ITV has announced that it will broadcast the Vuelta a Espana, one of cycling’s premier events, for the very first time.
Beginning on Saturday 20 August, and featuring Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky and Tour de France green jersey winner Mark Cavendish, ITV4 will broadcast live coverage and highlights of every stage throughout the 2011 race.
La Vuelta takes place over three weeks to Sunday September 11th; and is made up of 21 stages covering a total distance of 3,300 kilometres.
ITV4 will broadcast around two hours of live coverage from each race day as well as 30 minute highlights programmes each evening, as part of a new agreement with the ASO and Unipublic.
ITV Sport’s cycling reporter Ned Boulting will present coverage alongside Matt Rendell.
ITV.com will also simulcast live coverage and highlights programmes as well as offering shorter highlights clips.
One stage will be exclusively live on ITV.com on Sunday 4 September with extended highlights shown on ITV4 in the evening, due to a pre-existing commitment to British Touring Car Championship coverage.
British interest in the race should include this year’s Tour de France green jersey and also victor in last weekend’s London-Surrey Cycle Classic, Mark Cavendish; as well as Bradley Wiggins, the winner of this year’s Criterium du Dauphine Libere.
ITV’s Controller of Sport, Niall Sloane said: “It’s been a terrific year for British cycling with more viewers than ever before watching ITV4’s coverage of the Tour de France earlier this summer. I’m delighted that we’re able to offer viewers free to air coverage of the Vuelta a Espana.”
Viewing to ITV4’s highlights of the 2011 Tour de France was up 33 percent year-on-year.
ITV4 coverage begins on Saturday 20th August from 4.00pm to 6.00pm.