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Tour de France 2016 Media Conference

Tour de France 2016 Edward Madden/ via Flickr

Tour de France

2016 Media Conference

On July 2, 2016 the 103rd edition of the Tour de France kicks off.

Birth of the Tour de France

On July 1, 1903 the first Tour de France was set in motion as a publicity stunt to boost the popularity of a Newspaper company.  It consisted of 60 riders unlike todays 198 riders.  Today they compete as teams of 9 and in 1903 it was an individual race.  The five-dozen riders were mostly French, with just a sprinkle of Belgians, Swiss, Germans and Italians. A third were professionals sponsored by bicycle manufacturers, the others simply devotees of the sport.

A sport like no other sport

In America we watch in amazement as the tour tests the endurance of every riders involved in the race.  It is unlike any other sport in the sense that it is unlikely to see a young man come out on top.  In the United States you often see a 18-22 year old come out of college and immediately impact the sport they are in.

The Tour de France offers us something very different.  The average age of a Tour de France winner is 28 years old.  This has a lot to do with the amount of training that it takes to truly compete at a high enough level to complete the race.


The Race Route

The race consists of 198 riders which are broken down into 22 teams of 9 riders.  It has 21 stages which cover a distance of 3535 Kilometers or 2197 miles.  It has 9 flat stages, 1 hilly stage, 9 mountain stages (including 4 summit finishes), 2 individual time trial stages and 2 rest days.  It is a grueling test of will, courage, strength and heart.  even if you are not a fan of cycling you can appreciate the physical and mental strain that each competitor will go through.

Conference call with Liggett, Sherwen and Voigt

(The voices of cycling)

Q- David and Joel, you mentioned the live camera mounts on the bike and the data feed.  In what ways do you see these really enhancing the production?  And are there any additional ways you plan to supplement the host feed for viewers?

A- Well, first of all, the live feed will absolutely enhance production, because you can actually now be inside the race.  And this year, like I said, it’s only one camera.  Who knows, by five years or ten years from now, everybody could have a camera on them.  You have an ability to really find out what was happening within the peloton…and be able to hear the sound and hear the guys talk.


Q- Are there any other ways that you guys are enhancing the host feed?  Any other cameras or anything like that?

A- I think its important to note that we do the host feed, but we do have ISO feeds of all of their cameras.  So we pretty much do our own show.  In other words, it’s not exactly a pure world feed, that’s for sure.  So I think as long as you understand that, yes, we very much rely on them for all the feeds of the helicopters and motorcycles, we’re still cutting our own show.  


Q- What are the challenges of a broadcast like the Tour de France?

A- One of the biggest challenge is you don’t really have a hardcore audience tuning in.  You have people who just want to see what it is all about.  The casual person doesn’t want us to talk down to them so they must watch and pick up what they can in regards to the racing. The thing is though, this is much more than a bike race.  We are given the opportunity to share a beautiful country and all it’s history with our viewers and their just happens to be a bike race going on in the middle of it.


Make sure to tune in to NBC or MSNBC on Saturday July 2 for all your coverage of the 2016 Tour de France.