I’ve been listening to the Pro Cycling / cyclingnews.com podcasts. If you haven’t tuned in, they cover some of the racing but also the daily grind of covering the Tour, and there’s a lot of chit chat between the staff who are on the road. Frequently recorded over dinner, it’s an audio version of the daily despatch on cyclingnews.com with more details about the lives of those recording it and a bit less on the race: cabin fever across France.
Anthony “Tan Man” Tan is morphing into a cult figure in the niche world of cycling podcasts but whilst it’s an amusing take on those crammed into a Citroen Picasso for three weeks, it’s also profoundly disappointing.
You only have to turn on French radio right now to see what your missing. Try RMC Info or RTL and you’ll find Cyrille Guimard (pictured), Laurent Jalabert, Luc Leblanc or Jean-Francois Bernard in conversation with others about the day’s racing. Guimard in particular is superb, he brings a sense of humour but puncy analysis. Or take “Jeff” Bernard’s analysis on the chances of a breakaway staying clear: “the only thing they get out of today’s stage is a tan”. It’s pertinent, blunt and amusing.
For most English speaking fans, following the sport means a lot of text and photos on websites and for a few races we get live audio commentary. But there’s little post-race analysis and debate, the sort most other televised sports get. Sometimes this punditry can be weak. But cycling is a sport where analysis and afterthought should be in real demand.
It’s a real shame the podcast isn’t used to greater effect. I appreciate the travel and filing reports leaves the participants tired. But there’s a gap for powerful analysis from inside the race done in English. Next year, guys.