Broadcasting starts a few minutes before they push off for the neutral start, and doesn't end for FIVE OR SO hours, when the last of the riders has crossed the line. The commentary is hard to follow (being all in French) but I am loving being able to see the whole race.
The Daily Telegraph has written up an excellent primer for Le Tour that I'd recommend as reading for anyone trying to understand the complex rules and scoring system.
To battle sloth, Kate and I are integrating some callisthenics into our tour watching. When commercial breaks appear, we both leap up and do push-ups or burpies for the duration of the break. Once the familiar Tour theme music plays, we stop our puffing and collapse into our familiar, chosen spots on the sofa. We are also doing a morning 2 - 3 hour ride ... weather permitting.
The riding here is just so pleasing. The villages in the area we are staying are 3 to 4 kilometres apart, connected by winding, smoothly-paved, quiet roads. The few drivers that we do encounter are VERY tolerant of cyclists and will sit a respectful distance behind a rider until a safe opportunity to pass presents itself. Of course, every town has a patisserie that is available for sustenance (should the need arise).
With sights like to ones below, I'm happy to fritter away the next month, exploring the countryside on two wheels.