The 2010 Tour de France got underway Saturday on VERSUS and the race began with a brutal first stage. This will be the final tour for Lance Armstrong. He faces the race favorite -- and defending champion -- Alberto Contador as well as the Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank. So Armstrong will have his work cut out for him.

I spoke to VERSUS lead broadcaster Phil Liggett just before he left London to join the crew in Holland for the start of the race, and we covered a lot of ground.

Liggett on starting the tour in Holland » This is a really challenging start to the tour. The first week is going to be really dicey for everyone. You have a country in Holland that is perhaps the most cycling-friendly country in the world. But the ironic part is that the race will be run in many parts on cobblestones and I can tell you that even the best riders in the world will be challenged on those roads and in the very early mountain climbs.

World of WilliamsVERSUS’ schedule for the Tour de France starts each day with the prerace show at 8 a.m. and then live coverage of each day’s stage. There will be an afternoon replay as well as a primetime show every night at 8. The race will be broadcast in HD and is available live on broadband, as well as through an iPhone app.

Liggett on Armstrong » This is his final tour, and winning it is not out of the question, but it is a very long shot. That said, he can go a long way toward assuring himself a podium finish by having a good first week on this wild course. For some reason this has been a layout that he has done well on. So for him to be a contender, week one is a huge key.

Liggett on the production » We set up early for the prerace show, and then my partner, Paul Sherwen, and I call the race. Once we finish we jump in a car at about 7:30 p.m. with a sandwich, a bag of chips and soft drink and drive to the hotel, where, if we are lucky, we arrive by 11:30 p.m. We do that for the entire tour. It is not glamorous but it is fun.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!