In this guide you’ll learn the simple way you can watch the full Tour of California on a free-to-air service in any country.
The Tour of California, also known as the Amgen Tour of California, is an annual professional cycling stage race in the U.S., and it’s the only event on the top-level World Tour in the United States.
It has a duration of eight days, and it covers 650–700 miles (around 1,045–1,126 km) through the state of California in the U.S.
If you’re excited to watch the race, then your excitement can be dashed when you discover it is only available on a limited number of TV networks.
In most countries the Tour is reserved to expensive cable networks, in others, it’s not shown at all.
It’s for this reason I’ll be showing you the quick and easy way you can watch the entire tour subscription free on a completely free, legitimate service.
When is the Tour taking place
This year’s Tour is going to start on May 12th (Sunday), and it’s going to finish on May 18th (Saturday).
In the beginning, the Tour took place in February, but in 2010 it was moved to May. Since then, the Tour has continued to take place in May.
Where is the Tour being shown
Sadly, the Tour won’t be shown in every country.
In the countries where it is available, it’s geo-blocked meaning you can’t watch it outside those places.
In most countries, this event is reserved for cable networks and if you don’t have a subscription, you’re out of luck.
Australia is one of the lucky countries that shows it for free on SBS Cycling Central.
In order to watch it from anywhere in the world for free without a cable service, you’ll need a VPN service such as ExpressVPN but there are plenty of options which I’ll discuss below.
Let me show how you can use a VPN service to enjoy the Tour of California without a cable subscription anywhere on the planet.
What you need to watch the Tour
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) works as an intermediate between your devices and the internet.
This service is legal, and its primary goal is to protect your privacy online at the same time it allows to access to content that employs geo-blocking.
There are a lot of VPN services available, among them, one of the best choices is ExpressVPN. They offer a fast connection which is great for streaming sports.
Good speeds mean you won’t suffer any buffering or streaming issues which would ruin your enjoyment of watching the Tour.
There are plenty of other good choices out there so feel free to ‘Google’ around if you have time. It’s worth noting though that not all services are as good as each other so it pays to choose wisely.
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How to watch the Tour
Even though VPN apps sound extremely complicated, that’s certainly not the case.
Just follow the four steps below and you can be watching the Tour of California from the comfort of your home within minutes.
Choose the VPN service more convenient for you, for example, ExpressVPN and create an account with them.
It’s well worth considering their 12-month package because it works out 49% cheaper than paying monthly. This allows you to stream loads of other cycling events over the next 12 months and other sports for free.
Once you have the account ready, you’ll need to download and install the VPN app.
If you’re on Windows or Mac OS, you can download the app from the “Products” section on the ExpressVPN website.
Most of the VPN services websites have more or less the same sections, so it’s going to be easy to find it.
If you’re using an Android phone or tablet, or an Apple iOS device, you can get the app from your regular app store. Just search the name of the VPN service you signed up to.
Open the app and log in with your credentials. These are the same login details you created when you signed up.
On the desktop app, press the “Choose Location” button, search for ‘Australia‘ and click on it to select it, then, you have to click on “Connect“.
If you’re on your phone or your tablet, it’s much the same process. Press the ‘…‘ icon next to ‘Selected Location‘ and then select ‘Australia‘.
Once you’re connected visit the SBS Cycling Central website where you can stream the entire tour live for free.
Who’s taking part in the tour
There are a total of 19 teams taking part in the tour. They’re split into two categories: World Tour Teams and Pro Continental/Continental Teams.
World Tour Teams:
- Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
- Bahrain-Merida (BRN)
- Bora-Hansgrohe (GER)
- CCC Team (POL)
- Deceuninck-Quick Step (BEL)
- Ef Education First (USA)
- Team Dimension Data (RSA)
- Team Jumbo – Visma (NED)
- Team Katusha – Alpecin (SUI)
- Team Sky (GBR)
- Team Sunweb (GER)
- Trek Segafredo (USA)
- UAE Team Emirates (UAE)
Pro-Continental/ Continental Teams:
- Cofidis (FRA)
- Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team (USA)
- Israel Cycling Academy (ISR)
- Rally UHC Cycling (USA)
- Team Novo Nordisk (USA)
- USA Cycling (USA)
This year, there will some returning champions such as Team Jumbo-Visma’s George Bennett (2017), BORA-hansgrohe’s three-time World Champion Peter Sagan (2015), and EF Education First Pro Cycling’s U.S. veteran rider Tejay van Garderen (2013).
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There are going to be seven stages, one each day, covering mountain roads, highways and coastlines from Sacramento to Pasadena.
Be prepared for some stunning scenery.
The first stage will be on May 12th in Sacramento. Starting and finishing in the state’s capital city, it’s going to cover a total of 143 km, and there are going to be three laps. The start time is 2:15 PM PST and the estimated finish time is around 5:40 PM PST.
This stage it’s going to be on May 13th, and it will be in the host city of Rancho Cordova. This route is going uphill until it finishes in South Lake Tahoe. With a total of 214.5 km, the start time is going to be at 9:30 AM PST and the estimated finish time is around 3:43 PM PST.
From Stockton to Morgan Hill, this stage is going to be on May 14th, and it will cover 208 km. The start time is at 10:05 AM PST and the estimated finish time is around 3:40 PM PST.
On May 15th, the 4th stage is going to start at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, covering 214 km until reaching its destination on Morro Bay. The start time is 10:05 AM PST and the estimated finish time is around 3:42 PM PST.
This stage is going to take place on May 16th. From downtown Pismo Beach and going through sandy beaches and undulating dunes, this stage is going to cover 219.5 km until it reaches Ventura, another beach city. The start time is 10:00 AM PST and the estimated finish time is around 3:43 PM PST.
On May 17th and covering a total of 127.5 km, stage 6 will start in Ontario. The whole route is a travel through the San Gabriel mountains, and it’s full of slopes. The destination is Mt. Baldy. The start time is at 11: AM PST and the estimated finish time is around 3:40 PM PST.
The final stage is going to be on May 18th, and it will cover 126 km. The route is from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, and it’s going to pass through the San Gabriel mountains. The start time is at 10:35 AM PST and the estimated finish time is around 1:37 PM PST.
The Tour of California is going to be held between May 12th and May 18th this year. This event is going to be mostly covered on cable networks.
But it doesn’t matter where you live in the world, you can watch it on SBS Cycling Central Australia for free.
However, there is a trick. You’ll need a VPN service since this streaming uses geo-blocking which stops overseas viewers.
VPN apps are totally legal, and among all the options, one of the best choices is ExpressVPN.
All you need to do is to create an account, subscribe to their service, download and install the app. And you’ll be ready to enjoy this year’s Tour and all the ones that are coming in the future.