Free-to-air channel pledged to increase amount of cycling it shows in 2011

Free-to-air digital TV channel ITV4, which earlier this year said that it planned to increase the amount of cycling it covers, will be showing the Amgen Tour of California live from 15 May. The news was confirmed on Twitter by Ned Boulting, who will be presenting coverage from a studio in London, together with a “mystery guest.”

The TV station has regularly broadcast highlights and occasional live coverage of the Tour de France in recent years, as well as the Halfords Tour Series and Tour of Britain, and in recent weeks has also aired highlights of races such as Paris-Roubaix.

Boulting recently used his twitter stream to urge cycling fans wishing to see more mainstream coverage of cycling’s big races to lobby the TV station, although clearly there are limitations – when asked why ITV4 wouldn’t be covering the Giro d’Italia, he replied, “Because it is eye-wateringly expensive for a free-to-air Channel to afford.”

However, he added that hopefully the Tour of California wouldn’t be the last event to be shown on the channel for the first time this year.

The race starts at Lake Tahoe on 15 May and ends in Thousand Oaks, near Los Angeles, eight days later. Each of the eight stages scheduled to finish by around 3.30pm local time, or 11.30pm UK time. Full details of the race can be found on its website.

Hopefully the renewed emphasis on the sport will prompt someone at ITV4 to give the cycling section of the channel’s website a bit of a refresh – the latest news item relates to Edvald Boasson Hagen, then with Columbia-HTC, winning the 2009 Tour of Britain more than 18 months ago.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.