Viewers with cable or Sky TV dishes pay a fair whack for access to Eurosport's coverage of TdF but last year there was a budget option thanks to ITV Digital. With that company's collapse it appeared there was no cheap way of watching Le Tour, not even the new and extensive ITV2 coverage. Then, today it was revealed that the government has given ITV Digital's licence to the BBC. But the new deal didn't come in time for this weekend's start of the worl'd biggest annual sporting event

£100 for Tour de France coverage in UK, despite BBC rescue of ITV Digital

The BBC will offer 24 free-to-air digital channels, including some from satellite broadcaster BSkyB, as well as interactive and digital radio services. But the new service won’t start until the autumn, way too late for newcomers to get ITV2’s Tour de France coverage, with the voice of Phil Liggett.

However, existing ITV Digital subscribers should already receive ITV2, and it’s possible – although not terribly well-known – to buy £100 set-top boxes from Pace which will link in any television set to the existing free-to-air channels, including ITV2.

In theory, these Pace boxes should be compatible with the new BBC service.

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