Canadians will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation on July 1st. Across the pond in Europe, the 104th edition of the Tour de France will start in Dusseldorf, Germany. While no Canadians will participate in the race for the first time since 2007, many Canadians will still want to tune into the biggest cycling race in the world throughout the month of July. To do so legally can sometimes be somewhat of a challenge so here is how to watch the 2017 Tour de France in Canada.
Many cycling fans have looked too to dodgy and unreliable streams to watch the Tour de France in the past but these come with pop-ups (many NSFW), the threat of viruses and the near guarantee the feed will freeze up during the stages most tense moments. So, if you want to avoid those free features as you take in the 2017 Tour de France, you’ll have to look for more legitimate sources of coverage.
In 2017, to watch the race on your television set you will need to be a subscriber to Sportsnet 1 which will be showing all 21 stages and replays between July 1 and 23. Rogers is the sole Canadian rights owner of the race. Replays of the stages will be shown on Sportsnet at different times over the course of the day and into the evening. The replay schedule will depend on Sportsnet’s other programming on the day.
While Rogers has the English broadcasting rights, RDS will be broadcasting the Tour de France in French throughout the 21 stages. The Montreal-based French-language sports broadcaster will have live showings of each stage. On weekends those will be found on RDS while during the week you will find the live broadcasts on RDS 2. The main channel will have replays at 3 pm on weekdays.
For cable cutters in Canada, you will have to subscribe to Sportsnet’s online streaming service Sportsnet Now. It costs $24.99 a month but as the Tour takes place entirely in July you can cancel the service once it’s over. If you do want to watch the Tour on your laptop or mobile device and will be away from your TV set where you already are a subscriber to Sportsnet, Sportsnet Now could also already be part of your TV package. Sportsnet Now is a direct to consumer service available for tablets, mobile devices and online. When you subscribe you get a 7-day free trial so if it doesn’t live up to expectations you have a week to cancel without being charged.
American’s can watch the Tour using Cycling.tv which has partnered with U.S. rights holder NBC Sports which have the broadcasting rights south of the border. Canadians who subscribe to the service will be able to watch the highlights but not live coverage.
Due to the time difference to Europe, many Canadians may not be able to tune into the race live. For highlights keep an eye on the Tour de France Youtube channel, and Velon which will have onboard GroPro’s capturing footage from the bikes of partner UCI teams in the peloton. Velon package up these videos into highlights after each stage.
If you want behind the scenes video from the tour keep an eye on Orica-Scott’s Youtube channel where there will be a Backstage Pace for each stage. For the Giro they even did pre and post race videos for fans to watch so they could be producing as many as two videos a day to give you a behind-the-scenes look from the Australian WorldTour outfit.