The Tour of Britain will be broadcast live for the first time on BIKE Channel after the network secured the rights to cover the 2016 event.
It is the first time that the UK’s only dedicated cycling channel, which launched in December 2015, will screen live coverage of a major professional bike race.
BIKE takes over the designated pay-TV rights to the event from Eurosport, which covered the race alongside ITV from 2013 to 2015, after negotiating a deal with race organisers SweetSpot.
It will compliment ITV4’s existing free-to-air coverage of the event, with both networks airing at least three hours of live output for each stage and daily highlights.
The flagship of the British cycling calendar, the Tour of Britain is the UK’s largest free-to-watch sporting event, attracting more than one million spectators.
This year’s edition is set to be the biggest in its history, with 10 UCI World Tour teams taking part for the first time, including British favourites Sir Bradley Wiggins’ and Mark Cavendish’s teams (Team WIGGINS and Team Dimension Data respectively) racing on their home roads.
After starting in Glasgow on September 4, the 1,296km route passes through the Lake District, Wales and Dartmoor, before finishing on Regent Street in central London on Sunday, September 11.
The route promises to test riders’ limits and both the BIKE Channel and ITV4 will be there for every pedal stroke as this iconic event unfolds.
Filippo Ubaldini, founder and CEO of BIKE Channel, said: “The Tour of Britain is one of the most important tours on the calendar and we are delighted to bring it to BIKE this summer.
“We are sure fans will love following our dedicated coverage of eight days of racing through stunning British countryside before what promises to be an exciting sprint finish in London.”
Launched in Italy in 2012, BIKE is the first broadcast channel devoted to cycling and reaches over one million cycling fans every month.
In December 2015, BIKE was introduced in the UK and is now available on Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat platforms in over 17 million households.
Mick Bennett, Race Director of the Tour of Britain, added: “With 10 WorldTour teams riding in this year’s Tour of Britain, the race is now the biggest it’s ever been.
“BIKE’s coverage – available in over 17 million households in the UK – will bring the Tour of Britain to new audiences and is key to the continued growth of the country’s national Tour.”
BIKE Channel is available on Sky channel 464, Virgin Media channel 552 and Freesat channel 251.