de France

Filed under: Coverage,Criticism,Eurosport,ITV,Live Events,Road racing — MJ Ray @ 09:21+00:00

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…


Paris-Nice Highlights

Filed under: Coverage,Criticism,ITV,Road racing — MJ Ray @ 11:12+00:00

itv4 at 28e has Paris-Nice highlights today at 1210 BST. On satellite, there’s an itv4+1 which will show it at 1310 BST.

It seems a bit strange to show the highlights so long after the event, but maybe this suggests the start of a sequence of highlights on Sunday lunchtimes. Nothing else showing on the schedules for the next two weeks yet, though.

itv, what are you playing at?


Milan-San Remo

Filed under: Coverage,Criticism,Eurosport,ITV,Live Events,Road racing — MJ Ray @ 10:24+00:00

The 298km spring Classicissima takes place on Saturday 21st Mar 2009.

Coverage on free-to-air satellite includes (at 19e), 1550-1715 CET and RAI Tre (13e), 1450-1550 CET (RAI listings – thanks to Dave Fisher). I think that last year it also appeared on itv4 on a Monday evening, but I can’t see it there yet!

If you see it on another channel, leave a comment, please.


Tour of Britain

Filed under: Coverage,ITV,Road racing — MJ Ray @ 07:12+00:00

The Tour of Britain is from Sunday 7 September – 14 September. I should be at Tuesday’s stage finish in Burnham-on-Sea and I’ll try to post some pictures from there. If you’re going to be at other stages, let me or know.

This year, itv4 takes up the baton with much-improved coverage every night at 8pm – see times from TVGuide.


Tour of Ireland

Filed under: Coverage,ITV,Road racing — MJ Ray @ 12:38+00:00

The Tour of Ireland is attracting a growing audience and this year’s entrants include Garmin-Chipotle’s Irish champion Dan Martin who hinted at good form in the just-finished Volta a Portugal. Other entrants include Team Columbia with the Manx Express Mark Cavendish returning to the road hoping to recapture his amazing Tour de France form after a disappointing Beijing Olympics.

Highlights are shown every day on itv4 (at 28 east, on the UK-targetted beam) at 7pm BST from Wednesday 27th to Sunday 31st August, except 7.30pm Friday and 7.10pm Saturday. Non-satellite Irish viewers can see what looks like the same programme on RTE Two about 3am. (itv news release) I’ve not found any other non-subscription broadcasts yet.


Tour de France

Filed under: Coverage,Eurosport,ITV,Road racing — MJ Ray @ 11:54+00:00

And so it starts!

France 2 and 3 are the home of the Tour, really. They have most coverage at 5w. Current show times from EuroTV.

Belgium‘s French-language RTBFsat is also showing live coverage and their “A bicyclette” show is back. See teletext for today’s show times.

Eurosport has coverage at 19e with audio in German (digital and analogue) and English (analogue only). Live coverage of stages and several repeats of highlights – a good pick if you miss your daily dose of tour. Current show times from Klack. It looks like ARD and ZDF (19e and some 13e) are also showing it – I wonder if they’ll show the whole race this year? ARD Listings.

In the UK, we’ve more coverage than ever before, with itv4 advertising itself as the home of cycling at 28e. There’s live coverage on weekends and highlights around 7pm BST every day. Current show listings from TVGuide. Update: On weekdays, live coverage is on one of the ITVi Video Stream channels at 28e on 10832kHz Horizontal SID 10005 VPID 2367 APID 2366. This is on Astra 2D, so coverage is UK-focused.

Dutch language channel BVN (Best from Flanders and Netherlands) on 19e and 13e is showing NOS’s Sportzomer highlights and interview show on most days around 2230 CET. See VRT teletext for today’s show time. Thanks to Bernie S for the tip.

Italy‘s RAI Tre (13e) is showing stages live and highlights in Tg Sport Speciale around 2000 CET each evening. I’d expect more coverage and repeats on RAI Sport Piu on weekdays, but I only have listings for one day ahead.

I’ll probably post again in a few days once I’ve tried a few channels and noted any differences or eccentricities in their coverage. Let me know if you’re watching it free-to-air another way, or if something above does or doesn’t work for you, please.


Questions About Cycling on Satellite

Filed under: BBC,Coverage,Eurosport,ITV — MJ Ray @ 02:10+00:00

We’ve a few days before the next race and Erol asked a few questions in a comment which I think are good for a wider audience:-

“I came across your site doing a Google search for Cycling coverage on TV, and am hoping you can spare a few minutes to provide me with some information. At the moment I currently receive British Eurosport 1 & 2 through my Sky box but I am fed up with having to pay for poor coverage of cycling events, especially when compared to International Eurosport which is also free.

From the google searches I’ve done it seems that Internation Eurosport’s English feed is only broadcast through analogue, whereas the digital feed for International Eurosport is in German. My problem is that I live in South Wales where analogue is due to be switched off next year so it won’t be very cost effective to buy all the analogue kit if it won’t work in 12 months time. Is my only realistic long term option to buy a dish that would allow me to pick up digital International Eurosport (plus a German dictionary!)?

By the way – fascinating stuff reading about all the foreign channels that show cycling. Are you able to recommend a good dish that could pick up these channels? I like the sound of the motor control too. I don’t fancy climbing up a ladder every other day to reposition the dish!

I’ll give the easy answers first: I believe pretty much any dish on sale in the UK should pick up the channels located at 28e and 19e from South Wales. 60cm or larger will also pick up 13e and 5w without much trouble and that’ll cover most of the cycling channels in the main European languages. 80cm will pick up a few more, but I don’t have listings for most of them, so don’t often cover them. I’m currently just over the water from you, in Somerset, using a 60cm solid dish which I think was Technisat-branded, but I’m not climbing the ladder to check today.

Usually, the biggest challenge is finding a place for the dish that has an unobstructed view of several satellite positions and not just Freesat’s home at 28e (which is all most people here care about, after all). There are online tools which can help, but nothing beats standing outside with a compass after using one of the satellite position calculators.

To watch several satellites, you can either use a motor or an offset bracket with several LNBs and a switch. A motor is better because you only need one LNB and can use a smaller dish; an offset bracket is better because I hear that it’s a bit simpler to install and offers near-instant channel-changing between satellites. I use a USALS motor bought a couple of years ago from Brymar, but other direct sellers like SatCure or high-street stores like Maplin have them too.

You’re quite right that the free-to-air Eurosport digital broadcast is only in German at the moment, while English is available on analogue. While that analogue signal will probably be switched off eventually (watch AnalogueSat for news), that’s not the same as the “analogue switch-off” or “digital switchover” (DSO) advertised on your local TV channels. The date given in those adverts is for terrestial broadcasts received through your aerial: around that date, the old BBC-1, BBC-2, itv, C4/S4C and five signals will cease and only Freeview will be broadcast. It has nothing to do with satellite TV: the main UK satellite TV system went digital-only years ago.

I’m not sure whether we’ll get Eurosport in English on digital after they switch off the analogue, but I don’t think they’ve even announced when switch-off will happen yet. AnalogueSat reports that some other analogue channels at 19e will switch off in 2011 and 2012, so you’ll probably get a couple of years of viewing. If you get a combined analogue/digital receiver, or a digital receiver with a “LNB pass-through” socket and a second-hand analogue receiver, you can run both from one dish and a single LNB very easily.

Eurosport 2 doesn’t seem to be free-to-air anywhere, but more of the cycling is on International Eurosport than Eurosport 2. I think I’ve read that Sky has a stake in British Eurosport, so I doubt that will ever be free-to-air, even if BBC+itv’s Freesat is successful.

Anyone with any more questions? Please ask in a comment and I’ll try to answer.


Tour of Britain launch notes

Filed under: BBC,Coverage,Criticism,ITV,Road racing — MJ Ray @ 07:31+00:00

ToB Taunton Banner The Tour of Britain organisers emailed me to announce their launch. The race this year will be 7th – 14th September (starting stage 2 in my old stomping grounds of MK and finishing stage 3 in Burnham on Sea, the next town south from my home) and they announce daily coverage on itv4
on their front page.

Well done ToB and itv! That should be a vast improvement on the 2 hours on the last day that BBC were giving it, although I expect it’s highlights rather than live.


Paris-Nice for the UK-only viewers

Filed under: Coverage,ITV,Road racing — MJ Ray @ 03:26+00:00

Over in the timewarp, itv4 (28e) will be showing Paris-Nice highlights on Sat 29.03. at 11:55 BST. Better late than never, I guess.


Tour of Britain – stage 2: Taunton

Filed under: BBC,Coverage,Criticism,ITV,Live Events — MJ Ray @ 04:23+00:00

ToB Taunton BannerAs mentioned yesterday, I went to watch the Tour of Britain for real in Taunton.

It’s taken me a while to encode these (I’ll write about the technical details on another page soon), but here are the videos. They’re in the super-cool Ogg Theora format, in case that helps you update your media player with filters like these. (I probably should do some clever tricks to embed these videos in the page, but it’s taken me long enough to get this far, so please either download the files or drag-and-drop the links to your media player. If anyone can explain how to embed videos simply, please leave me a comment…)

First of all, I went to Staplegrove Road, where I thought the peloton might slow slightly to get past a roundabout on their first pass through Taunton (Ogg, 514K) a bit after 11am, but they didn’t really.

Then I got a brilliant position in the second row just by the finish line, which meant I didn’t see the big crash of the day until I saw the TV news in the evening, but I did see both the main sprints, for the stage win (Ogg 919K) and the yellow-jersey group (Ogg 382K).

Finally, I went and watched the presentations – the yellow jersey (Ogg 1.3M) and the champagne spray (Ogg 643K) are shown here.

The BBC has the broadcast rights to the tour of Britain and seem to be doing a terrible job:

Live race news seems to be limited to a quick mention in the half-hourly sports bulletins on Radio Five (on satellite Astra 2D at 28 east to much of north-west Europe, or Medium Wave 909 and 693kHz).

Each night, there’s a short (3 minutes?) summary report in the BBC1 TV news of that stage’s region, some time after 18:30 BST (so tonight in West Midlands, tomorrow Yorkshire and North Midlands, Friday North-west and Saturday Scotland, all Astra 2D). This is not shown on BBC News 24, as far as I’ve seen, not even in the Sportsday show.

There will be one national highlights show on BBC 2 at 14:30 on Sunday (again, Astra 2D), the day after the race has finished. Official listings say this is highlights of the final stage but hopefully it will cover the other stages too.

I feel they should take the rights away from the BBC and give ITV a chance. We had better coverage of this year’s Tour of Ireland (from itv4) than we have of the Tour of Britain – this is silly.

For non-TV coverage details, including Twitter, see

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