(Where to watch the Tour of California, updated: Feb. 19, 2006) The long-awaited and much-anticipated Amgen Tour of California starts off in San Francisco at 10 a.m. Sunday for its 8-day race along more than 600 miles of California blacktop.
Although it's ranked as a top race on the international cycling circuit, don't expect to find it covered live on any network TV. There are ways to get live results, though, then catch it later on TV.
ESPN2 — the deuce — is covering the race in a deal they inked with the organizers, AEG. The ESPN2 TV cycling schedule for Sunday through Feb. 26 shows the sports network will feature one-hour segments on the race every night at either 10 or 11 p.m. Pacific time; three hours later on the East Coast (1 a.m. or 2 a.m.). Set your VCRs.
For more immediate coverage, the Tour of California is offering play-by-play coverage through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to websites, as well as e-mail, and SMS (text messages sent to your cell phone). Sign up for the RSS code or email and SMS service at the Tour website. (For grins, I've posted the RSS feed in my sidebar on the Tour of California pages. If you want to see how the updates run, check back Sunday. Depending on how it looks, I might have to reconfigure some things.)
Further, Cyclelicious lists some more offerings for experiencing the Tour.
One is the Tour of California Grassy Knoll Project at Steephill.tv . Steephill is seeking digital image and video submissions from anyone shooting along the race route. They'll also automatically pull images tagged “tourofcalifornia” from Flickr. The results will be posted as soon as possible on Steephill and may be submitted for airing on TV or bike film festivals.
In addition, (this also via Cyclelicious) the WAP Review blog tells how to get live coverage on cell phones via VeloNews, Google and Yeswap.com. He offers great directions on how to set up your gear.
VeloNews also is offering live coverage of the Tour of California at its website.
So even without Phil and Paul and Bob chattering on live TV, there are several ways to get live coverage and updates of the first Tour of California. I just wish everybody luck in getting any work done while the race is on.