ITV4 will show the Tour de France in 2017 (and so will Eurosport)
The good news for UK cycling fans is that ITV4 will be covering the whole of the 2017 Tour de France. They’ll have live coverage and then highlights at 7pm, same as every year.
For the first time, all stages will be broadcast right from the start.
Much was made last year of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen being put out to pasture. ITV had groomed Ned Boulting and David Millar as their replacements and last year they were teamed with Daniel Friebe in the Ned Boulting roving reporter role.
Over on Eurosport, it’ll probably be Carlton Kirby alongside 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.
Eurosport might instead choose to use Rob Hatch, who I think is probably the best around for combining descriptive commentary with the all-important idle waffle.
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.)