July 2nd will mark the beginning of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France. Here’s all you need to know about how to watch people cycling through France and Switzerland while on your couch in Central Illinois!
Watching on TV
NBC, Channel 10, has exclusive rights to broadcast the Tour de France in the U.S., so your ability to watch will be limited if you just have broadcast or basic cable. From the looks of it, there won’t be a lot of Tour de France coverage, with airings limited to Saturday and Sunday.
If you have a more expanded digital cable package, then you’ll have a lot more access to the Tour de France through NBC Sports, Channel 640 or 1640. Their coverage starts at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday with the Tour de France pre-show and you can spend hours every day watching cyclists pedal and pedal and pedal and pedal, feeling the agony on their faces as every fiber of their body telling them to stop. (That’s le Tour!)
A plus to NBC Sports’ coverage is that they also offer a condensed three-hour version during primetime, starting at 9 p.m. The downside to their coverage is that it won’t be broadcasting the entire race, just four to five hours, generally missing the first few hours of the race.
Watching Online – Pay
- If you get NBC Sports, you’ll be able to use your subscription to watch the Tour de France online, live and replays, through their website. If you don’t have cable, ask close, beloved friends (or your parents). Chances are they’ll be happy to grant you access.
- If you don’t get NBC Sports, but you want access to their coverage, you can pay $29.99 to get the NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass. This’ll give you live and on-demand access to fifteen races for a year.
- Cycling.tv – This website offers live and on-demand coverage of the Tour, with English-language commentary. It’ll also give you a whole host of options for watching previous events. To subscribe, you’ll need to pay $29.99 for one month or $79.99 for a whole year’s access.
Watching Online – Free
If you’re not down with spending any money, don’t sweat it! You’ll be able to stream it online, though you might not be able to be so picky with the language of the commentary.
- CyclingFans gives you the opportunity to watch the Tour free online as they’ve been doing for years.
- Steephill.tv has a list of where to watch or stream the Tour depending on where you are. Lots of these will probably be only available in certain countries, but it’s a good resource to have, particularly if you like cycling and want to brush up on your Slovak or Luxembourgish.
Watch the Tour with Neutral Cycle! We haven’t set up any dates just yet, but we plan to and we’ll be sure to let you know when we do!