ITV4 will show the Tour de France in 2016 (and so will Eurosport)
The good news for UK cycling fans is that ITV4 will be covering the whole of the 2015 Tour de France. They’ll have live coverage and then highlights at 7pm, same as every year.
Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen have been put out to pasture. Over the last year or so, it’s been clear that ITV have been grooming Ned Boulting and David Millar as their replacements and the use of Daniel Friebe in the Ned Boulting roving reporter role for last month’s Criterium du Dauphine made it seem like the final piece had been put in place for what most people feel is a long overdue change in the live commentary team.
Over on Eurosport, it’ll probably be Carlton Kirby alongide the comically unemotional Sean Kelly – a man whose knowledge of cycling is only surpassed by his complete inability to get any sense of passion across. Carlton Kirby is a bit of an acquired taste and somewhat prone to talking cobblers, but he can be fairly entertaining during the duller passages of the race.
When it comes to highlights, ITV4 wins hands down. It is a TV programme, as opposed to just being the highlights of the race itself, so they try and tell a story, summarising the day and framing it in the context of the race as a whole. Done badly, this approach could be frustrating – but they don’t do it badly.
Hopefully, they’ll have Chris Boardman on board too. They usually do. As well as being well-qualified to talk about cycling, Boardman is also a genuinely funny man and would perhaps find himself being described as ‘dry and pithy’ if he didn’t have to occupy the same studio as Gary Imlach, who pretty much corners the market in that regard.
It’s also worth noting that if you miss the highlights when they’re on, they usually appear on the ITV Player within an hour or so – although it can be a bit hit and miss, particularly at the weekend, so don’t rely on this.
In addition to this, why not follow the race via this website? If you haven’t done so already, here’s why you should sign up for email updates. If you already subscribe and you enjoy the site, I’d really appreciate it if you could tell other people about it as well. Cheers.
(This article is an updated version of last year’s article about UK TV coverage of the Tour de France.)