Ratings for the three-week-long bike race are up 16% for its early morning three-hour broadcast, which is averaging 484,000 viewers so far for the first four days of coverage.
For its total day coverage, the network has improved somewhat less -- 5% to 1.2 million viewers. Versus is airing 14 hours a day of coverage overall, including re-airs of its original morning coverage and a prime-time show.
For the second year in a row, the event has included the return of Lance Armstrong, who came out of retirement to race. Last year's ratings were virtually double that of the event in 2008.
The cable network also says unique users on its Tour de France Web site in the U.S. have increased 15% overall, while pages per user are up 22%. Unique users' average time on the site is currently running 13% higher than a year ago.