Le Tour via steephill.tv
July 1, 2011 10:46 AM   Subscribe

Forget Velonews. For years now, the best place to follow the big cycling stage races has been steephill.tv, a "bike travelogue" with stage previews, results, news articles, photos, and video curated every day of the race. This site is an obvious labor of love... with no ads! If you want to watch or listen to the Tour de France for free, steephill will helpfully tell you where to go on the web. But if you're away from your computer or don't have Versus (in the US), there's an NBC iPhone app with live video, for $14.99 (launches iTunes)

Of course, this year's tour is not without a doping controversy, even if it's last year's news.
posted by jstef (24 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

le Tour is a big deal in my house. My five year old enjoyed the Tour de Suisse this year, and she thinks it's awesome that two brothers are riding on the same team (for some reason, that is just the coolest thing to her). She's gearing up for the Bastille Day stage, which also happens to be my wife's birthday.

posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:14 AM on July 1, 2011

I guess I'm not sleeping in tomorrow morning.
posted by maudlin at 12:02 PM on July 1, 2011

Thanks for the heads up!

I find it so strange that it was easier to get coverage of the Tour 5 or 6 years ago than it has been in the past few years. I remember having about 9 windows open at work with live updates, live streams in multiple languages, all sorts of tracking devices (and constantly hitting alt-tab to cover them with an Excel spreadsheet when anyone walked by)...then it seemed like many of the main providers dropped out or were shut down -- or probably just realized they needed to find a way to monetize the situation. The same thing seems true of Olympic coverage. Had you told me then that coverage on the web would get worse in the future, I would have been surprised.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 12:05 PM on July 1, 2011

I was complaining about this in another thread, but I can't stand the American feed for the Tour. I like Phil Liggett, and I have a soft spot for Bob Roll, but every time they cut back from a pre-recorded segment about Radio Shack's support van or something to say "while we were away five riders went up the road on a break- we'll see if we can figure out who they are in a moment," I want them to be struck by one of David Millar's flying bikes. It's always a trade-off between watching the tour in HD, and watching an online feed that ACTUALLY SHOWS THE DAMN RACE!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:23 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why is it a reasonable $15 for Apple fan-boys, and an exorbitant $30 for everybody else........

Anyway, if you want to talk about "not without doping controversies", it would be wrong to leave out Cadel's soigneur :)
posted by Chuckles at 12:40 PM on July 1, 2011

Also, the Quick Step bus is currently being searched by police.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:48 PM on July 1, 2011

I remember one year that OLN (remember them?) put up highlights after each stage in a streaming player and the highlights were just slices, via start and end time parameters, of the whole day's broadcast. Changing some parameters in the URL would deliver the whole un-clipped broadcast... Yeah, that didn't work the next year.
posted by alb at 1:16 PM on July 1, 2011

Damn, Cadel too!?! I thought he was the one clean guy in the sport... that's why he was always one or two spots behind.
posted by pjenks at 1:22 PM on July 1, 2011

One great site is Cyclocosm. It's not updated too frequently, but there are some interesting posts and he makes a series of videos on "How the Race was Won," where Cosmo offers insights on, well, how the race was won. They're great ways to learn about some of the nuances of racing, and relive some spiffy races.
posted by herrdoktor at 2:13 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't be entirely surprised if you could watch the Tour de France live on one of NOS's (Dutch public broadcaster) apps. If it's not NOS Journaal, they might roll one out for the Tour specifically, just search for NOS.

That is, *if* the app(s) are available outside the Netherlands *and* the streams work for foreign IPs. I don't know about that specifically. But it might be worth a try.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:42 PM on July 1, 2011

I really like Cyclocosm. I was bummed when he slowed his pace.

There's lots of Tour de France coverage at Pavé Cycling. [Self-promotion notice, I contribute there, but I checked the MeFi rules and this comment should pass muster].
posted by entropone at 3:25 PM on July 1, 2011

Also, this Tour should be really exciting. The first week probably won't be boring sprint stages, but lively stages with the potential for power sprinters or attackers to win the day. I expect to see a very active Phil Gilbert wearing his new Belgian Champ's jersey; Thomas Voeckler, too.

The Tour's got a ton of climbing and little time trialing. Defending champ Alberto Contador might not have the form he's had in previous years, due to little racing this year, and fatigue from a very difficult Giro d'Italia in May... if Andy doesn't lose Frank (if Frank keeps his collarbones intact, that is), he may be able to pull it off.

Still, often I find the battle for 3rd, 4th, and 5th to be more interesting... we'll find out! It'll be a long three weeks.
posted by entropone at 3:30 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another great cycling blog is The Inner Ring. BikeSnobNYC will be blogging at Bicycling.

I'll be rooting for Jens Voigt and Sylvain Chavanel to win a stage or two.
posted by Argyle at 5:04 PM on July 1, 2011

Chuckles: Anyway, if you want to talk about "not without doping controversies", it would be wrong to leave out Cadel's soigneur

It's a bit strong to call him "Cadel's soigneur" that thread says he worked 13 days for BMC last year and 2 days this year.
posted by markr at 6:39 PM on July 1, 2011

The big question this year is whether Contador is good enough to ride both the Giro and the Tour in one year. Last year all the guys who rode the Giro where off the pace at the Tour, and it's been a while since someone has been able to do both strongly. Contador at his best will win easily, but there is a fair chance he won't be at his best.

Removing basically all the TT'ing seems aimed at getting someone who isn't Contador to win too, since none of the guys who can climb anywhere near him can TT like him.
posted by markr at 6:42 PM on July 1, 2011

I agree with this post. Steephill is a great site.
posted by chinston at 8:47 PM on July 1, 2011

So we're allowed to advertise around here and give prices so long as it's an IPhone app, right?
posted by joannemullen at 11:27 PM on July 1, 2011

This site is an obvious labor of love... with no ads!

Except for, you know, the ads... I'm currently seeing a Flash ad for LiveStrong and GoogleAds for watching the TdF on Versus and to "Meet single cyclists".
posted by The Michael The at 4:44 AM on July 2, 2011

Except for, you know, the ads...

I posted from a computer with adblock unknowingly enabled. Upon looking them over without adblock, the ratio of painstakingly detailed content to annoying flash ads is still really high.
posted by jstef at 12:18 PM on July 2, 2011

The big question this year is whether Contador is good enough to ride both the Giro and the Tour in one year.

First stage results... Crash at 7km holds Contador up for 30-50 seconds. Crash at 2.5km holds A. Schleck up for 30-50 seconds, and continues to hold both A. Schleck and Contador up for a further 30-50 seconds. Due to the 3km rule, A. Schleck is given the time of the group he was with when the crash happened (6s down), but since Contador wasn't in the group of the 2.5km crash, he was only held up by it, his time at the end is directly from the clock (1m20s).

Unless the organizers alter the initial ruling to have a more balanced impact on Contador's time, there isn't any question anymore. Nearly impossible to come back from 1m20s (plus the advantage having Cancellera in the TTT gives you). Floyd Landis level miracle, if it happens.

A. Schleck's response to this sequence of events? "[Contador]. You have to use your head."
posted by Chuckles at 1:02 PM on July 2, 2011

Well, there's always EPO, Chuckles. :)
posted by jstef at 1:30 PM on July 2, 2011

Yes you have to use your head. Omega Pharma-Lotto and Garmin-Cervelo had been driving that bus for the last 20km, with BMC and Europcar joining in. They kept the pace up to catch reel in the break while Saxo kept Contador in the back. I don't know if they were saving him for that final uphill sprint, or if they had just decided not to contest the stage, but when the first crash happened, most of the riders who'd been doing the work managed to get away. The second crash was bad luck, but the 3km rule might have just as easily helped him in a different situation. It was an overly conservative strategy, and Contador paid for it. Omega wanted the win and were going for it the entire stage, and it paid off. Philippe Gilbert is having a very good year.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:28 PM on July 2, 2011

The more I think about that 3km rule, the more I like it. Could you imagine the carnage if everybody were fighting to get to the front, "where it's safe" so that they wouldn't lose time in case of a crash?
posted by entropone at 4:08 PM on July 2, 2011

entropone: "Could you imagine the carnage if everybody were fighting to get to the front, "where it's safe" so that they wouldn't lose time in case of a crash"

That was why it was introduced. Before it you would have all the overall contenders trying to stay near the front while the sprinter's teams were trying to get their guys to the front, all the way to the finish (which is invariably in the middle of a town through narrow twisty streets to make it better for spectators). It just made it more dangerous that it needed to be. Now you still get the GC guys trying to stay forward until the 3k mark, but from then they can relax a little.
posted by markr at 8:17 PM on July 2, 2011

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