ITV4 will show the Tour de France in 2021 (and so will Eurosport)
The good news for UK cycling fans is that ITV4 will be covering the whole of the 2021 Tour de France. They’ll have live coverage and then highlights at 7pm, same as every year. (Although the highlights do sometimes get shunted back a bit.)
Some of the bigger stages will also be broadcast from the start.
Ned Boulting and David Millar are now firmly-established as commentators, supplemented by Daniel Friebe and Matt Rendell in the multilingual roving reporter roles.
Over on Eurosport, I’m guessing it’ll be Carlton Kirby and Rob Hatch and 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. Kirby is a bit of an acquired taste and somewhat prone to talking cobblers, but he can be entertaining during the duller passages of the race.
Hatch I rather like, although some find him a bit excitable. Personally, I reckon he’s pretty good at combining descriptive commentary with the all-important idle waffle (although he may focus rather too much on the cycling for those who enjoy the ambience of the race more than the sport).
Let’s be honest, it’ll be Boulting and Millar for most of us though.
When it comes to highlights, ITV4 wins hands down. It is a TV programme, as opposed to just being the highlights of the racing, 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 – largely because they have a good group of people involved.
Chris Boardman will doubtless take time off from making Manchester’s roads safe to drop in at some point and you can also expect to see some combination of the current or former pros who appeared last year – Pete Kennaugh, Sarah Storey and Dani Rowe.
Most importantly of all, Gary Imlach will be there, anchoring things with his usual dry pithiness.
It’s worth noting that if you miss the ITV4 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 try not to rely on this.
Eurosport’s on-demand service is more reliable – albeit the highlights can sometimes seem like arbitrary stretches of the live coverage pasted together with no real thought for how they fit together.
Bradley Wiggins will be taking time off from his midlife crisis to do sofa punditry over there and he’s actually very good at it.
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.
And if you already subscribe and enjoy the site, I’d really appreciate it if you could tell other people about it as well because my marketing campaign basically amounts to crossing my fingers.
(This article is an updated version of last year’s article about UK TV coverage of the Tour de France.)