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Summary:

It’s nearly Tour de France time, and you know what that means: I’ll be working from the couch in front of the television for the next month, starting on July 4. Perhaps the biggest pre-tour news local to me is yesterday’s announcement that HTC is sponsoring […]

htc-tdf-sponsorIt’s nearly Tour de France time, and you know what that means: I’ll be working from the couch in front of the television for the next month, starting on July 4. Perhaps the biggest pre-tour news local to me is yesterday’s announcement that HTC is sponsoring Team Columbia through 2011. Yes, it’s the same HTC that makes Windows Mobile and Android devices. James passed me the news last night, but it broke on Twitter before then. Thank you, Levi Leipheimer, whom I’m now affectionately calling “Mr. Spill the Beans, not the Bike.”

Although I was able to live on the web for 60 days, it’s highly unlikely I’ll be able to park myself on the couch for a month straight. Not even our cats can do that, although I personally think they’ve given it a go in the past. So what’s a TdF junkie to do when away from the television? Here are five options:

1. Use a Slingbox – If you have the hardware, this might be one of the best ways to go. Essentially, you can catch the entire live television broadcast with a Slingbox, a supported handset or a computer, and an Internet connection. Sling Media offers its free SlingPlayer Mobile for PC or Mac and $30 for iPhone, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian S60 and Palm OS. No, that’s not the new webOS for the Pre — at least not yet.

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2. Set up OrbOrb is similar to the Slingbox solution, but it doesn’t require the purchase of the Sling hardware. Instead, you’ll need a Windows Media Center PC with a tuner card that can grab the TdF coverage in your area. Once you have that, you can remotely stream your coverage through a web browser. Orb also offers an iPhone-specific app in the App Store for $9.99.

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3. YouTube – There’s an entire YouTube channel devoted to the TdF. You won’t see live race action, but you can catch shorter vids of the daily route, highlights, interviews and more. This was my way to “catch up” if I missed a live broadcast during the day.

tdf-logo4. Location-specific online video coverage – The official TdF site currently lists 11 broadcasters from around the world that will be offering video of the tour. Again, it may not be live streaming, so double-check. Some of the video coverage is country-specific, so I’m not able to check. Broadcasters include: ARD, Évasion, France Télévisions, NOS, RTL, SBS, Skysport, TV2, VRT and ZDF.

5. Twitter – OK, this won’t compete with video coverage or updates, but how else can you get into the mind of your favorite team, coach or cyclist? Do some Googling for the teams or riders you want to follow, and you might be surprised. I’m following Lance Armstrong, Johann Bruyneel, Team ASTANA, and the aforementioned “loose lips” Levi — oh, and the incomparable Bobke: Bob Roll. Just think: These guys are tweeting their thoughts before, during and after a race. They’ve even been known to take questions about the rides. You can’t get that personal level of interaction on the TV. Just this morning, a fan asked Lance for a “nice” place to eat in Nice, as he’s flying there to watch the tour. How’s a little local knowledge from the seven-time TdF winner grab you?

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Bonus – If you’re interested in more details of the various stages, there is a detailed way to view them in Google Earth as well, just like last year. You’ll need to hit up the Google Earth Blog for the data file and then add it to your local instance of Google Earth.

Enjoy your TdF fix, wherever and however you catch it. Got any other ways to keep with up with the toughest race on the planet? Any predictions for who’s going to win it all and take home the maillot jaune?

  1. Jonathan Greene Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    Don’t forget these …

    Mobile.velonews.com and mobile.bicycling.com which will both be doing some major coverage.

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    1. Thanks Jonathan. I’ve hit Velonews on my handset in the past, but got a full desktop version. Didn’t realize they had a mobile version, which looks great!

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  2. http://www.cyclingfans.com always has live streams, plus links to all the major cycling news outlets for tickers.

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  3. I can’t believe there are no mass TDF SMS alert subscriptions out there. If anyone stumbles across one, please post it. Otherwise, mobile velo news will be my source. I’ll be out of state on vacation for a week. Planned it a months ago and wasn’t even thinking about cycling at that point.

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  4. Well the stages are all overnight in Oz, so I’m staying awake for 23 nights! We have all stages live this year as well as streaming. I’ve told everyone I know that I’m going to be grumpy and I even changed cellular companies to one that has 3G coverage where I’m on holiday for the last week.

    Our local station SBS provides really great coverage, streaming online and uses Phil Liggit to do the race call. So if you’re looking for streaming, SBS is highly recommended.

    Gordon

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  5. Hi Kevin,

    Thank you very much for the ideas to follow the Tour.

    Seth

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  6. Is it true that ITV will not be doing its podcast this year? I was unable to find a link to it either in iTunes or on the ITV website. What a shame.

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  7. Versus.com offers a HD Video feed online for a minimal fee.

    http://www.versus.com/cycling/videos/tour-tracker-1/

    Every Stage live online and in HD.

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