Do you speak English?

Having seen the piece by Joe Lindsey about the less than impressive coverage of cycle sport in the US, I responded saying it wasn’t all that great in France, that whilst it might be the land of the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix, the sports reporting isn’t always that good.

In response I had a few messages from French fans saying they often follow a lot of English-speaking media for their news, with one sayingif you’re a french cycling fan who can’t read english you get really poor information“. Then today I was reading French website which tells of “the misery of the sports press“, pointing out how most newspapers hardly cover sport, yet alone cycling. Slate’s argument is that if you want sports news buy the excellent L’Equipe.

The French media does have sports radio and plenty of coverage on TV. But within this, there is not much cycling. It’s only in July that things go crazy. Cycling fans in France have some good internet sites like cyclismactu and velochrono and there are others. But in general, the keen cycling fan has to cast around the internet for their cycling news. I tend to scan the news from Italy, Spain, Belgium and Holland but there’s a huge amount available in English. A lot of the English news is based on foreign language stories, saving the English-speaker from picking over so many websites. It works the other way too of course.

Larousse dictionary
Required reading

Coverage of cycle sport is increasingly led by the what the French call “anglo-saxon” media. Gone are the days when a fan in Australia, America or Britain lost out to Europeans. English-speaking fans have never had it so good.

Thanks to the internet it’s possible to stay fully informed to the point where many fans in Europe head for British and American websites for their news, albeit the specialist online sites. Indeed for many Europe, English is fast becoming a requirement to keep up with all the news.

10 thoughts on “Do you speak English?”

  1. So why am I learning French? After this weekend, thinking Flemish may have been a better option. Although I watched KBK in French (surprised how much I understood), seemed almost sacrilegious not watching it in Flemish. And thanks for the heads up on other language sites – always good to round out the points of view.

  2. Jennifer: it’s always good to read L’Equipe. Plus there’s a lot of cycling literature in French, from Louis Nucéra to Paul Fournel or Antonine Blondin.

    xyxax: yes, it often has a suspicious or sneering tone.

  3. What I wanted to ask is: who are your (inrng, Cycling Tips, Pave, etc) francophone counterparts? The sites you link to are “newsy” like Pez or VeloNews, which are useful, but do not have the same “insightful” character as the aforementioned dedicated sites.
    Thanks for your writing by the way.

  4. xyxax: nice to be included in such company, thanks! As for the francophone sites, this is a quick answer but one suggestion is that often cultural trends take longer to reach France, whether it is music or adult obesity, to take two random examples. In cycling we had the Bouygues Télécom team but none of its riders used Twitter (, yet you would think it would be written in their employment contract to use Bouygues phones, to show off and get free publicity… but no! So it seems twitter and the internet can be behind in France; I see the websites of French teams, whether pro or amateur and they often look like they belong in the 1990s.

    But before I upset any more French readers, the French are avid bloggers, there are more blogs in France per capita than anywhere else I think and trends on the internet cross the Atlantic very quickly. See where Thomas gets some excellent info on race routes. If you are reading and French… why not start something?

    All too much for a comment, maybe I’ll write something more one day…

  5. like your french friend said to you “if you’re a french cycling fan who can’t read english you get really poor information ” i think the chance of french cycling press is most french cycling fans cant read english.Im french so excuse me for bad language .
    I think there is some explanations to understand the situation which is really good demonstrated by the interwiew of Gilles Le Roc’h by Patrick Chassé

    Gilles Le Roc’h explained that french journalists had invent all sport competitions .Gilles le Roc’h president of A.I.JC. explain that what the cycling fans are interested by is only “who as won ” and not interested by the conflict of uci versus aso or aigp.He said ” fans want to read what they want to know , they dont want to read what they dont want to hear “.really poor but times have changed.
    So i think the inner ring is the exact reverse of this definition.
    Of course i think like the inner ring the podcast radio carrement velo is really great and i hope hear Patrick Chassé in a few time.

    thanks to the inner ring to ;Great job

  6. It is not that much better here in the states. There is only one tv station to carry cycling, and then we get bump for hocky or snot blowing. The only place to find any new are on web sites such as yours. Keep up the good work.

  7. Lloyd,

    well there are a lucky few of us who get Universal Sports. We get a bunch of cyclocross races in the winter (albeit at 1:00 AM), Almost 24 – 7 coverage of the Giro and Vuelta (literally – it is about all they play ALL day), the Spring classics not covered by Versus).

    They even had a Vuelta hour long preview show.

    Call you cable provider and harass them to get Universal.

    Note: Since Comcast acquired NBC/Universal last month, there is some question as to how committed the new corporate parent is going to be to a station which I even wonder how it makes money (aside from trying to maintain interest in Olympic sports between the 2 year lulls). Comcast could very well get rid of it.

  8. Thanks for the information on french websites.

    As a french-speaking canadian, I was actually looking for french websites with the thought that they might be good since France is all about cycling.

    I look at L’Équipe for time to time but rely mostly on american and british websites.

    I’ll have a look at those french websites that you mentionned.

    And btw, your website is really interesting!

  9. Yves: merci. Le Roc’h makes some interesting points and it’s true for the English-speaking world too. For example one Australian journalist confided that a mention of Lance Armstrong and the federal investigation will keep readers away from his website.

    Lloyd: thanks.

    Colorado Goat: if not Universal or Versus, there are the pirate streams.

    cycliste anonyme: thanks too.

Comments are closed.