Question Looking into watching professional cycling... Where do I start?

Feb 10, 2020
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I just bought my first bike in a couple years, and I was reminded that cycling is a sport that I'm really interested in watching. Are there any professionals that anyone enjoys watching? Where do I begin watching pro cyclists? usps tracking showbox speed test
 
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I just bought my first bike in a couple years, and I was reminded that cycling is a sport that I'm really interested in watching. Are there any professionals that anyone enjoys watching? Where do I begin watching pro cyclists?
I'd start by subscribe to the free YouTube channels GCN and GCN Racing (GCN stands for Global Cycling Network). The former is a general news channel with news and feature videos on all kinds of cycling topics. The latter broadcasts a lot of cyclocross and an increasing number of road races--I believe they're showing the Tour de Provence this week. You can watch races there live, or, if you have a job (or circadian rhythm) that prevents that, they also post races "as live" so you can watch them later.

If you're in the US, once the bug has really bitten you, you may want to spend US $60 on a subscription to NBC Gold Cycling (Tour, Vuelta, Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, several other one-day road races, track and cyclocross World Cups) and US $150 on a FloBikes subscription (over a hundred days of racing from all over the world, including the Giro).

Others will have to help you out with options in other countries. I know Eurosport carries a lot of racing on one of their services.

As for riders to watch, right now there are a lot of young racers just entering the sport that have people excited, among them Matthew van der Poel and Remco Evenepoel.
 
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Eurosport is your best bet for the majority of race coverage. Can also use SteephillTV to find online streaming of many different events particularly if not bothered about the language of the commentary.

Lanterne Rouge on YouTube is doing a lot of good 5-15 minutes videos breaking down key events and finales of races and explaining how things occurred in a way that is accessible to newer viewers whilst still offering fresh insight for veteran cycling followers.
 
And, well, make use of our forum to get more insight in this wonderful sport! I'm also sure lots of members here are willing to provide you with information and perhaps links to streams, if you ask for it.

Enjoy!
 
First, you need to inform us where are you are located so the community can give the best possible advice - Of course there may be options of FTA, Paid subscription services through cable TV or the like, or even paid streaming services, pirate sites on the internet or you could even purchase a U Box ( which I have ) which normally give you 700 or 800 channels - Much of this will be determined by 'trial and error' until you find the best fit.
 
First i would ask, what appeals to you. What would you enjoy watching most? Mountain stages? Stage races? Classics? GT's? ITT's? Maybe even cyclocross? If you have no idea yet, you could go on youtube and search for the most "spectacular races" etc. It's easier to get into cycling, watching a fascinating race, than it is following a seemingly boring ITT (personally, i love watching ITT's but not many do).

Then you need to see what your options are in terms of watching. If you are living in Europe, that will be a lot easier than if you're living in the US, Asia or Australia... There are a few topics about watching races if you live in the US, and what your options are. There are always options that are not legal, as Yaco pointed out, regardless of your location.

Next, like Potomac mentioned, check which upcoming races will fit your preference. If none are around the corner, you could start watching some old videos on youtube of previous editions of those races.

You might want to get acquainted with some of the different types of riders. A classics rider will not ride for a classification in a Grand Tour. A sprinter might not get over a hill and get dropped before the finish. A lightweight rider will not easily win a cobbled classic, but he will probably be a good climber and might win the classification in a stagerace or GT. Then you could also look for which riders fit that mold that might appeal to you more. Then look into what age they have, if they are in the peak of their career, or are they over the hill but carry a lot of experience, or are they inexperienced young riders who might do goofy (but interesting to watch) things.

There are countless of riders with unique abilities that might be one of a few favorites on a certain course or race, but who would have no chance on a different course. As such, there are maybe a hundred or more interesting riders to follow. It's easier to get into cycling if you can pick a few guys to cheer for, based on what i just wrote. But don't expect your climber of choice to feature in a drag race sprint.

Some of the most interesting riders to look out for (imho):

Julian Alaphilippe: One of the most versatile and successful road talents of the past 3 years. Excels in steep short finishes but very good at most other things.
Thomas De Gendt: wackjob of a rider, once on the podium of the Giro d'Italia, but known for his impossible breakaway attempts, and attacks from far. Amazing when successful. Usually rides stage races for stage victory, not for general classifications.
Tom Dumoulin: Timetrial specialist turned climber/GT winner. He speaks his mind and is a bit of a grouch. Makes him human and interesting.
Remco Evenepoel: Kid that was playing football 3 years ago, moved to cycling and obliterated the junior ranks. Turned pro immediately and started winning big races at 19 years old. Timetrial specialist and lightweight (so also good at climbing). Worst sprinter in the pro peloton. Also often goes for long range attacks.
Egan Bernal: easy lovable Colombian class act. Pretty much the only rider of Ineos (team) i can cheer for. Won the TDF 2019 at 22 of age.
Wout van Aert: the only rider able to oppose Mathieu van der Poel in cyclocross, turned into a worldclass classics rider and ITT'er on the road. Forever stigmatized by the mark of the underdog... eventhough he is a winner at heart (3x CX world champion, winning big races on the road in '19).
Mathieu van der Poel: Also 3x CX world champion, winner of Amstel '19, multitalent also successful in mountainbike. Puncheur, rouleur, sprinter... a bit of everything.
Peter Sagan: Multitalent. Comparable to van der Poel in skillset but 5 years older. Punchy classics rider and pseudo sprinter. Goofball first and foremost. Also 3x world champion on the road.
Tadej Pogacar: Slovenian rocket, 21 y.o. climber for GC. Packs a lot of punch and one of the youngsters to look out for.
Tom Pidcock: Main British up & coming talent, after a fading golden generation (Froome, Thomas, Wiggins...). Succesful as an U23 rider in cyclocross, cobbled classics, climbing stages, timetrialing...

And then there are others: Roglic, Valverde, Fuglsang, Higuita, Lopez, Yates (S.), Froome, Thomas, Pinot, Bardet, Van Avermaet, Lutsenko, Quintana, Mollema, Lopez...
 
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