A lot of people rely on online services to keep up with bike racing. This can be because of poor coverage by their cable provider, or because some of these events happen during the day (read: folks watching while at work.) With the Tour de France just around the corner it seemed an appropriate time to give folks some tips on how to watch Le Tour – but most of these sites are a good source for any racing.
There are also some things to be aware of when watching these feeds.Many of them are the “raw” feeds. This means you may notice long periods of silence when there is video of the race, yet no commentators speaking. These are the breaks where commercials would be inserted in the official televised broadcasts. It is also not uncommon to have nothing but the engine of the motto or helicopter as the only audio. Finally, cycling is a very international sport, which means you can find streams in many different languages. Nothing says you can’t listen to an audio-only commentary stream paired with some other video stream.
You will also occasionally run across feeds that are only viewable in certain regions of the world due to content license restrictions. You can find lots more information about these types of restrictions elsewhere on the internet.
You’ll soon develop a thick skin if your search takes you to some of the sites sharing stream links. Be ready for popup ads on every click, and the occasional warning about malware – assuming your anti-virus is up to date.
This year in the United States Le Tour is being carried by NBC sports. This means that you have option of purchasing the commercial streams of the race via their website. For $29.99 you can get access to every stage of the tour, or purchase only individual stages for $4.99. They are offering this access on both the web, and mobile devices.
If you don’t want to shell out the money there are still many options. Cycling Fans Live is probably the most trusted source for cycling video streams around. While their website can sometimes be a little confusing and chaotic to navigate, they excel at finding and sharing feeds for almost any pro cycling event that you may want to watch. Their links usually included live video, along with audio-only and “ticker” based text updates – allowing you to customize how you keep up with the race. (http://www.cyclingfans.com/)
Steephill.TV is the other “big name” in dedicated cycling video sites. They do a great job of aggregating racing news from photo, text and video sources. The layout of the site can often be a bit dense and overwhelming to the casual follower, but that density is also its strength. If you are going to go to a single site for all your racing news, I’d highly recommend steephill.tv be that site. (http://www.steephill.tv/)
There are also a number of other general sports streaming sites that often have coverage of the bigger events on the pro calendar.
You can start right here on VeloReviews, on our video page. This page is constantly being updated with data from various stream aggregators (some listed below) to attempt to bring much of this content into one place for you.
Alternatively, you can check out some of the sites below:
- VIP League: While they seem to generally have only a small number of cycling related feeds, they are one of the few multi-sport sites that don’t just lump cycling into the category “other sports.” http://www.vipleague.se/sports/cycling.html
- Stream Hunter: A well done, easy to use site. You can find cycling under “Other Sports.” http://www.realstreamunited.com/other-live-streaming-video.html
- Sportsstream.tv: You’ll have to poke around a bit to get this one working sometimes, selecting from one of their available servers at the top of the page. You’ll find ‘Cycling’ listed on the right hand side. Be prepared for lots of advertising popups. http://www.sportstream.tv/