ITV4 to show Vuelta live - but BBC to air only brief highlights of Olympic test event

Spanish Grand Tour coverage confirms channel's commitment to cycling

by Simon_MacMichael   August 11, 2011  

Vincenzo Nibali chases on the Bola del Mundo (copyright- Unipublic:Graham Watson)

Cycling fans in the UK who don’t have a subscription to Eurosport won’t miss out on this year’s third Grand Tour, with the news that free-to-air channel ITV4 will be broadcasting live coverage of the Vuelta, which starts with a team time trial in Benidorm a week on Saturday.

Earlier this year, the channel revealed that it planned to show more cycling, and confirmation it is showing the Vuelta demonstrates that it is keeping that promise. The news comes shortly after ITV4 revealed that nearly 1 million viewers had tuned into the channel to watch Mark Cavendish win the green jersey in the Tour de France.

All stages of the 66th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour will be shown live, reports the website Touchline.tv.

A quick look at the online ITV programme guide confirms that the opening stage of the Vuelta will be shown on the channel on Saturday 20 August from 4pm to 6pm, with coverage of the following day’s Stage 2 scheduled from 2.45pm to 5pm.

Meanwhile Touchline.tv also reports that the same weekend, BBC will be showing brief highlights of this Sunday’s Olympic test event, the London-Surrey Cycle Classic, in a special programme focusing on Olympic sports, presented by Clare Balding.

The programme, called Olympic Countdown, will run from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday 21 August, with the road race highlights running from 1.55-2.15pm, followed by coverage of the BMX test event.

There’s no news as yet of any potential online or red button coverage of the event through the BBC.
 

34 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

who needed a subscription before? Just have a dish pointing at the "old" sky location which has tve and the german eurosport. Simples.

posted by a.jumper [648 posts]
11th August 2011 - 20:41

like this
Like (1)

Going by schedule for first few days, highlighta are 7pm-7.30pm. A little later (7.55pm) on the opening day.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7366 posts]
11th August 2011 - 20:42

like this
Like (1)

ITV, you are my bestest, bestest friend in the whole wide world.

I love you more than anything!

xxxx

Wink (yeah, I'm very pleased about this)

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1740 posts]
11th August 2011 - 22:01

like this
Like (4)

If there's one thing that puts me off Eurosprt, It's Harmon and Kelly. While I know Kelly is learned and wise, his voice just puts me to sleep.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [464 posts]
11th August 2011 - 22:42

like this
Like (2)

Great news from the ITV.

Very very poor show from the BBC. World class field in Sundays test race at least having it available on the red button would be good.

posted by gazzaputt [173 posts]
12th August 2011 - 7:47

like this
Like (1)

Agree, gazzaputt, not least because the 'test' element of the event is as much about the logistical side of the event as the sporting side.

Would be nice to see if BBC could put on as good a show of covering a bike race as France Televisions does (um, knocking cyclists off the road apart) but I guess we'll have to wait 12 months.

They've missed an opportunity to demonstrate they can handle live broadcast of a bike race, IMO.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7366 posts]
12th August 2011 - 8:47

like this
Like (1)

I'm generally a BIG supporter of the Beeb, but putting my cycnical head on, the "coverage" of the test race is all about the OLYMPICS and very little to do with the sports that will be shown. Didn't you know we should all be so proud/joyous/thankful that "we" are hosting the Olympics.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [360 posts]
12th August 2011 - 9:40

like this
Like (0)

In fact I'd be none too surprised if "Sir" Seb gets more air time than any of the sports.

OOOhh I'm grumpy!

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [360 posts]
12th August 2011 - 9:41

like this
Like (0)

Cooks wrote:
If there's one thing that puts me off Eurosprt, It's Harmon and Kelly. While I know Kelly is learned and wise, his voice just puts me to sleep.

Couldn't agree more but Big Maggy more than makes up for the banal drivel on the rare occasions he is commentating.

I'm sure even his english is better.
Devil

djcritchley's picture

posted by djcritchley [141 posts]
12th August 2011 - 11:49

like this
Like (1)

This is great news but we will we have Chris Boardman wondering about the purposes of the second and third step on the podium again? Not that I object - it's a small price to pay to watch some great cycling!

posted by CotterPin [64 posts]
12th August 2011 - 17:53

like this
Like (2)

Surprise Twenty minutes of the BEEB's air time eh. What did we do to deserve that much time. I guess its far better than no air time though !! Thinking

oldspikey's picture

posted by oldspikey [74 posts]
12th August 2011 - 18:24

like this
Like (0)

Brian Smith is to my mind the best of the expert opinion commentators, first came across him on cycling.tv,
recently been on eurosport.

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [213 posts]
12th August 2011 - 19:17

like this
Like (2)

I'm off work for the first two weeks of the Vuelta; it's going to be too tempting to spend every afternoon in front of the telly.

Shackbu's picture

posted by Shackbu [23 posts]
12th August 2011 - 19:27

like this
Like (1)

Agree on Brian Smith - flashes of genuine insight which go beyond "it's majorly difficult".

posted by RouleurTwo [20 posts]
12th August 2011 - 20:21

like this
Like (1)

RouleurTwo wrote:
Agree on Brian Smith - flashes of genuine insight which go beyond "it's majorly difficult".

certainly agree about smithy. some times cringe when he has to keep correcting dave harmon

posted by mpt68 [100 posts]
13th August 2011 - 2:22

like this
Like (2)

mpt68 wrote:
RouleurTwo wrote:
Agree on Brian Smith - flashes of genuine insight which go beyond "it's majorly difficult".

certainly agree about smithy. some times cringe when he has to keep correcting dave harmon

Smithy is usually paired with Carlton, who does seem to need correcting. Never had too
Much ofcan issue with Harmon, and I find eurosport better than ITV, but then I've never liked "digging deep into the suitcase of ....." well, anything!

posted by Aimless King [36 posts]
13th August 2011 - 17:47

like this
Like (1)

CotterPin wrote:
This is great news but we will we have Chris Boardman wondering about the purposes of the second and third step on the podium again? Not that I object - it's a small price to pay to watch some great cycling!

Good God, I hadn't thought about that. Gonna have to listen to three weeks of that. And they have a second place on a podium so Andy has somewhere to stand.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [464 posts]
13th August 2011 - 23:49

like this
Like (1)

Thinking
I wonder if we could start a Twitter campaign (as it is the media's dahling at the moment) to try and get the Beeb to put the whole of their coverage up on iPlayer?

We, the cycling nutters, don't really need commentary to keep us awake for such a short race. Having said that, it's always fun trying to i.d. riders when they've got their national jersey on.

posted by TchmilFan [17 posts]
15th August 2011 - 11:30

like this
Like (1)

TchmilFan wrote:
Having said that, it's always fun trying to i.d. riders when they've got their national jersey on.

It's fun listening to commentators trying to ID them too. I wonder if they'll get it right with a week to do it? To be helpful, Cav wore a green hat.

posted by a.jumper [648 posts]
15th August 2011 - 13:40

like this
Like (1)

Hugh Porter did all the BBC commentary at Beijing, didn't he? I'm pretty sure that at the TOB launch this year, Simon Brotherton was introduced as the "new voice" of BBC Cycling, though good luck to him if he doesn't get a lot of practice between now and then.

There's a simple reason cycling commentators often call the wrong riders' names, which is that there are 200-odd riders in a big race, compare that to 22 on the pitch in football or 30 in rugby union... having said that, some of the wrong calls in the TDF from people who should know better were excruciating.

Cav for Goss? Swift for EBH (who helpfully wears yellow Mavic shoes so even I can ID him easily)?

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7366 posts]
15th August 2011 - 14:43

like this
Like (0)

Porter was not commentating at this year's Tour Series. I've no idea if the crits are linked with the ToB but if so then he may well not be the voice of the ToB.

As for dropping clangers on air, I suggest you try sitting in a booth/studio and doing it for 5 hours at a stretch every day for 3 weeks while listening to race radio, your producer and whatever else goes on. I know I couldn't!

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1740 posts]
15th August 2011 - 15:57

like this
Like (1)

Worst rider misidentification I've seen was Phil Liggett in the 2008 TdF when Cav won his first stage. Liggett mistook Cav for Ciolek, didn't mention Cav, and said "Ciolek wins it", despite Ciolek's characteristic of nodding his head up and down like a maniac when sprinting. He re-recorded the commentary for the highlights programme.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1297 posts]
15th August 2011 - 16:03

like this
Like (2)

Simon E wrote:
As for dropping clangers on air, I suggest you try sitting in a booth/studio and doing it for 5 hours at a stretch every day for 3 weeks while listening to race radio, your producer and whatever else goes on. I know I couldn't!

Me neither, as I hope my comment makes clear. But in the two specific instances I cited, it was pretty obvious to many watching who the correct riders were (as comments on Twitter at the time attested) Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7366 posts]
15th August 2011 - 16:54

like this
Like (2)

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
Simon E wrote:
As for dropping clangers on air, I suggest you try sitting in a booth/studio and doing it for 5 hours at a stretch every day for 3 weeks while listening to race radio, your producer and whatever else goes on. I know I couldn't!

Me neither, as I hope my comment makes clear. But in the two specific instances I cited, it was pretty obvious to many watching who the correct riders were (as comments on Twitter at the time attested) Wink

I agree its difficult but then if you're not good at something you shouldn't be in the job. Wasn't it Hugh Porter that commentated on the worlds in Oz and completely hashed up thinking Gilbert was up the road when he'd been caught five minutes earlier? I've huge respect for what Hugh Porter has done for cycling but the Beeb really should be employing someone with more skill in commentating and really trying to liven up the image of the sport.
I'm amazed at how quickly and, generally, accurate the Eurosport team are at identifying riders and will always choose them over Mr Liggett and Mr Porter.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
15th August 2011 - 17:29

like this
Like (2)

From what little I've seen, I suspect Hugh Porter would be a fine Imlach-style front man, and he seems OK with most of the track, but he's not a great mass-start commentator.

Don't agree at all on Eurosport's English-language team, who I find incredibly soporific. I'll excuse Phil the odd slip because he's enthusiastic, they usually seem to be pretty obvious huge howlers and Paul corrects most of them as soon as he's looked up the race number Wink

Simon Brotherton as the BBC's "voice" of cycling might not be anything to do with the TV - did he do the 5LiveSX tour commentary?

I'm looking forward to the probable itv Ned+Matt show for the Vuelta far more than is healthy. Anyone else?

posted by a.jumper [648 posts]
16th August 2011 - 9:04

like this
Like (2)

CotterPin wrote:
This is great news but we will we have Chris Boardman wondering about the purposes of the second and third step on the podium again? Not that I object - it's a small price to pay to watch some great cycling!

Indeed, we might even get some new ads. Well done ITV. I think partly down to lobbying by certain sports people, notable Ned Boulting i believe. Lets hope next year we'll have the Giro which means i only have to put up with Eurosport for the classics

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

stuartpeck1's picture

posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
17th August 2011 - 11:05

like this
Like (1)

Phil and Paul have tweeted that they're not doing Vuelta commentary. Do you reckon that means itv will have SBS's Matt Keenan (who I'm sure they've had for some classics or maybe parts of tour stages in previous years while Phil and Paul were doing US-specific stuff), some other UK commentators or do it themselves like they did for parts of the Tour of California?

posted by a.jumper [648 posts]
17th August 2011 - 14:23

like this
Like (0)

I believe we'll have Ned Boulting and Matt Rendell doing the commentary. ie: RealPeloton does la Vuelta.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1297 posts]
17th August 2011 - 16:15

like this
Like (2)

returning to the issue of the BBC and the Olympic test event: ...it's annoys me that the triathlon the week before was shown live...why not show the road race as well ( & the beach volleyball for good measure !)
For me the ITV4 coverage of the Tdf was perfect, last years ToB less so. Roll on la Vuelta !

Timsen

posted by Timsen [26 posts]
18th August 2011 - 17:05

like this
Like (1)

there you go. Matt Keenan on itv commentary. Told you so.

Not bad but not p+p, not realpeloton and not announced in advance, so being flamed to hell on some sites already. Hope that doesn't put itv off all cycling.

posted by a.jumper [648 posts]
20th August 2011 - 16:35

like this
Like (1)