2011 Tour de France TV coverage on Versus and NBC

Click here for the 2012 Tour de France TV schedule.

Cycling’s Tour de France has become a little like the reality show The Bachelor. Guys jockey for position, shirts come off and go on again, and there’s the rare moment of drama in the winding, tedious ordeal that should have ended weeks ago. In the end, you really don’t care who wins, because there’s going to be a nasty breakup in the future anyway and the whole experience makes you feel sleazy. Such is the state of cycling in the age of doping scandals.

But, legitimate or not, the show will go on. The 98th edition of cycling’s Tour de France starts July 2 at Passage du Gois in western France. The race is made up of 21 stages covering a total distance of 3,471 km, with emphasis on the Alps. The 18th stage has the highest summit finish in the race’s history, at the top of the Col du Galibier mountain pass. The race ends July 24 on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Last year, Spain’s Alberto Contador won his second straight Tour and third in four years.

Versus begins its coverage live July 2 at 8am ET. NBC’s coverage begins July 2 at 2pm ET and July 3 at 2pm ET. Versus continues with live coverage daily at 8am ET.

Below is the press release from NBC Sports Group highlighting Tour coverage on TV, online and social media channels:

NBC SPORTS GROUP GIVES CYCLING FANS 360-DEGREE ACCESS TO THE GREATEST CYCLING EVENT OF THE YEAR – 98TH ANNUAL TOUR DE FRANCE

Multi-platform Coverage Available On-Air, Online at NBCSports.com and Through Mobile Apps

For the First Time Ever, NBC Sports will Air Stages 1-2 on July 2 & 3; VERSUS to Average 14 Hours of Coverage Each Day

“This year’s race is built for the climbing specialists. Everyone is expecting a battle for a third straight year between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, but there is every indication that this will not be the case. This has the makings of a vintage Tour.” – NBC Sports Group’s Phil Liggett

NBC Sports Group, the exclusive television home of the Tour de France in the U.S., will begin its coverage of the most grueling event in all of sports on VERSUS on Saturday, July 2, at 8 a.m. ET, live at the grand start from the Passage du Gois in France. Additionally, for the first time ever, NBC Sports will broadcast coverage of the opening two stages on July 2 at 2 p.m. ET and July 3 at 3 p.m. ET, respectively. VERSUS will air an average of 14 hours of race action per day in full HD throughout the 21-stage competition that covers more than 2,000 miles, including live coverage every morning of competition at 8 a.m. ET.

VERSUS’ production continues to evolve, and this year’s daily coverage will have a new look and feel to the race action. The most notable changes will be to the enhanced primetime show each night from 8-11 p.m. ET, which will feature a combination of race coverage and cycling insight as well as highlights from some of the compelling stories throughout the Tour. Each show will include interviews with the riders at the start and finish lines, analysis and strategy segments as well as other content designed for cycling fans and those who are new to the sport. Additionally, the network will collaborate with Gripped Films, producers of the critically acclaimed Tour de France documentary “Chasing Legends,” for daily, behind-the-scenes footage from the team that wins each day’s stage, to the night before they start in the next day’s competition.

The network will also give viewers the best coverage with bonus features such as: cameras on many of the team’s buses, including Garmin-Cervelo, HTC-Highroad, RadioShack, and Leopard Trek; a pointer feature which will easily identify and focus on one rider in the 195-plus peloton; exclusive, in-depth profiles and features on teams and riders; and advanced on-screen statistics/biometrics to illustrate the intensity at which the riders are competing; among others.

Legendary announcers Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, the undisputed voices of cycling, will once again call all the race action for both the live and nightly shows, with Robbie Ventura and Craig Hummer contributing as field reporters. New host Liam McHugh and analyst Bob Roll will contribute to the pre-race coverage and helm the primetime studio show each night with contributing analyst Todd Gogulski. Gogulski, a former professional cyclist, has covered various cycling events, including the Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta a España and the World Road Championships for Universal Sports since 2009.

Tour de France All Access: VERSUS will surround its on-air coverage with Tour de France All Access, unprecedented cycling content on many different platforms, including tourdefrance.nbcsports.com for the first time since NBCSports.com and VERSUS.com combined forces to create a single, robust destination for sports fans. The network will offer users both a free and premium-subscription product which gives fans a multi-platform, all-encompassing viewing experience to the greatest cycling event of the year. Tour de France All Access offers live streaming video of every stage in full HD, with the ability to pause, rewind and slow-mo the image. While watching live coverage online, viewers will also 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 Tour experience by choosing their favorite riders and teams to track throughout the Tour. Additionally, all the features of the NBCSports.com online experience will be mirrored in the Tour de France All Access apps for the iPhone, and for the first time this year, on iPad and Android devices.

There are also many free elements available to cycling fans at NBCSports.com and through the mobile apps, which are listed below.

Before the Tour:

  • Stage-by-stage descriptions and previews, featuring historical stage information, technical information and interesting travelogue vignettes
  • Breakdown of top contenders
  • Historical top 10 lists
  • Look back at the best of the 2010 Tour de France

Once the Tour begins:

  • Recaps and highlights of the day’s big events and story lines
  • Expert predictions for each stage
  • Route previews
  • Interviews with the top riders
  • Video highlights of each stage
  • Live stage results
  • Detailed standings, including overall and classifications
  • Rider profiles by country and team
  • Course and stage maps, elevation profiles and stage descriptions
  • Live news stream during every stage
  • Photo slideshows
  • Tour de France Twitter stream, which will showcase the top race authorities, including riders, analysts, officials and fans

Additional Features and Elements (more information available at tourdefrance.nbcsports.com):

  • Aquaphor Le Tour Challenge: Users can ride their bikes on any given day of the Tour de France to see how they compare to the pros and other cyclists from around the world. They can create a team, join a team, or ride solo, and enter to win great prizes.
  • Travelers Fantasy Cycling Challenge: A traditional fantasy game where users select their own team of cyclists and compete with others for daily prizes and grand prize trip to the 2012 Tour de France.
  • IZOD Race for the Podium Watch & Win Sweepstakes: During each stage, VERSUS viewers are given an on-air code word that they can use for a chance to win a trip to the 2012 Tour de France and Cervelo Bikes.

Social Media: Fans can also keep up with the Tour de France through VERSUS’ social media platforms throughout the race. Content will include:

  • Behind the Scenes: Through the VERSUS Cycling Facebook page and @VSCycling on Twitter, fans receive exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, interviews and video.
  • Commentator Tweets: VERSUS commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen will provide Twitter content throughout race.
  • Fan Questions: Fans will have the opportunity to ask questions to VERSUS commentators, including Bob Roll in the “Ask Bobke” segment, via Facebook and Twitter.
  • News: Fans can follow VERSUS Cycling Facebook and VSCycling Twitter accounts to receive the most up to date reports and stories from around the cycling world.

Photo: Credit: M. DE MARTIGNAC/MAXPPP/ZUMA Press/Newscom

16 Comments on 2011 Tour de France TV coverage on Versus and NBC

  1. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to give one thing back and help others like you aided me.

  2. So glad to know that i am not the only one who misses the exceptional commentators, Phil, Paul and Craig. Thank God they still have Bobke on the air but I miss the handsome faces of Phil and Paul.PLLLEEEAAASSSEEE ppu them back on the desk so we can see and hear them!!

  3. Join our group on facebook in support of Bob and Craig if you haven’t done so already.
    Please search “Bring Back Bob Roll and Craig Hummer” on facebook and like it!

    Email NBC and Versus:
    nbcsportshelp@nbcuni.com
    nbcsports@nbcuni.com
    feedback@versus.com

    Please let the sponsors know as well. I posted email addresses to some of the more prominent sponsors on this page a little further up the page and the addresses are on our facebook page as well.
    Thanks,
    Jim

  4. NBC ruined the Tour coverage!!!! NBC suits, are you listening to the people who pay your big salaries?? Bring back the winning format and bury your ego’s. You don’t know how to do it better. I’ve been watching the Tour since Greg Lemond beat Lauren Fignon and have been hooked ever since. Always watch the race and loved the coverage until this year. The new guy is a bust!!

  5. I have watched the Tour on OLN, then Versus for years. I cannot believe how horrible the coverage is this year.

    Each day you first do a preview of what happened on the stage….if you tell us everything other than who won…why watch?

    The two new announcers are horrible. Liam has complained that he has a masters degree and has to belittle himself to do the Tour announcing and adds nothing to the conversation. Better not to have him at all

    Tod has nothing to add except…yes I agree with you Bob

    You have a special segment on the 25th anniversary of the 7-11 team and interview members…but NOT Bob Roll!! What are you crazy. While his position then may not have been as a leader of the team…but he has done an incredible to support the support and talks about the team all the time.

    Phil and Paul nearly gone, Bob restained horrible format and announcers. Crazy!!

    While the jersey contest with the announcers in the past was quite cheesy…it served the purpose of explaining how a group of knowledgeable cyclist think about who might win.

    All in all…horrible…horrible…horrible. It is likely that I will just sign up for one of the European online services and cancel Versus recording. I have no idea what you are thinking about the format. Unthinkable!!

  6. The two new guys only DETRACT from the show. They are both irritating to watch. Bobke seems restrained somewhat – nothing like previous years great color. We hear Phil and Paul call the race, and just like other sports, they should be on with Bobke and (Craig) for comment/color sessions. And the audio/video synch is off. How much worse can this year coverage get? We do appreciatte the coverage, but keep it right – dump Liam and Tod, bring back last year’s crew. and setup Do it this year. Find a reason.

  7. Could not agree more with all the comments made about the current announcer set up. NBC has made a disaster of the news and now is doing the same for bike racing.

  8. My husband and I agree with everything above. In the past years we have watched all of the coverage–morning, noon and night. We are in our 70’s and we don’t have long to live so get the original versus team back on there NOW. Bobke seems like he’s been muzzled this year. As for Gugelaski or whatever his name is with the plastic face…it is just tortuous to watch the guy. He goes through so many contortions on his face==it is extremely distracting. The prime time coverage is not nearly as informative as in the past
    ….Bobke and Hummer had very insightful comments. Does anyone at NBC read this????

  9. I copied and pasted every statement on this page and emailed it to NBC. I encourage everyone to send NBC your thoughts and include everyone’s comments pasted after yours. Hopefully, they will get the picture. nbcsportshelp@nbcuni.com

  10. WHO IS TODD?

    Todd reminds of Jim Carey with his huge mouth and expressions. I am sorry but he is worthless and has not creditability as a rider. Bring back Craig and Phil and Paul for prime time. You guys are really missing out

  11. Listening to Todd Gogulski is like trying to listen to Alton Brown discuss cycling. So irritating and over done. Could he enunciate any more than he already does. Cartoonish. Why move Craig? Liam ok, but Craig was good too.

  12. I’m Danish but living in USA. I’m disappointed in the lack of coverage concerning the danish rider Jacob Fuglsang. Is it because you cannot pronounce this name 😉
    He’s in 10th place and no one brings up anything about him. But I would like to know.

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About Ryan Berenz 1806 Articles
Star Wars nerd. Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL). Father of two. Husband of one. I write about sports on TV because I am bad at sports in real life. I write about Alaskan Bush People because someone pays me money to.