Sunset+Vine Cymru kicks off summer of sport with Tour de France and international rugby

A huge summer of international sport begins this weekend for Sunset+Vine Cymru with the start of the Tour de France and the Lions match against Japan both scheduled for Saturday 26 June.

At 11:30 UK time the peloton will leave Brest heading for Landerneau on the 198km first stage of the Tour de France; Sunset+Vine Cymru will be on the road for S4C. Later in the day the Lions take on Japan at Murrayfield with kick off at 15:00 and Sunset+Vine Cymru will be in Scotland bringing the action exclusively to Channel 4.

The three-week Tour de France crowns a summer of Grand Tour cycling for the Cardiff-based Sunset+Vine Cymru team, which brought the Giro d’Italia to terrestrial UK audiences with 42 live and highlights shows. In France, all eyes will be on 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas as he bids to win a second Tour title. Sunset+Vine’s S4C coverage will follow the race live every afternoon with highlights each evening. Coverage will also be available on S4C Clic on the S4C on-demand online service.

“This is our eighth year on Le Tour,” Sunset+Vine Cymru executive producer Cerith Williams said. “This one will look a bit different: we are doing more from back at HQ due to the pandemic but if Geraint is strong and looking at a podium finish in Paris then we will certainly try to be on site for the final week.”

Sunset+Vine Cymru is Channel 4’s incumbent rugby producer and has already delivered both European Champions Cup and Autumn Nations Cup coverage for Channel 4 over the winter. The Lions’ farewell match before leaving for its tour of South Africa sees the Sunset+Vine team deliver the first live coverage of a UK-based Lions game since 2005. The coverage is presented by Lee McKenzie with Sam Warburton, Sir Ian McGeechan and Bryan Habana.

Once the Tour itself is underway highlights of the first five provincial matches in South Africa will be available on All 4 before the production team lands in South Africa to deliver further highlight programmes on Channel 4 with pitch-side presentation of all three tests against the Springboks. The coverage will be led by Cerith Williams in South Africa and senior producer Gethin Hughes back in Wales for live delivery to C4 on each test Saturday.

As the Lions tour proceeds Sunset+Vine Cymru will also be in rugby action in the UK: four matches in the 2021 Summer Series for Channel 4 between 27 June and 10 July covering England A v Scotland A at Welford Road (Leicester), Ireland v Japan (Dublin), England v USA and England v Canada (Twickenham).

Because of pandemic calendar changes, by the end of Tour de France 2021, Sunset+Vine Cymru will have produced around 280 hours of Grand Tour cycling programming from four Tours in 11 months, and when the Lions return from South Africa the rugby broadcast total will be around 85 hours for the season.

“Cerith and the team have had a fantastic year so far,” said Sunset+Vine chairman Jeff Foulser. “But they’ve got an intense couple of months ahead of them. Our relationship with the world’s biggest cycling race is precious to us and our ongoing rugby for Channel 4 is an indication of our strength and experience in the sport.”

Sunset+Vine has a track record of providing coverage of some of the world’s most high-profile sporting events. In football Sunset+Vine provides Premier League and Europa League football for BT Sport and Premier League for Amazon’s Prime Video. The company is BT Sport’s rugby partner for the domestic and European competitions as well as Channel 4’s production provider; Sunset+Vine teams also provided the Bafta-nominated coverage for Prime Video’s broadcast of the Autumn Nations Cup. In cricket Sunset+Vine is the production partner for the ICC as well as BT Sport.

2022 will mark the third consecutive Commonwealth Games in which Sunset+Vine has played a role in the multisport host broadcast; as the sole host broadcast provider for Birmingham 2022 Sunset+Vine will be responsible for the coverage of 22 sports.

Other major contracts include HSBC World Rugby Sevens host broadcast for World Rugby, the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for Red Bull, eCycling for Zwift, boxing for Channel 5 in the UK and rowing for Henley Royal Regatta.

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