The Perfect Race

It’s been a great season so far with plenty of lively races supplying action, sport and drama. But what makes the perfect race for viewers? There seem to be several ingredients ranging from a tight contest to a satisfactory winner.

Obvious highlights of 2015 include the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with Ian Stannard’s overwinning against Etixx-Quickstep, the storm-ravaged Gent-Wevelgem, the Mortirolo stage of the Giro, Vincenzo Nibali’s raid to Villard de Lans in the Critérium du Dauphiné or Chris Froome and Tejay van Garderen’s mano a mano struggle in the same race. These and other races often have the following:

  • Suspense: the result is rarely a forgone conclusion, take the Dauphiné where the overall result came down to the last moments of the last climb on the last stage, it keeps you watching to the end
  • Direct Competition: take the same Dauphiné finish which gave us two riders fighting for the same goal in direct competition, a superior drama compared to a decisive time trial as seen in the recent Tour de Suisse
  • Duration: there are memorable sprint finishes but ideally a gripping race should last for hours, take this year’s Gent-Wevelgem where Belgian TV ensures hours of coverage and the action was happening before the cameras were turned on
  • Peripeteia: a Greek word for reversal of fortune and a dramatic technique exploited by storytellers for millennia. Rather than heading to an inevitable result a surprise or two can enliven the race. It’s here that Stannard’s early season win stands out for the way many assumed it was simply a question of which Etixx-Quickstep rider would win
  • Heroes and villains: the old good vs. bad story. Take the Mortirolo stage where Astana appeared to accelerate once Alberto Contador had stopped for a wheel change. This saw Contador on a mission to get back to the front of the race where he duly caught and dropped Fabio Aru. Or we can view Ian Stannard as the underdog in the Omloop. Of course there’s the tale of clean riders vs dirty dopers too

We revel in past exploits such as Fausto Coppi leading stopping for a coffee in Milan-Sanremo or Eddy Merckx romping across the Pyrenees in his Luchon-Mourenx masterpiece to win the stage solo eight minutes ahead of the next rider.

The Tom Boonen show in 2012

But these solo rides don’t make great TV today. We’ve seen Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen in Paris Roubaix in 2010 and 2012 respectively. Storming rides that left no doubt who was the best and the boldest yet viewers were watching a fait accompli for an hour. A perfect ride but not the perfect viewing experience?

Drama can take many forms. Gent-Wevelgem is normally a more tame spring classic with a long run-in to the finish after the bergs. This year was exceptional with the wild weather. There are limits for viewers sat comfortably at home though while riders endure danger, to triumph against adversity should not mean Wacky Races style entertainment. Still a crash can be part of the drama, especially if a rider gets up and gets back.

Last year’s Tour de France showed why crashes can ruin the perfect race. Staying upright is part of the game but we were robbed of rivals to Vincenzo Nibali. Once he’d won on the Planche des Belle Filles the mountain stages were a series of repeat episodes.

The Perfect Winner
As well as the circumstances of how the race unfolds – the script if you like – there needs to be a hero. Every race has to have a winner but some results can be more triumphant than others. The manner of the win matters, being the strongest counts but there’s often more. Nairo Quintana’s grip on the maglia rosa in the 2014 Giro had an air of polemica until he stormed the Monte Grappa mountain TT to prove he was the best rather than just an opportunist who sneaked away over the Stelvio.

“This 50th Tour de France didn’t just deliver satisfaction of an athletic and aesthetic order, it finally brought us a moral comfort.”
– Antonine Blondin, L’Equipe, 15 July 1963

Blondin is describing Jacques Anquetil’s win in the 50th Tour de France after a close battle with Federico Bahamontes where the struggle helped define Anquetil’s win and bring him closer the French public. Blondin describes Anquetil as majestic, a prince but also one who eventually embraced his people. It’s one thing to win, but winning with public benediction is greater.Adam HansenWhen a lesser name wins is it a breakthrough or a less satisfying result from a second class rider who found themselves in a first class breakaway. There’s nuance here because the triumph of a lesser rider can be heroic too, think of Adam Hansen winning a stage of the Vuelta last year or a wildcard team rider escaping the clutches of wealthy World Tour teams. A triumph for an unrepentant ex-doper can be a let down just as a win for someone suspicious leaves many unsatisfied.

Sep Vanmarcke

The Course
You’d think scenery helps. Think of the great Strade Bianche race or the scenic mountain passes. Yet Paris-Roubaix crosses some of the grimmest landscapes going yet provides for plenty of drama. Normally the Poggio is a small road bounded by ramshackle hothouses for 364 day of the year. The road matters but the backdrop less so when the racing is good. A flat course suggests a boring race but if the wind is blowing things liven up.

A local touch helps. Even for foreigners a Flemish classic finish with a local hero seems more authentic and gets the crowds going even more, the same when a Frenchman is doing well in the Tour de France. The jingoistic side can be off-putting and a rider’s nationality doesn’t make the sporting competition any better but it broadens the appeal of the race to a wider audience.

The crowd is an ingredient of the perfect race, a sea of humanity parting like a biblical scene is special and arguably winning a stage of the Tour de France in Yorkshire last July was just that bit better than a less well-attended sprint stage in France. Meanwhile Tour of Qatar can have intriguing sprints but they happen among a handful of lost immigrant construction workers on their day off. A larger crowd boosts the prestige.

On top of this you can add intrigue and politics. Cycling is a sophisticated sport, it can take a while to grasp how the yellow jersey is awarded but there’s all the hidden things such as which rider is moving to another team, which teams and riders have formed a temporary alliance. Gauging a performance against these hidden aspects can further add or detract to the day’s sport.

Finally there’s always personal preferences. I’ve tried to think of the more universal features rather than your rider, team or nationality or whether you’ve got a pot of money riding on one rider or another.

This season seems to have had plenty of “wow” races already with surprise results and action. You know it when you see it but the above lists some of the factors required. It’s a moveable feast and today’s definition of a great race is defined by television where a relative battle between riders makes for superior entertainment over the absolute performance of a champion going solo for the win with an hour to go. Yet there’s the paradox of wanting uncertainty and suspense yet craving the right winner and an indisputable hierarchy.

Perhaps we’d be better off watching a TV box set where professional script writers employ every trick in the book to craft suspense? Of course that’s artifice and fiction whereas you can stand by the roads of France this July or turn on your TV and see the drama happening live and unscripted.

67 thoughts on “The Perfect Race”

  1. Super post, INRNG (though I’d contend that Sunday’s TdS TT was gripping and suspenseful between Spillak and Thomas 🙂

    Thanks for reminding me what I love about bike races

  2. There surely are considerations concerning the security, but a radio ban would spice things up. “Modern cycling” is too often scripted from the DS car. Races without radios are by fare more interesting, showing challenging choices riders have too take on their own, in a split second and without DS backup.

    • its in the interest of teams to make races “more predictable” so its easier to calculate investment and return. you cannot really blame them. just their arguments have to be seen also in this light.

    • This claim (“Races without radios are by fare more interesting”) is made so regularly and with such conviction, but with scant evidence or data to back it up. I suspect that’s because the only evidence is a gut feeling. The fact of the matter is that in any race, radios or not, there is a lot of “bike riding” going on – that’s boring whichever way you slice it.

      As the article recounts, a lot of exciting racing has happened in WT races with radios….that says to me at least that radios are not a strong corollary factor in deciding race excitement. One thing that helps – but that ‘traditionalists’ and fans of attrition don’t like – is short, sharp stages where there is no time for a “group ride” before the finale, and it is possible to actually race wire-to-wire.

      • It is certainly a different debate, but I believe two things must be underlined in connection with the “perfect race” concept:
        1) One is the disingenuous inversion of the burden of proof operated by the advocates of race radios and other technical innovations. They often say that it is the opponents who have to prove that the innovations harm the quality of the races. Well, no… Cycling races used to be great without the innovations (that is, it does not need them), and it is up to the innovators to prove that their innovations affect positively the quality of races. If the effect is neutral, negative, or difficult to measure: ban. For the sake of caution about changing what does not necessarily need change.
        2) Those who defend race radios (especially riders and DS) take every oportunity to underline that good races still happen with them. But they are also the ones saying “modern cycling is different”, and that we should accept poor, controlled racing as a sign of the times As long as the second proposition is still around, the first one has no credibility.


        Icon magazine had an issue on middle east labour problems. According to it, starchitects, such as Zaha Hadid, Lord Foster, Frank Gehry etc., finally start to do some of their homeworks (or finally budged to media pressure after initially declaring that these issues are not their responsibility) and insisted on workers be treated nicely on projects they are involved in. Condition is still terrible and some of the efforts (including the construction of a worker’s village with sports/leisure facilities and a library) are probably no more than face lifting, things are at least moving in the right direction.

        On the other hand, there are usually an European expat cycling fans or two presenting, occupying the best spot possible. Must be an experience.

  3. Another good article looking from an unusual angle. Part of the interest of the Tours to me is that there is a race nearly every day and then the overall race within that. Let there also be the place for the crescendo of the bunch sprint. I know the timeframe of the main action is more compact and that they won’t make the ‘Top 5 races’ but it contrasts nicely with the attrition of a long climb.

      • You should read the article on BBC Sport today from an interview with Mark Cavendish about the dark arts involved in sprint finishes. Excellent. Taken from a radio programme later this evening I understand. BBC are normally rubbish for cycling but this was unusually very good.

        • In the programme, amongst other things and linked to the discussion above, he mentions how race radio is used to know who is in a break and whether it should be allowed to go rather than having to ID each rider that goes as they go.

          • “(…) whether it should be allowed to go rather than having to ID each rider that goes as they go.”
            Yes indeed! When you ride at the end of the bunch there’s a higher risk not seeing brake aways – unless your DS-radio tells you to relax.
            With race radios the rider’s point of view has become quite similar to the audience’s point of view behind the TV at home (or the DS screen in the team car, or from the helicopter).

  4. I think this piece neatly illustrates how perception of what makes a great race is shaped by the dominant media used to report them.

    In the past, many of the exploits that are now regarded as “heroic” or ingrained in the pysche of the sport depended on the skill of contemporary journalists, or else a single photograph to bring them to life. Coppi’s ride at Milan San Remo in 1946 lives because of superb writing after the event, not because of the visual spectacle of a man essentially riding a 150km solo time trial over four hours. Likewise the Anquetil Dauphine-Baordeaux Paris double, or Charly Gaul’s epic ride in the rain of the Chartreuse live on, but in the written word rather than film. Indeed, with many early races, very few if any can even have seen much more than selected moments in the race because of the difficulty in following the action: in such reports, it is the fleeting moments of clarity as a group passes through a small town or over a mountain pass, punctuated by long sections of mystery away from most eyes that, arguably, generate the drama – or myth, romance, legend if you prefer. Even in recent times that sometimes applies: would Stephen Roche’s Tour de France comeback at La Plagne have had such drama had the TV motorbikes been shadowing him and Delgado all the way, instantly relaying the gap back to TV viewers?

    Sometimes it is a photo that defines the event: Bartali and Coppi sharing a bottle, or Anquetil and Poulidor shoulder to shoulder on the Puy de Dome, were fleeting moments which have come to be symbolic of an entire relationship. Film of such events by contrast almost has a “blink and you’ll miss it” quality.

    Whereas today, film forms the dominant imagery against which greatness is judged: Stannard’s win in the omloop was great because of the suspense over time, not a single instant. The same race without film may have been marked as just a footnote, since it would be a rare journalist who could make ten minutes of racing sing with drama to match the way those ten minutes unfolded live.

    • Tempted to copy-paste that into the piece, it all makes sense to me. As you say the Roche La Plagne moment happened in its moment but imagine a peloton with geo-location, people would know on Twitter where Roche was before he appeared in sight of the finish line cameras.

      • It can go both ways, think of Cadel Evans painstakingly clawing back the gap to Andy Schleck on the Galibier in 2011, towing the group and never asking for help. Gripping TV and a classic TDF moment. Similarly, a camera following Roche being first dropped and then rallying would probably have been just as thrilling unfolding before the viewer and still a heroic ride talked about decades later. In other words while I agree with Tom J’s overall point, I don’t think the presence or absence of modern media technology is the deciding factor.

        • Not sure I agree that Roche’s comeback would have been so thrilling with better (or more information-rich) coverage. “Rider dropped in mountains but then recovers and comes back” is a common scenario: Froome did it agains Van Garderen in this year’s Dauphine. But it is the mystery of how that unfolded that makes the exploit memorable – I doubt people will still be talking about Froome’s comeback in thirty years’ time. Indeed, as Inrng points out, the suspense of this year’s Dauphine was on the final stage where Froome definitively won it, not the earlier one where he limited his losses agains Van Garderen.

          To which, in Roche’s case and for English-speaking viewers at least, you can’t strip away the fog, the grainy images, the breathless Phil Liggett commentary from the event. In other words, the latter-day perception of an exploit and the way it was reported in the moment are inextricably linked.

          Though I guess taken to absurdities, GPS tracking might have resolved once and for all what happened in the Tour de France in 1904!

          • Well I’m sure you’ll agree that the stakes, and therefore media interest, are very much higher at the TDF than a race like the Dauphine, hence why Roche’s ride will be remembered long after Froome vanquishing TVG is forgotten. None the less though, you raise a fascinating point, one that ties into broader investigation about social memory.

            To cite but one example of this, why do a lot of people think Ronald Reagan “won” the Cold War? Because he made a quip in the middle of an otherwise unremarkable speech about airline deregulation, hardly the stuff history is wrought from one would be correct in thinking. However while droning through his prepared remarks, Reagan suddenly requested, “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”. This throwaway line was never a “defining moment of the Cold War”, in fact the president’s aides urged him to leave it out. Here is a more typical passage from the speech in question: “And I invite Mr. Gorbachev: Let us work to bring the Eastern and Western parts of the city closer together, so that all the inhabitants of all Berlin can enjoy the benefits that come with life in one of the great cities of the world. To open Berlin still further to all Europe, East and West, let us expand the vital air access to this city, finding ways of making commercial air service to Berlin more convenient, more comfortable, and more economical. We look to the day when West Berlin can become one of the chief aviation hubs in all central Europe.” This stirring call to arms rated a small mention on page 3 of the next day’s New York Times and that would have been the end of the matter had Reagan’s legion of hagiographers not spent years combing through all the great man’s utterances, picked out one sound byte, played it out of context and then oversold the outcome ceaselessly for 2 decades until the tale had seeped into the America national consciousness.

            So yeah, that’s kind of a roundabout way of saying that the way remember pro cycling races is somewhat arbitrary and subject to outside forces, the very point you made far more concisely and relevantly above. Apologies to INRNG for the off-topic rambling.

      • Excellent article and great responses here.
        I agree about the loss of mystique perhaps that film can bring.
        But where modern technology can perhaps add to the spectacle could be the use of on-board bike cameras.
        From the glimpses I’ve had of them so far, they could really open up a whole new visualisation that adds to the drama.
        It would need very skilful tv producers to interweave their use in the viewer’s real-time experience but it would give another dimension to add to the enjoyment of ‘the perfect race’.

    • A great point beautifully made, Tom, and a wonderful topic from INRNG that has me revisiting some favorite moments of the year.

      I found myself re-watching (many times) the exact moment where Degenkolb materializes behind De Backer near the end of Roubaix to hear the excited surprise of Rob Hatch. The chaos of the race suddenly crystallized into a clear statement of intent from Degenkolb, and his eventual success created a big emotional pay-off for me.

  5. I thought about the perception of events and how much it all depends on the person describing/bringing the events to us, when I heard on the same day these two things about the Contador vs Quintana-stage last week: “Quintana is the loser of that stage, because he couldn’t follow Contador and this will have consequences on the Tour” and, from another person, “Quintana is the winner of that stage because he made Contador take immense risks just to gain a few seconds”. Having not seen that stage I must believe one of these two opinions (or a third, fourth etc.). And having not seen it, I imagine an extraordinaire, tense fight, where not only the stage, but also the Tour and everything else was on the line. I imagine something definite and exciting. Sometimes not watching it is much more exciting than watching it.

        • Had to google”fleets in being”, but once again I learned something from the Inrng community on the only still polite cycling forum. Lets keep it that way.

    • It seemed like neither Contador or Quintana wanted to dig too deep, and it looked almost like a truce of “let’s not find out now” who is the best.
      But that’s part of what makes Contador a rider I will miss when he retires: He wants to win, and if things don’t go his way he will invent something to turn the table. In this case he won half a second in each turn – enough to take a double win.
      Yes, pile on the steak-talk now. But seriously, who else can turn a grand tour upside down like him?
      It is hard to see him match the others in the high mountains after the Giro, but that makes it even better.

  6. 1) I always loved Wacky Races (or “Les Fous du Volant”, as we knew them over here), and so does my son. So less kidding here. 🙂
    2) I love the way commentators on this blog take the liberty to go into lengthy and thoughtful tirades. Which, alone, says a great deal about our sport being “food for writing and reading”.
    3) It is really being a very good year. I would also add Andalucia, Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, E3, Tro-Bro Léon, Dunkerque, Pais Vasco, Route du Sud, and, yes, the TTs in the Tours of Romandie and Suisse, as providers of great cycling value.
    4) We cannot underline enough how good the Giro was, and what it was that made it so good. The way the course was traced should set a standard.
    5) If we had seen Roche come back on Delgado atop La Plagne in 87, we would not only have lost a big surprise, we would have seen if Roche did indeed cling to a car and therefore deserved the 10-second penalty he got, or not, or deserved even more.
    6) A good race means BOTH good TV viewing and good story-telling afterwards. “Péripétie” is a great concept, a great find.
    7) But let’s not forget that a race is a story in itself, but also a chapter of a longer story. Merckx’s ride to Mourenx might have been boring to watch on TV. But it contributes to the whole story of the Merckx years more than other, perhaps more thrilling, but less meaningful, of his victories.
    8) All in all, the whole subject makes, I think, Bernard Hinault the epitome of the enjoyable cyclist. The one who was often almost beaten, but always finding the extra guts to come back.

  7. I agree with just about all the points brought up on what makes a great race but would like to bring up this other factor that impact me.
    Style- As much as it was interesting to see an unknown 21 year old French rider battle it out with 2 of the best climbers in the world, I can help but feel that the way he seemed to be trying to stuff a sleeping bag into its case in the Route du Sud removed some of the appeal. Compare him to Quintana who is majestic when climbing full stop and Contador’s ‘dancing on the pedals’ style and it’s a little less appealing.

    • Style and the more hard to define panache matter. I was thinking I used have used the p-word above too.

      By the way that was Pierre Latour of Ag2r, the next iteration of Romain Bardet. He was trying so hard and even reaching for a 32T sprocket at times which only shows how Contador and Quintana managed to level the slope for on TV.

  8. What’s wrong with the scenery of Paris-Roubaix? The mud-and-dung-coated cobbled farm roads scream cycling tradition. It’s more than postcard views — the ambience of Paris-Roubaix is a critical component of its attraction.

    For me to watch any race, the scenery is a big part of the value. The Tour of Switzerland, the Giro, the Tour de France, all provide for their own unique mountain views which are worth admiring on their own, the race itself almost bonus.

    Compare and contrast: the Tour of Qatar, Dubai, and to a lesser extent California. California has some truly fantastic roads and scenery, but the multi-lane boulevards which are all too common scream pedestrian-unfriendly ugliness which I at least find repulsive. I’d much rather watch the riders navigating rural Swiss roads.

    I really think scenery (environment) is a first-tier consideration in whether races are worth watching. Even computer simulations like TacX, Zwift, and PCM invest a lot in it.

    • Yes to the tradition but if it’s appealing for a day’s racing the rest of the year it’s not a great place to ride, flat, wet, windy and a tough area with unemployment, real perhaps but not the stuff of postcards and tourist destinations.

    • California has some truly fantastic roads and scenery, but the multi-lane boulevards which are all too common scream pedestrian-unfriendly ugliness which I at least find repulsive.

      California is like that though. Most of what is now “urban” was an exurb with muli-lane boulevards at some point.

      Without a doubt, there are some epic roads along I395 from Bishop to as far North as Lake Shasta, but, again, the time of year the race is on the schedule exclude most of them. The logistics without the UCI’s long list of requirements makes including the rural locations very difficult, which, is why Lake Tahoe is about as good as it will ever get.

      The race’s owner, Phil Anshutz, seems to be not losing so much money he’s discouraged from financing it.

  9. In Australia, excitement for me is when my muted SBS live-stream is perfectly synchronised with the commentary on a eurosport pirate stream.

  10. Djconnel, agree with you about the tour of Cali. Not sure why the hundreds of gorgeous narrow mountain roads around the Bay Area alone are rarely used. I wish a daring, devil-may-care group like RCS would plan the route for us.

    I re watch all the Strade Bianche because the scenery resonates with my ideal rides.

  11. Tour of California really deserves a mention here. Even though the greatest stars were absent and the first couple of stages were not that action-packed, the fight for overall that came to 3 seconds and a few millimetres was an epic battle. Since I’m a great fan of Sagan – who would even have thought he could play a role in the classification? – I definitely see this race as one of the greatest I have ever seen.

  12. INRNG and the “intelligent cycling fans” strike again. Great piece, great comments.
    It’s been a good season so far, let’s hope the Tour follows suit.

  13. Yes, strong performances all around and exciting racing so far. My wish list for the remainder of the season: I hope Kittel recovers his fine form of last year in time for the Tour so we can have a proper Kittel-Cavendish showdown. I hope Cancellera rediscovers his form, and his “raison d’etre” of racing before he retires–after all, he is Spartacus. I would love to see Contador win the Tour, and then take on the Vuelta, and win–just to see Tinkov’s reaction to it all. Oh, and last but not least, I hope Froome will stay upright on the cobbles at this year’s Tour.

  14. For me an important part of it is feeling impressed with what I have seen. One of the reasons Gent-Wevelgem this year was so good was because I was just so impressed that the 4 at the end were able to keep going by that stage! I was thinking at first that the scenery shouldn’t make any difference but watching Stybar and van Avarmaet storm up the hill into Siena in Strade Bianche was a highlight this year, as we’re the early stages of the Giro in Liguria. History also plays a part for me, some race bought by some crack pot government (Qatar/Azerbaijan/Turkey) to increase the prestige of their country is never going to interest me.

    Grand Tour wise, it’s rare for them not to be a foregone conclusion by the time the last week and the ‘queen’ stages come around. Just to see them go down to the wire is good enough because it’s so uncommon. I’d love to see one decided by an attack in one of the final stages that took minutes off the leader.

  15. Stage 5 Tour de France 2014 epitomises for me the perfect race, surprises, intreague, entertainment weather – perfect! It helped that I was watching this all day in a French bar on edge of Lake Annecy though!

    Sep Vanmarckes struggle to bridge back over in Flanders this year – was the best bit of TV coverage for years – my legs were aching just sitting on the sofa!

  16. Just noticed in the first picture above that the Lotto Jumbo rider (is that Wilco Kelderman?) has such extraordinarily large shoulders that you could probably fit another 2 or 3 sponsors onto his shoulder patch. That alone should be worth an additional $20~30K per year!

    • It is him and I did label him the coathanger in a stage preview and amusingly there are a few references in Dutch to “De Kleerhanger”. He must be a great rider to follow with those shoulders providing a good slipstream.

  17. I agree with posts about stage 5 of the TdF 2014 although I saw it from the roadside underneath the water towers at Hornaing.
    There are two types of reporting neeeded in the written word now, I feel. The simply race reporting on the day or the next, indicating the who, where and when, and the more considered analysis of the what, how and why during the following weeks. Of course the former reporting has to be considered by the writers of the latter reportage.
    In support of each type of report the picture selected to supplement the writing has to have a different quality, although some pictures will feature on both.
    I get the first type of report via the web but would look to weekly and monthly magazines to inform my awareness, with occasional nods to “How the race was won” featured here.
    No doubt others have a different view.

  18. Maybe we should add “feeling at home” to the list of things that a good race should give you. You know, for the long term fans, who want to see again and again Greg van Avermaet finishing 2nd. So they get the warm feeling of belonging to the close knit group of fans who know that “this is how it’s supposed to be here”.

  19. How about when Thibaut Pinot won his TDF stage in 2012 with Marc Madiot yelling at him and hugging his fellow grey-haired colleague with delight!

  20. A great race needs an INRG preview and then a “when the race was won” article as well so we can all talk about the day before and the day after.

  21. Have to say I keep re-watching Ian Stannard’s win at Omloop. Am I allowed to recommend Cosmo’s ‘How the Race Was Won (Lost)” ? Excellent and amusing to boot.
    Also loved Transport Vlaanderen’s fit-up job on the World Champion early on in the year at the Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

      • ‘The Recon Ride’ doesn’t quite capture his humour as well I find, and comes across as a bit earnest, particularly in comparison to the jocular air that Richard Moore infuses into the Cycling Podcast that makes it so easy on the ear. I can’t for the life of me see why some network or other hasn’t hired Cosmo for an evening highlights after show – I think that would get a big following… come on Eurosport! (or even ASO/RCS for a youtube show to promote your product..)

      • Many thanks for that.
        And it should have read “Topsport” not Transport of course, I was just planning a rail trip before I posted !
        Nevertheless, the two Topsport boys showed the three Etixx riders how it should have been done. Edward Theuns deserved a lot of credit for hanging back to cover Kwiatowski in that race ; it cost him a certain otherwise win but the team ended up with a one-two.

  22. I would just mention my favorite, which had all the elements of the perfect race – 1989 World Championship Road Race. Remembering that race continues to inspire me on many, many rides.

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