With the European road racing season tentatively swinging into action amid a series of race cancellations, the Étoile de Bessèges is set to take its usual place as the stage race season opener.
After the cancellations of the Vuelta a San Juan and Tour Down Under, as well as the postponements of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Vuelta a Andalucía and Volta ao Algarve, the five-day race welcomes an unusually strong line-up this year.
Tour de France champions Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas and Vincenzo Nibali headline the start list, while Classics stars Greg Van Avermaet and Alberto Bettiol also line up alongside top sprinter Pascal Ackermann.
Cyclingnews will be bringing you full reports, results, news, interviews, and analysis throughout the race. Read on to find out how to watch the Etoile de Bessèges via live stream, no matter your location, with ExpressVPN.
Ineos Grenadiers bring the starriest line-up to the race, with Bernal and Thomas joined by Michał Kwiatkowski and time trial world champion Filippo Ganna. Meanwhile, Nibali is joined by Bauke Mollema and ex-world champion Mads Pedersen.
AG2R Citroën send Classics duo Van Avermaet and Oliver Naesen to the race, while Lotto Soudal will be led by Tim Wellens, Philiippe Gilbert and John Degenkolb. EF Education-Nippo bring Rigoberto Urán, Michael Valgren, and 2020 runner-up Alberto Bettiol, and Bora-Hansgrohe can look to Felix Großschartner and Lennard Kämna.
With two stages looking well-suited to sprint finishes, there are a number of strong sprinters lining up at the race, too. Ackermann is the most notable, but Edvald Boasson Hagen (Total Direct Energie), Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic), Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka Assos), Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Marc Sarreau (AG2R Citroën) and Rudy Barbier (Israel Start-Up Nation) are also ones to watch.
The sprint stages will come on stages 2 and 4, while stages 1 and 3 feature uphill finishes which should influence the GC battle. Stage 5, meanwhile, brings a short time trial which will sort out the final podium once and for all.
Read on for all the information on how to watch the 2021 Étoile de Bessèges.
Étoile de Bessèges live stream
Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for alerts on important stories and action during the race.
The Étoile de Bessèges will be aired in France online via L’Equipe TV, with around two hours a day of live coverage available.
Unfortunately, the race won’t be shown by Eurosport, GCN, Fubo.tv or Flobikes, leaving L’Equipe’s geo-restricted stream as the only way to watch live
If you live outside a broadcast zone or are on holiday outside your country and find that the live streams to be geo-restricted, you can get around this by getting access to them by simulating being back in your home country via a ‘virtual private network’, or VPN, for your laptop, tablet or mobile.
Our sister site TechRadar tested hundreds of VPNs and recommends the number-one VPN currently available as Express VPN. With ExpressVPN, you can watch on many devices at once including Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, PC, Mac, iPhone, Android phone, iPads, tablets, etc.
|Date||Stage||Start/Finish||Distance||Start (CET||Finish (CET)|
|February 3||Stage 1||Bellegardes – Bellegardes||143.5km||13:10||16:52|
|February 4||Stage 2||Saint Geniès de Malgoirès – La Calmette||154.1km||12:50||16:41|
|February 5||Stage 3||Bessèges – Bessèges||154.8km||12:50||16:50|
|February 6||Stage 4||Rousson – Saint Siffret||151.6km||12:45||16:44|
|February 7||Stage 5||Alès – Alès ITT||10.7km||12:45||16:42|