(Updated June 29 at 12:43 (ET): German rider Marcel Kittel won the first stage of the 100th Tour de France in a sprint finish during a session marked by heavy crashes.)
NBC Sports Group on June 29 will start its exclusive U.S. coverage of the 100th Tour de France with the Grand Depart initiating from Corsica for the first time and continuing over the 2,160 mile-course, before the racers conclude the 21st and final stage during an evening session in Paris on July 21.
NBC Sports Network’s live coverage begins on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. (ET) and will be followed nightly at 8 p.m. for three hours on Tour Primetime on the cable service. For its part, NBC will offer a trio of segments, including live coverage of stage 8 on July 6 and a one-hour recap on July 28, a week after the centennial’s race conclusion (see complete TV schedule below).
Taking a page from its National Hockey League and Major League Soccer presentations, NBC Sports Group’s coverage for the first time will feature reporting from the road as ‘Inside-the-Race’ correspondent Steve Porino is scheduled to provide updates from aboard a motorcycle on the race course. NBC began its ‘Inside-the-Glass’ reportage on NHL telecasts in 2006 and subsequently added ‘Between-the-Benches’ soccer coverage.
Cycling stalwarts Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen again will call the race for the live shows, assisted by reporters Steve Schlanger and Carolyn Manno. Todd Harris will host the studio coverage with analysts Bob Roll and Scott Moninger on Tour Primetime as they look at the day’s action with fresh analysis, interviews, enhanced perspectives and updates on ongoing stories.
The 2012 Tour champion Bradley Wiggins won’t get a chance to defend his crown owing to a knee injury. Fellow Brit Chris Froome, who was second a year ago; 2011 winner Cadel Evans of Australia, who was third last year; Spaniard Alberto Contador; and American Tejay van Garderen, who was fifth in 2012 and won the Tour of California in May; are expected to contend for the yellow jersey.
Last year, NBC Sports Group’s Tour de France coverage, which included NBC sessions, cumed some 18.5 million watchers, up from 12 million in 2011, according to Nielsen data.
On the digital side, NBC Sports Group will supplement its on-air coverage with the NBC Sports Tour de France Live, cycling content online at NBCSports.com, and through the NBC Sports Tour de France Live mobile app. Users can also access two premium-subscription products that afford a multi-platform, all-encompassing viewing experience of the Tour.
NBC Sports Tour de France Live offers live streaming video of every stage in the high-definition format, with pause, rewind and slow-motion capabilities. While watching live coverage, viewers have access to a live GPS tracking map to follow the riders’ progress or to see an enhanced interactive map for each stage. Also, subscribers can personalize their experience by choosing their favorite riders and teams to track throughout the Tour.
To check out the Tour de France on-the-move, fans can also separately purchase the NBC Sports Tour de France Live mobile app, which is available for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android devices. All of the features of the NBCSports.com online experience are available on the NBC Sports Tour de France Live mobile app, including live video of every stage. Stage 8, airing live on NBC, will also be streamed live for free, on NBCSports.com.