How to watch bike racing events in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

How to watch bike racing events in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

With the Tour de France drawing to a close, thoughts turn to the next major event on the calendar - the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Originally scheduled for 2020, the Tokyo Olympics appear to be moving forward despite COVID-19 concerns.

Let's take a look at how to stream the marquee road race, time trial, and cross-country mountain bike events from July 23-28, 2021 (yes, I realize BMX and track cycling are in the Olympics - they're worth watching too - but those events are spread across many disciplines, days, heats, etc. and are harder to watch in a single sitting.)

Cable, satellite, and live streaming options for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

For readers in the USA, NBC has broadcast rights. Viewing options include NBC's family of channels on cable and satellite providers, accessing NBC's channels through "skinny" online options like YouTube TV or Sling, and NBC's own Peacock app. A full calendar showing every event, date/time, and channel can be found here

You'll find Olympic coverage on local NBC affiliates, USA, CNBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel, and Telemundo. If you don't have access to NBC's channels via a cable or satellite subscription, the Peacock apps is the least expensive option for most viewers with a few available tiers:

  • Free - watch streaming TV shows, news, and some sports.
  • Premium - $4.99 / month. This tier includes live sports like the Olympics.
  • Premium Plus - $9.99 / month. This tier offers the same content as the Premium tier, but in an ad-free or reduced advertising environment. 

Peacock is available on iOS and Android, Mac, PC, as well as game consoles like Playstation.

Look for replays, not live coverage

Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of USA Eastern time and 16 hours ahead of USA Pacific time - so you'll need to get up awfully early to watch live events that are being held in the Tokyo afternoon or evening.

Because of the time difference, look for a provider who offers on-demand replays in case you miss the live coverage. For the 2021 Tour de France, Peacock offered replays, but only AFTER the stage was completed - you can't start from the beginning on demand at a time convenient for you. I expect the Olympic coverage to be similar - either plan to watch it live (no pausing or rewinding available) or wait until the full replay is available. 

2021 Tokyo Olympics cycling schedule

Friday, July 23

Men's road race - starts at 10 PM EDT
Lawson Craddock and Brandon McNulty are the two USA entries.

Sunday, July 25

Women's road race - starts at 12AM EDT
This one features Ruth Winder, Chloe Dygert, Amber Neben, Leah Thomas, and Coryn Rivera. 

Monday, July 26

Men's cross-country MTB - starts at 2AM EDT
Christopher Blevins earns the only starting spot for the USA.

Tuesday, July 27

Women's cross-country MTB - starts at 2AM EDT
Kate Courtney, Hailey Batten, and Chloe Woodruff take the start. 

Women's time trial starts at 10:30PM EDT
Dygert, the sole women's entry from the USA, will try to return to form following a horrific injury. It will be a busy couple of weeks for Dygert who is scheduled to appear in the team pursuit on the track too!

Wednesday, July 28

Men's time trial starts at 1AM EDT
Craddock and McNulty are both on the start list.

* this article describes coverage for viewers in the United States. Coverage in other regions may vary. 

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