Tour de France Podcast Reviews

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


One of the great things about the Tour de France is the amount of coverage and content available. This includes podcasts. I’m a fan of podcasts as you can listen whilst doing something else and the way they are recorded means analysis and debate of the day’s racing as opposed to live coverage.

With this in mind here’s a selection of podcasts covering the Tour de France if you want to try them.


First and for the simple reason that it’s excellent. The Cycling Podcast is a daily show during the Tour presented by three journalists and weekly for the rest of the year. The weekly format’s been entertaining and the quality’s improved, both technical and conversationally. Now it’s “The Telegraph Cycling Podcast supported by Jaguar” during the Tour. Lionel Birnie, Daniel Friebe and Richard Moore each have a chat about the day’s events and supply plenty of original content, whether audio interviews with people on the race or snippets of information and analysis.

The same feed is supplying the Velonews podcast when they’re joined by the likes of Andrew Hood and Matthew Beaudin for a more US take on matters.

The Velocast’s Scottish duo are broadcasting behind a paywall so it’s harder for you to have a try and see if you like it but their home page does offer samples. Each day’s stage is analysed and there’s daily thoughts and conversation on events and topics from the day. They’re professional broadcasters but offer a fans’s view, watching the stage as you might and then exploring events. It’s opinionated, amusing and witty.

British TV channel ITV covers the Tour de France and somehow its presenters get together in the evening for a chat about events. They offer a round-up of the action, a chew over events and some interviews from the mixed-zone. You can sense the relaxation after hours of live broadcast, there’s joking and some might recognise the tone from the dropped Real Peloton podcast. It’s often shorter than the others, say, 15 minutes but concise and handy if you missed the stage.

Cycling Weekly has a daily podcast. It sounds like its recorded on a smartphone during the drive from the stage finish to the journalist’s hotel for the evening. There’s not much production at work here, it’s like you’re sitting inside the car with them. There’s discussion of the day’s events and a preview of what’s next. It’s on soundcloud.com and you can subscribe via iTunes too, search for it.


Next for French speakers there’s RTL’s Club Jalabert which offers a series of clips and analysis throughout the day including L’Oeil De L’Equipe, a quick piece from a L’Equipe journalist, plus a daily stage preview and then a post-stage analysis with phone-in where presenter Christian Olivier joined by Laurent Jalabert as a pundit. It’s good listening because it’s French, all the other shows above feature anglophone presenters predominantly talking about “their” riders and this offers a host-nation’s take on the home riders. So expect more on the simmering feud between Pierre Rolland and Jean-Christophe Péraud for example rather than an update on Chris Horner. Jalabert knows his stuff, during the day he’s a commentator for French television but sometimes struggles when sat alongside the bumbling Thierry Adam. On the radio he seems more relaxed, it’s his show and he’s in charge and he’s a lot more talkative and informative than his senate hearing last year.

Rival radio station RMC put all their Tour audio out on a feed too. It’s a talk radio and sports station and the content is more lively with experts including Fred Adam and the legendary Cyrille Guimard. Arguably the best directeur sportif of all time, Guimard’s a lively pundit with opinions and is much more than senior name wheeled out once a year, his predictions and analysis are often so sharp you wonder why he’s not in a team car.

Others?

  • Australian broadcaster SBS do a weekly broadcast called Cycling Central but it’s not daily or Tour specific, search for it on iTunes
  • Bicycling has Tour Talk daily videos from James Startt and Frankie Andreu… but they’re not podcasts to save.

Summary
There are only so many hours a day you can read about the Tour de France and watch it on TV. For the rest there’s a podcast.

The idea has been to present a few options if you want to get some audio to go. I reviewed some a couple of years ago and remember people were asking for French content so it’s added too. Similarly if you have extra podcast suggestions and views please share them below.

Dave H July 8, 2014 at 5:21 pm

As I have a very long daily commute I get through a lot of podcasts including the Cycling Podcast, Velocast and ITV’s one. Of the three I think the Cycling Podcast is the best with the right balance of informed commentary and lighter elements. Velocast is also excellent but much more a fan’s view which can be both good and bad.

The ITV one is fun but featherweight. It is clear that Ned, Matt and Chris are having fun but sometimes I wish they would discuss the points they raise in a bit more detail. Take Ned’s throwaway comment after stage 2 about Sagan’s tactics. It would have been interesting to hear their perspective on that but instead the other two talked over him.

Alex July 8, 2014 at 8:01 pm

ITV’s podcast misses Gary Imlach, who’s clearly busy being pithy and erudite elsewhere.

Another vote for the Cycling Podcast, which is informative and frequently funny. It’s apparent that the three know each other well and are comfortable in what they’re doing. That’s of huge benefit with this kind of thing.

Cody Scott July 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

The Slowride Podcast is definitely one of the best new cycling podcasts of the year and is worth a listern.

Spencer Haugh July 8, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Thanks for the love Cody! Means the world to us. Thanks for listening!

The Inner Ring July 9, 2014 at 8:29 am

I’ve been trying to pick regular Tour podcasts, the daily editions which add to the race coverage.

I should do a more general look and others in due course.

benzwire July 8, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I definitely recommend the Velocast. Those guys put out an awesome show. They are the only podcast that I pay to listen too, and it’s well worth it.
Also the Velo Club Don Logan, or VCDL Cycling Podcast is good. They don’t do a daily pod during the Tour though.

Denver July 10, 2014 at 3:57 am

Completely agree on the Velocast. Because they have little in the way of commercial influences (i.e. – paid advertisers, especially paid advertisers within the industry), they pretty much say what they want, when they want on teams, races and riders.

My one I guess observation is that John, can somewhat come across as erratic. Some months, he is all anti-doping, and is quick to cast an eye towards suspect riders (see Horner – 2013 Vuelta). Other times, he plays Mr. Political Animal, saying that without evidence, Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Now – in a way, I think that should be appreciated….as I imagine we all go through this kind of emotional roller coaster with this sport. But – it does make you have to recalibrate yourself when he switches tides.

Buddenbrook July 8, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Good review and an interesting topic – each of these podcasts come from different places and production cultures. ITV is by far the weakest – they forget that people who bother to download a podcast want much more than you get from terrestrial broadcasting. It’s also British broadcasting at its most banal – these are smart people, but the humour takes the place of thinking seriously. Personally, I’m after sharp analysis presented along side sharp wit – both Velocast and the Cycling Podcast do this far better and I’m happy to pay for it (although not twice). The key to podcasts is providing to the fan, rather than the causal viewer/listener. It’s a cheap medium and it can subvert the usual broadcast formats. Let’s have 45 mins of good analysis after every stage and also some contribution from listeners via social media.

What’s interesting is whether this can be extended to video feed – much more complex. I like the Orica Greenedge Backstage Pass. It is witty (Australians are, thanks to history!), but as a promotional feed lacks much analysis. Whoever adds this is going to get a lot of attention from fans and maybe sponsors… (Go for it Mr. Inrng.com.)

JC July 8, 2014 at 7:51 pm

i’d also recommend BBC 5’s ‘Bespoke’ podcast, featuring Rob Hayles amongst others

The Inner Ring July 9, 2014 at 8:30 am

A couple of people mentioned it on Twitter, I’ll give it a try too.

MattSalmon July 8, 2014 at 8:16 pm

I listen to the all but first one I press play on is Velocast. Couple of opinionated fans chatting about a sport they love. Not always right but always worth a listen.

Fun Run Robbie July 8, 2014 at 8:18 pm

I am a subscriber to the Velocast , its the best money I spend on cycling each year. I also enjoy ITV and the Cycling Podcast. I still stay the cycling podcast is a hidden gem in the world of cycling.

Grammus July 9, 2014 at 8:26 am

Agreed. Well worth it.

Gerard July 8, 2014 at 8:25 pm

All about the Velocast for me. The hosts can be as free as they like with their opinions as they have no sponsors to please. They aren’t afraid to mince their words and I do appreciate the odd swear word when discussing emotive subjects.

Yes it is behind a paywall but the coverage extends to all 3 grand tours, the classic and almost everything in between as well ad the excellent cycling history show.

Well worth the money if you can allow yourself to get over the misconception that paying for podcasts is odd.

Chris July 8, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Speed Metal Cycling podcast! Though their tone is super-jokey (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and they’ll go off topic very frequently and for extended periods

The Inner Ring July 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

It’s fun but do they cover the Tour daily? There are lots out there but I tried to list those covering the Tour every day.

GrandMasterB July 8, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I really like the Cycling Podcast a lot. Daniel Friebe comes across as a bit of a dick, I’m not sure if that’s schtick or if he’s really just an ass. It’s not too distracting though, and he has something to add from time to time. The other two are great.

Colin Jenkins July 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

I love the ITV4 podcasts. Velocast used to be essential listening but their podcasts (and appalling Twitter presence) have become increasingly unpleasant of late as they peddle their own egos to an audience of apparent sycophants. Sad.

KAOS July 9, 2014 at 7:39 am

Really? I’ve thought of myself as a devotee of the Velocast for a few years – now I’m a sycophant? Struggling to think of any change in their style “of late” – quality content with not a few laughs thrown in, no sign of egotism that I can see… (Having said that, I’m not on (or interested) in Twitter)

Simon Bowers July 9, 2014 at 8:10 am

Thats a bit harsh mate – not really any need to have a go at both the podcast AND its listeners – each to their own

Grammus July 9, 2014 at 8:28 am

Utter nonsense. Calm down.

Simon July 9, 2014 at 8:44 am

It is perhaps significant that Colin likes the banal, uninformative and jokey one but is less keen on the more passionate, thoughtful and spiky one.

Brian Thompson July 9, 2014 at 9:38 am

The response about Velocast is a little harsh, but I can see where the poster is coming from. They’re clearly good at what they do but their passive/aggressive Twitter posts about other podcasts and journalists is petty. It seems that having been desperate to get a seat at the big boys’ table for a while – and seemingly failed – they are happy to sit on the outside chucking stones.

Their promises of “on the ground” coverage this year must jar a little with those who are basically paying to hear 2 guys talking about what they saw on Eurosport. Still, good luck to them.

CHRW July 9, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Keep it friendly folks – no need to go all ‘CyclingNews’ on each other. Many of us come here for the friendly, informed and respectful commentary. If you want to get personal go elsewhere please.

Anonymous July 9, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Agreed. I was a little intemperate. It’s against the spirit of this excellent blog and the generally civilised discourse it attracts.

Jim July 8, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I’m in my second year of Velocast subscription, and it’s the best money I spend on anything to do with cycling. Their daily analysis adds a great deal to my enjoyment of the Grand Tours, but TWiCH is their real masterpiece. I can’t overstate the amount of pleasure that show about the history of cycling gives me.

I listened to one episode of the Cycling Podcast a few weeks back, and felt it catered better to a less well informed audience than the Velocast.

Cilmeri July 8, 2014 at 10:34 pm

I prefer the cycling podcast – so that’s me told ;)

Simon Bowers July 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Theres a good local aussie one as well – One for the Rodad (although I am a Kiwi its local enough for me :) ) http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9131803/events/3160676

Simon Bowers July 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

One for the Road that is :)

Spokey Dokey Blog July 8, 2014 at 10:25 pm

There’s also Velo Club Don Logan, seem to be doing weekly shows last few weeks, but might not hear anything until after the Tour. They also cover mountain biking, downhill & cross country. By fans, for fans.
http://veloclubdonlogan.co.uk/

Vanilla Thrilla (@Vanilla_Thrilla) July 9, 2014 at 12:17 am

I second that. These guys don’t take themselves too seriously and as a result can be very entertaining. Their lack of ego and relaxed approach to factual accuracy is endearing.

The VCDL has by far the best intro music too

Anonymous July 9, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Third! Great podcast and funny guys!

Paddy Dunne July 8, 2014 at 10:41 pm

I can\t be doing with most of the UK anylis its so Anal. When i’m away i like the French take on the Tour and Mike Creed is the shrewdest Mother in the Valley. Period. I do pay for the Velocast but will i renew? Meh! For such great writers that they are Moore, Friebe and Birnie are so negative. I prefer Boulting,Boardman and Rendell on the Podcast but can’t be doing with the TV coverage. Shame cycling central don’t do a daily show. Mike Creed just cracks the door open enough for you to look in, then slams it shut, just don’t trap your fingers on the architrive!

Simon Bowers July 8, 2014 at 10:45 pm

In case anything else reads this wrong as i initially did – Velocast isn’t Moore, Friebe and Birnie :)

TheJerseyPocket July 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm

I sat in with the Cycling Podcast guys for a look behind the scenes for a piece about cycling podcasts.. You can read my piece here: https://thejerseypocket.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/portrait-of-the-cycling-podcast/

It also looks at Velocast, The Bike Show and Unofficial, Unncensored UCI Women’s cying podcast.

Brian Bolger July 8, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Another huge fan of the Velocast, it too is the only podcast I pay for. 2 Scottish fans that have a huge depth of knowledge & love for the sport that really tells. Highly recommended.

bikefoolish July 8, 2014 at 11:57 pm

The itv4 podcast is such a disappointment, intelligent guys who are probably obliged by the station to put out a podcast so see it as a bit of a laugh and don’t cater to the listener, i only listen for interviews in the mix zone.
The bespoke BBC podcast is far superior to the ITV one with good analysis and interviews, recommended.
I also get the velocast podcast but this is low brow stuff with the presenters getting too egotistical and tend to sound like two old men moaning in the pub, however this might be what some are looking for. Its worth paying for Cillian Kelly and TWITCH who can actually provide genuine insight and should start up his own shown.
However the best is The Cycling Podcast, clever guys with expert analysis and good relationships throughout the peloton giving insights and context to much of the cycling we see.

Bazil Brush July 9, 2014 at 12:17 am

The Real Peloton was my first introduction to cycling pods, followed by VCDL and most recently Velocast and The Cycling Podcast. I struggle sometimes during the TDF to keep up as they all seem to find a different angle and I try to listen to them all!

The Ned and Matt show feat. Chris, is indeed light entertainment and recycles much of the ITV TV highlights show (which is it’s major weakness). But Matt Rendell’s humour seriously tickles my funny bone and there are often interviews that didn’t hit the TV show. This will be my first show as the coffee is brewing an toast is on

Velocast is well worth the money (really comes In to its own in the classics, Dauphine and vuelta). I don’t always agree with John and Scott but that’s not a bad thing, however they are never dull and can often spot something I haven’t so it really enriches my Cycling. They offer a very proffesional package and will always have me laughing

The Cycling Podcast is the mature one, they phave access and find angles others don’t so will regularly turn up a scoop. Allows me imagine what it might be like to hang round In French cafés talking bikes. These guys have such a depth of knowledge and authority that I struggle to understand how this is free although clearly promotes their numerous written outlets

Dave D July 9, 2014 at 1:03 am

Agree Velocast is great and well worth the small fee.

Ian O'Driscoll July 9, 2014 at 1:10 am

The velocast podcast is amazing and it’s worth every penny. Those guys are passionate, funny and informed. They speak their minds without bowing to sponsorship or advertising. This week in cycling History with Cillian Kelly is also fantastic. The guy is a cycling history nerd and I love it.

Anonymous July 9, 2014 at 2:08 am

http://cyclocosm.com

Cosmo is HILARIOUS!!

Patrick Behan July 9, 2014 at 2:47 am

I am very big fan of cycling podcast…They have great coverage of the Tour with access to all the main protagonists . They are also amusing and easy to listen to …highly recommend it

I also subscribe to Velocast but not sure if this will continue as it doesn’t add anything to what i can see in twitter and gleam from watching the race…Also they tend to moan too much for my liking and at times Scott in particular seems rather scathing about fans opinions and appears to have a superior attitude…However John has some good insights and can be funny …???

rouleur July 9, 2014 at 3:37 am

yes these podcasts are great esp the cycling podcast. a little off topic is youtube channel subscriptions. GCN (Global Cycling Network) put up lots of videos with news, stage recce’s and tech stuff all the time. One of the hosts is an ex-pro (Daniel Lloyd) and I find this stuff great even though you cant listen to it on a commute.

Timojhen July 9, 2014 at 3:46 am

Nothing new, but just to weigh in (big consumer of podcasts) — in order of how new episodes get played:
1. Velocast – always insightful, bit more serious than…
2. SpeedMetalCycling – funny, great themes which thread between episodes. Less pure insight, but it’s not what they’re aiming for. Great intro/outro music IMHO
3. Cyclocosm – Cosmo is very talented, insightful and the videos slow the action where useful to make a point
4. Cxhairs.com – Bill is doing more, often with a cyclocross lean. Great quality / humor so far.

noel July 9, 2014 at 9:37 am

Daniel Friebe – please drop the Lionel Ritchie ‘joke’ that you’ve done to death… please…

Andy Logan July 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Similar to Patrick I used to listen to Velocast as the presenters turned me off the show. Too much moaning and a superior than thou attitude which also comes across of you follow them on Twitter.

Cycling Podcast with Daniel Friebe etc is excellent and thoroughly enjoyable.

Neil July 9, 2014 at 9:54 pm

I’ve been listening to all of the above for some time and been an avid subscriber to the Velocast, (I even have the t-shirt, (well, the jersey), but I sometimes get a bit fed up with the twitterati references. I’m not at the point of doing a Private Eye and canceling my subscription though, yet.

VCDL was my gateway drug to cycling pods, and can be highly recommended, as for the rest of the daily shows, I love them all for different reasons, different styles, and different insights…

DH July 9, 2014 at 10:38 pm

The Twitter presence and other things have already been mentioned, but I turned away from The Velocast mainly because of the production quality. The really obvious edits for John’s segments got too much and ruined the flow of the conversation for me.

I find that The Cycling Podcast gives me the information I need, while remaining entertaining.

John P July 10, 2014 at 4:45 am

I’ve not heard of the Velocast before so I thought I would go and have a look and maybe sign up. It’s the best part of 100 quid for the year.
I don’t mind paying for a service for a sport I like but I pay less than that for Baseball, you are more expensive than the Eurosport crowd pass and I’m bit staggered by it.

dave July 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm

The Cycling Podcast for depth. I like the ITV4 as a compliment to the TV coverage, think of it as the out-takes in a movie final credit sequence rather than a stand alone product, as the cast wind down.

Bespoked good but trying to cater for a wider audience. Went off Velocast before it went behind a paywall for previously discussed reasons- sniping at the competition and completely contradictory stances taken on different shows.

Fixty July 10, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Listen to both the Cycling Podcast and Velocast (0nly pod i pay for too, and for a fiver a month you can’t go too wrong).

The big difference is one is done by journalists while the other is pretty much made by fans (as much as the guys consider themselves pros, everyone sees them as fans).

Both are pretty enjoyable and serve different purposes, with the Cycling Podcast able to get more interviews with people directly involved. The flip side is that Velocast aren’t under the thumb of any sponsors so they can say what they want.

VCDL and Rouleur are good for a listen, but I need to unsubscribe from the Spokes Men – a bunch of guys who are fairly knowledgeable but think they’re experts/leading authorities on what ever they talk about and won’t accept they’re ever wrong – gets boring quickly.

Craig Alexander July 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Velocast make such a big thing of being “fearless” and “independent” but were happy to suck Eurosport’s corporate fat one last season. This is somehow forgotten in their cowardly barbs aimed at Lionel Birnie and co.

Contradiction and hypocrisy are now their thing, as well as frequent “I’m leaving Twitter” strops. Employing uber-troll Festinagirl (Suze Clemitson) as a “newscaster” was the final straw for me.

dave July 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm

The velocast daily freebie seems to consist purely of festinagirl reading out cyclingnews and Inrng articles! I did like their regular slots on women’s cycling to be fair.

Shaun July 10, 2014 at 8:29 pm

The Cycling Podcast is a great discovery.

The Velocast is proving too much every day for me, the repeated phrases:
– “what I would say”
-“genuinely”
-“I was talking to my chum”
-“ragged edge”
It’s Phil and Paul.

Anonymous July 10, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Cycling Podcast has upped its game considerably during the Tour, especially in production value, which was long overdue tbh. The reports from the race have varied in quality. Frankly yet another interview with yet another mechanic telling us how they prepare a bike for the cobbles is unimaginative and surplus. But Birnie’s audio diary ofn the misadventures of missing the race was amusing and diverting. The commentary on the stage is better than most and what you want from a podcast, a specialised, niche narrowcast with no need to dumb down for a mainstream audience.
It should give the Velocast boys pause for thought. Their big pitch to go behind a paywall was to provide on the ground coverage with the revenue it generated. That hasn’t happened and getting the subscriber pound/dollar/rouble for watching TV, then talking about it is nice work if you can get it.

Anonymous July 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Veloca$t’s latest wheeze appears to be “watch the race with us” next season. They’ll need a big sofa and telly so people can join them in their front room. :-)

Patrick Behan July 21, 2014 at 11:19 am

Inner ring have deleted comments on here that were negative about the velocast and positive about cycling podcast..I remember reading the comments earlier and the slant was so different
..now all read as if velocast is the business and cycling podcast is not that much…..way to go …editing to support your cronies …how despicable …will never read another article or comment on here again …

Andrew July 21, 2014 at 11:51 am

Patrick, are you aware that a whole block of comments were lost due to a server fault last week? Look at other older articles on the site and you’ll see. That may account for the difference.

The Inner Ring July 21, 2014 at 11:54 am

Some comments were lost but I don’t recall any from here going missing, it related to a short period of time and this topic had gone quiet by then.

The Inner Ring July 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

Eh? I haven’t deleted or edited anything. If you could point out an example or two it’d help to know what you’re on about.

Some readers will subscribe to the comments by email using the function – if anyone has the list and wants to check for any edits or deletions, please go ahead.

Timojhen July 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Would agree that nothing appears to be deleted – I commented less than a day after the thread started and it’s still there. Agree that the thread likely died down as there wasn’t anything new to discuss.

FWIW, thanks for the recommendations, have picked up a couple of new listens that I’m really enjoying.

Back to your pre-scheduled rest day now. :-)

The Inner Ring July 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Thanks, the loss of a reader who struggled to read is not the greatest loss but good to know there’s no tech problem ;-)

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