Today the professional season kicked off with the first stage of the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia . After a couple of months suffering withdrawal symptoms cycling fans can now look forward to another great year of cycling coverage . Almost every professional race is televised nowadays , and with so many options it can be a complicated operation to sort through them all but maybe this might help ;
The number one place for cycling coverage on TV . They cover almost all of the top European races with the best commentators and plenty of live coverage along with highlight shows in the evening , although these can sometimes be a bit late for cyclists who need plenty of sleep and recovery time .
A basic SKY TV news and events package which includes 2 Eurosport channels costs a minimum of €23 per month.
A basic NTL or Chorus pack called Digital select extra includes the 2 Eurosport channels for €32 per month .
Eurosport also offer the Eurosport player for online access . It enables you to watch the TV coverage anywhere you have a broadband connection . At a cost of €4.90 per month it is a good option .
They also offer an Iphone player which costs just €2.99 per month . This will also allow you to watch it on an iTouch or ipad all for the same price .
Sky cover a few cycling races although not nearly as many as you would expect given that they sponsor one of the biggest budget teams in the Pro Tour . I guess Eurosport are doing a good job holding on to their exclusive coverage rights .
The main race that they cover is in fact the one taking place currently , The tour down Under . They are showing a 30 min highlights program each evening with some live coverage at the weekend . This is being shown on Sky Sports 2 which is part of the following packages ;
SKY News and events pack with Sky Sports 2 extra costs €42 per month .
NTL Digital Select Extra with a Sky sports pack which costs €65 per month
Sky also have an online service called SKY player . If you do not have the sky sports package on your TV subscription this costs €54 per month . It does include the 3 sky sports channels and the Eurosport channels .
They also have a Sky player app for the iPad which again costs €54 per month which , when compared to Eurosports’ €2.99 per month seems excessive .
The SKY player for the iPhone is €10 per month is you don’t have sky sports on your TV pack or €6 if you do .
ONLINE there are some great free resources to watch your cycling coverage .
The main one stop shop is cyclingfans.com . If any race is being covered live online this is where you will find the link to it .
Other websites such as cyclingnews.com offer live updates from many of the races too .
TWITTER can be another useful resource . Many cycling journalists now tweet whilst following the races as do some of the Team staff in the cars behind the peleton which can sometimes give a good glimpse into whats going on behind the scenes .
One disadvantage of the likes of Twitter and Facebook is that you cannot look at them if you are looking forward to watching the highlights when you get home from work . It would be impossible to avoid seeing the results and this can take away a little from the whole excitement of watching the action .
Happy viewing !