Tag Archives: Tour de France

Tour de France podcasts 2013

I have always liked radio, and since the emergence of podcasts, it is the main way that I consume information about professional cycling. Looking at twitter is probably the main way I find news and comment, with online articles coming behind that, then TV and finally print.

Cycling podcasts have been around for a few years and it has taken a while for them to ‘go pro’ as it were. In the past 2 years we have seen more professional output from established broadcasters and traditional media, while some of the new media podcasters have upped their game too.

At Tour time there is a splurge- many shows crop up just for July. Here are a few, but there will be more out there, but these are the ones I’ll be listening to. If there are other great listens out there, please share in the comments below.

Humans Invent
Richard Moore, Daniel Friebe and Lionel Birnie have a Tour preview show on design, science and technology site Humans Invent, the organisation that have been supporting Graeme Obree in his world “Human Powered Vehicle*” speed record attempt. (*basically an innovative aero bike without the UCI restrictions)

If you are a long-term podcast listener you’ll have heard these guys in the past broadcasting for Bikeradar, Cyclingnews and Cycle Sport magazine, and if you aren’t a podcast listener, you’ll certainly recognise the names as well known authors and journalists – some of the best analysis there is.
Itunes feed

BBC 5Live
Last week 5 Live hosted a 100 Years of the Tour show, unfortunately it isn’t available for download any more but it saw a discussion panel with host Simon Brotherton and Richard Moore, Ellis Bacon, Lionel Birnie and Suze Clemitson aka @Festinagirl on twitter, whose 100 Tours 100 Tales blog has proven very popular.

The main Tour preview went out this week with Alex Dowsett and Rob Hayles on ‘the panel’, and interviews with Cav, Froome, Garmin DS Charly Wegelius, Dan Martin and OPQS manager Roger Lefevre.

You’ll get that on the Bespoke podcast feed, along with daily roundup shows by live commentator Simon Brotherton. These shows tend to be quite short and are not always sufficiently in-depth for me, but are good if you need a quick round-up of the day’s action.
Itunes feed

ITV
Ned Boulting, Matt Rendell and Chris Boardman provide daily coverage. Their accreditation, and the need to get rider interviews for the TV shows mean that their access is put to good use and you’ll get more soundbites than the BBC. There is quite a bit of humour but it is not as rough around the edges and rambling, as their Real Peloton show, which has a cult following. I probably prefer hearing Matt and Ned pontificate with a bit more freedom and time, but we haven’t had an RP for quite a while. RIP RP

The burning question is: will we see the return of cameraman Liam Macleod’s ukelele?
Itunes feed

Velocast Premium
Scott O’Raw and John Galloway started free daily shows of the Tour in 2009 and refined their format in 2010. After a hiatus they returned in 2012 with a daily subscription show and this year they have ‘gone pro’ – podcasting full time, which is a really interesting development. Their Tour shows will include historical anecdotes from Cilian Kelly on ‘This Week in Cycling History’ and contributions from Suze Clemitson aka Festinagirl.

For me following cycling wouldn’t be the same without these guys and if £20 seems a lot for 3 weeks, you also got the Tour de Suisse coverage. It’s 30 shows for the price of 4 magazines – and I don’t have time to read print these days.

Subscribe via their website.
Works best with Downcast podcatcher app if you are using an iPhone.

Eurosport Cycling Podcast
I have been a long-term fan of the Velocast and Scott and John’s free weekly show is now sponsored by Eurosport. It’s good to see that It will be the best place for a general round-up of the week’s Tour action but if you want their real, in-depth coverage, you’ll have to subscribe to the daily shows.

Velocast.cc website
iTunes feed

SBS Cycling Central
Journalist Anthony Tan has been the lynchpin of this show from Aussie broadcaster SBS for a couple of years. ‘Tan Man’ as he is known to journalist cronies can be quite a dry commentator who is not short of banter and wit but has his own platform now and his interviews are very good.

I used to enjoy his appearances on British-based podcasts but at times the banter overtook the race analysis. Who could forget his 2010 rendition of ‘Beds are Burning’ that teetered between hilarious and excruciating. But for SBS, it very interesting to hear an English-speaking perspective from the other side of the world that doesn’t have to assume the majority listeners are following Sky – you will hear different insights and interviews here. The most recent ones are interviews with Nicolas Roche and Team Sky.

I haven’t found a podcast feed, which is unfortunate as I tend to miss the updates on the SBS website and their soundcloud page. For me a podcatcher like iTunes or the great Downcast app is the best way to stay updated with the shows. You can’t play soundcloud in the background on an iphone, for example, and it cuts out if your lock screen kicks in after a timed period.

http://www.sbs.com.au/podcasts/sport/cycling-central/
https://soundcloud.com/cycling-central

Velo Club Don Logan
The VCDL podcast is a relaxed, funny fan’s view of pro cycling. Gary and Graham’s 3-week publishing schedule doesn’t allow for daily shows or anything like that (these are guys with jobs) but I enjoy their analysis and there is almost always a laugh-out-loud moment or two.

Worth noting is that these guys started podding when the Velocast went AWOL in 2010: something that always impresses me. New media is social, and you often get more out of it the more you put in, and the fact that they just started their own podcast when their favourite one stopped is cool.

veloclubdonlogan.co.uk/
ITunes feed

The Bike Show
Jack Thurston’s the Bike Show, which runs fo a couple of series’ a year for London community radio station Resonance FM, usually gives an alternative view of things and this is why I like it. Although a lover of cycle touring and country lanes, Jack also digs the pro scene. His podcast special on Tour de France books covers titles you won’t have heard of and is really interesting, with contribution from expert (a serious understatement) Feargal McKay, reviewer on Podium Cafe.

website
iTunes feed

Velovoices
Velovoices is a new podcast from fans Panache, Kitty and Tim. It is very emphasised on the joy of cycling fandom, with each host having their favourites and little talk of doping scandals or corruption. There is more to their output than the audio show – although this will probably appear more frequently during the tour, there will be daily blogs and content on their website.

velovoices.com/
itunes

Related link
Tour de France podcasts 2012

David Millar’s Tour stage win

A collection of images from David Millar’s win on stage 12 of the 2012 Tour de France. This post comes very muchafter the event but I wanted to celebrate it on the blog as I am a Millar fan.

As a blogger I’m fighting to stay within the time cut at the moment, rather than driving the break- in a month’s time I might have some Chris Hoy pictures for you all.

I have been hoping for a stage win from Millar since his solo escape into Barcelona in 2009. He had come close in a few time trials, and got into a few breaks but only

Millar had the strength to mark most of the moves in the final few kilometres, and then the tactical nous to allow strong climber Pereaud a bit of a gap when he attacked in the final kilometre, before jumping the three remaining breakaway riders to latch onto the AG2R man’s wheel. Then he had the confidence to lead out the sprint, knowing he had the beating of the sometime mountain biker.

David Millar - Tour de France, stage 12
© Garmin Sharp

In addition to the way he drove the break, got the jump on his rivals and powered past Pereaud to the line, he made a point about cycling’s dark recent past in the post-race interview. Without prompting he referred to himself as “an ex-doper” and took on the issue of his ban and tainted past upfront. Contrast that to Alejandro Valverde’s avoidance of the issue, even when questioned by journalists, after his win in the Pyrenees on stage 17.

David Millar - Tour de France, stage 12
© Garmin Sharp

Naysayers may point out that the stage was a classic ‘day for the break’, with the Alps in the legs and a rolling stage unlikely to shake up the GC, the teams did not mount a chase and allowed the breakaway a lead of 10 minutes plus. Despite that, simply getting in a break at the Tour is hard enough, especially after 10 days of racing.


YORICK JANSENS/EPA

Press
Guardian
Cycling Weekly
Cyclingnews.com

Julien Simon, Saur-Sojasun

There are plenty of blogs that analyse the race better than I can, so something I have come to enjoy doing when writing about pro cycling is look around the edges at something different.

Montfort-sûr-Meu near the city of Rennes in Brittany is the hometown of 26 year old Tour debutant Julien Simon. It is just down the road from where I am staying for 3 weeks holiday. Simon was on my radar last year and it was nice to see he got selected for his first Tour de France. It gives me a good reason to follow one of the lesser known teams and riders in the race.

He is leading the French domestic race series, similar to the Premier Calendar, but with a scoring system that lasts the whole season. He also won two stages of the Tour of Catalonia and is breaking through to a new chapter in his career with new found confidence in his ability.


image: David Flores

Julien Simon
Image: Laurie Beylier
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Tour de France podcasts

I’m in France on holiday but as ever, managing time is a bit a juggling act, with family to see, children to chase after, bike riding to be done (as much as possible), weddings to go to, and so on.

I’ve always been a fan of radio and at Tour time, podcasts are a great way for me to keep up with all the aspects of the race- I don’t have time to read all the written media and if I’m lucky I’ll see an hour of live coverage, but when I get home and have to go back to work, I sometimes even struggle to catch the highlights.

This year there have been several shows, after what was something of a light summer in 2011.

Velocast
My favourite, The Velocast, returns to daily Tour coverage. Hosts Scott and John have taken a bold step in asking for A £10 subscription upfront and I am supporting this venture and hope it leads to more shows and more time for the two of them to produce content. This may not be for everybody but

Cycling Central
Australian journalist Anthony Tan is doing what looks like it will be a daily show with Cycling Central. Scottish writer Richard Moore joined him for one earlier show- a partnership that has been seen before on the now-defunct Cyclingnews show, that was sponsored by Rapha one year, and ran to publicise the cyclingnews.com website in 2011 (as I understood it). ‘Tan Man‘ and Moore have a good chemistry and seem to thrive by slagging each other. Others may prefer their commentary more ‘straight’ but I enjoy listening for the nuances in the relationships- after 2 weeks of Tour madness, you can tell that cabin fever sets in amongst the journos and often more honest assesments of poor tactics or bad conduct come to the fore. As well as the banter there is good analysis and interviews- it’s Aussie in focus though, with audio from Allan Peiper, Matt White, Matt Goss and plenty of others so far. Cadel may be elusive but they keep a close eye on his exploits. There’s still plenty of British interest with views from Moore and today Daniel Friebe and Will Fotheringham.

Cycle Sport
Richard Moore hosted a show with Cycle Sport (and Cycling Weekly) writer Lionel Birnie. This one looks like it will be more occasional but also had some really good analysis.

ITV
This show backs up the UKs main terrestrial highlights show on ITV4. It has a professional feel with clips from the English language live commentary by Phil & Paul and interviews with the stage winner or some other man of the day by Ned Boulting. Matt Rendell is cerebral as ever but there is plenty of humour between him, Boulting and the ex pro Chris Boardman. The Scouser’s humour appeals to me, there may be impressions and possibly even some ukelele from the technical staff if we are lucky.

David Millar’s prototype aero helmet

David Millar sported an aero helmet on the final stage of the Tour de France. I’m far from a gear expert but I thought I’d bring together a few thoughts on it.

David Millar - Tour de France, stage 21
pic © Team Garmin-Cervélo
click through for their flickr photos of the Tour

The helmet caused plenty of reaction on twitter, initially with people wondering who the rider was and whether it was an aero or track helmet – “WTF?”, if you like. Screenshots from Eurosport and itv4 were posted.

Even amongst pros, one of the prevailing feelings is that out-and-out aero kit during a road stage is not the done thing. “Like turning up to an amateur race in a skinsuit and not even getting in the break” someone said.
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Tour de France stage 6 depart

I went up to Dinan to have a look at the depart of the Tour de France stage as the race left Brittany for Lisieux in Normandy. Again, I got some great shots but have been battling with rural internet connection speeds and don’t have the photos online yet- to come. For the meantime I wanted to share my thoughts and observations from the stage start, which was more interesting than I expected.

André Greipel
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Gadret and Roche

I’ve been Scotia-centric for the past few weeks on the blog, and after a wee while out of the game completely, I thought it’d be nice

I listened to last week’s Carrément Vélo podcast while hacking back the jungle, I mean cutting the lawn, and there was a great interview with French rider John Gadret who finished fourth at the 2010 Giro d’Italia.

The Evil John Gadret
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Brittany July 2011

A few weeks back, when the February cold was still biting, a post on La Gazzetta della Bici gave me hope for the future. 24 Hours in Brittany, by Phil Gale who spent 6 seasons in the region racing as a full time elite amateur. This post is as much for my own research purposes as anything, but as Phil points out, race fans in the south of England can get the ferry over to St Malo and have easy access to three Tour de France stages.

I’ll be based in the centre of Ille-et-Villaine for 3 weeks and will be within easy reach of stages 4 and 5. Brittany can be perceived as flat next to the Hors Categorie mountainous ranges of the Pyrenees and Alps but in reality it is rolling, punchy terrain and can be very windy. Breakaways might have a chance to succeed and unusually, stage 4: Lorient-Mûr de Bretagne on Wednesday 5th July has a tough uphill finish. The steep, straight Mur is known as the Breton Alpe-d’Huez.

First stop was to recce stage 4 Lorient – Mur de Bretagne arrival. The finish is on a 2km 15% climb, I’ve race down it at 100kph.


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From Scotland to Kazakhstan via the Peyresourde

A quick pic of the day.

This shot is of Paolo Tiralongo, pacing Alberto Contador up the Col de Peyresourde at the beginning of Stage of the 2010 Tour de France. A large breakaway with Lance Armstrong in it had got away, and Astana, having taken the yellow jersey the day before in the infamous ‘chaingate’ incident were obliged to keep the gap within reach.

Why I am not a pro photographer

The admin of Astanafans.com contacted me via flickr to request use of the pic, and it’s fun to see what they’ve done to Tiralongo. I can’t imagine him wearing headgear like that in the July heat though.

If you read Kazakh or Russian, why not take a look. There’s a bit of news in English there too.