The Podcast Explosion

This Tour always means more cycling coverage and there are only so many hours a day you can watch the Tour de France and read about it online. For the rest there’s a podcast.

This year brings an explosion in the number of podcasts to download, here are some thoughts and links to some of them.

Was it Serial? The American podcast series exploring a murder conviction has apparently led to renewed interest in the format and apparently the worldrate rate of daily downloads has soared. Many cycling media outlets offer dedicated Tour podcasts and there are new ones for 2015 offering you a way to get your cycling news and analysis via your ears.

The Cycling Podcast wears the maillot jaune right now. The July editions open with a Django Reinhardt-style theme, better than the Coldplay-style generic for the rest of the year. It’s done by Lionel Birnie, Daniel Friebe and Richard Moore. Last year they managed a daily show, now they’re doing two shows: a morning show called “Kilometre 0” with features and an evening discussion that covers the day’s events. This morning’s KM0 was a great look at the role of a domestique complete with a superb anecdote about Matt White, the Giro and a box of ice cream. The evening shows feature discussion, analysis and interviews. Someone once said the secret to sports broadcasting is to be relaxed, after all it’s entertainment and the trio keep things informal but they’re pro journalists and cover a lot of ground and have good access. They’re storytellers too and go after a range of interests and despite being British it’s not Sky-centric, there’s plenty on all teams. They also have a paywall where for £5 (€7 / $7.50) you get some extra in-depth shows and it would be worth scaling the paywall if they put a zero on the end.

cyclingnewspodcast revives its podcast and there’s a daily mix of interviews and analysis. Their website can be confusing at times, for example right now there’s a piece on “shoe trends in the peloton” and Nacer Bouhanni’s crash gets a whole page, largely copied and pasted from the Tour de France website. It means the thoughtful analysis is a touch harder to find but it’s here that the podcast can save the day Having just caught episode five there’s a good discussion on the winners and losers over the pavé stage or rather the how and why it provided a stalemate from their experienced staff and joined by the thoughtful Edward Pickering.

British TV station ITV does a daily podcast with Chris Boardman, Matt Rendell and Ned Boulting going over the day’s racing. There’s analysis and post-race interviews from the mixed-zone at the finish line feature so you get to hear the riders thoughts on the finish line, a useful 10-20 minute audio if you’ve missed the day’s racing on TV but if you’re British and watched the TV already then you’ll have heard most of this and it feels like it’s rushed on after the TV work, to be expected given the relative importance of live TV vs. the podcast market.

Pro podcasters the Velocast have two daily shows with their evening show offering analysis of the stage and preview of what’s coming behind the paywall and a free daily interview that has a chat with someone in the race. They’re not on the race though so often what they see on TV is what you saw too as opposed to the talk behind the team buses but it’s all in a relaxed, easy tone.

While most of the above concentrated on what has happened Velohuman and Cosmo Catalano do a shared podcast called the Recon Ride with the aim of previewing the World Tour races. It’s once a week in the Tour and they’ll be analysing where the runners and riders are and where they might be on their way to Paris. It’s good listening all year round if you want an audio preview.

New for 2015 is the Cyclingtips podcast. It’s not daily but every few days. The opening episode promised a look at how it is to report on the race and the second opened with anecdotes about difficulties for their guys trying to find something to eat in the evening and a broken laptop 2011. It’s good for background and can explain the logistics and difficulties of covering the race but the risk is a tale of First World problems. Fortunately there’s more analysis and talk about the race with Dave Everett providing some fun, for example quizzing Brian Cookson on the UCI’s stance on beards in the peloton.

Continuing the Australian accent Cycling Central has a good weekly discussion all year and they’re doing some Tour de France extras. It’s more Aussie-centric of course but covers the whole race and the first edition included some explainers on French cycling jargon like the almost impossible to explain en chasse patate or potato hunting.


En Français
For those not needing such translation and explainers, a couple of pointers for French audio as there are regular demands on how to follow the race from people on holiday for the Tour. You can listen live on France Info, Europe 1, RTL and RMC Info and all offer extra comment, info and analysis.

As for podcasts you’ll get a different language but also a different take, obviously with plenty of Pinot, Bardet and Barguil but there’s plenty on the overall battle too.

French website VeloPro does a daily discussion that’s off to a very good start. The Cycling Podcast regulars will recognise La Gazzetta Dello Sport’s Ciro Sconomiglio; instead of “I must confess” it’s “Je dois dire“. It’s a good solid discussion of the day’s stage from experienced journalists, a roundtable talk rather than post-race interviews but it’s tight conversation with a lot of pertinent points. The only problem is that it’s not a podcast, you can’t actually download it like other podcast as the audio is uploaded to YouTube but you can run the video through a YouTube to mp3 converter. It’s worth it. It’s now on SoundCloud if you want the download.

Radio station RMC put all their Tour audio out on a feed. 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 still got an eye for detail although the station’s talk and sports format means lively debate gets ahead of analysis sometime. Guimard is joined by pundits Luc Leblanc and Thierry Bourguignon and in the debates it’s matey banter as Le Druide talking to Lucho and Bourgui. If you’re off the betting kind then Leblanc’s stage tips are perfect if you want to get a suntan as there’s no faster way to lose your shirt.

The irony is if you’re cycling in France and listen at the same time you now risk trouble as a new law has just banned riding with headphones.

The idea has been to present a few options if you want to some audio to go. Much like music everyone is bound to have their own tastes so take the above as suggestions rather than obligations. If it’s all new to you, then the tip is to try The Cycling Podcast first. If you have other suggestions please share in comments below and if anyone knows of German cycling podcast leave a comment too.

48 thoughts on “The Podcast Explosion”

  1. Speed Metal Cycling deserves a mention for being the least professional, least knowledgeable, but funniest and most engaging podcast. Recurring topics include Carlos Betancur (aka Winnie the Pooh)’s weight, and the life of Pippo Pozatto.

      • They don’t have a regular, Tour-specific show I’m afraid. The *only* negative thing I can say about the podcast is that new episodes can sometimes be infrequent. That’s fine, by the way, they’re doing it in their free time so obviously they can only record when it suits, but I end up listening to old podcasts over and over till a new one comes out!

        They do get a little more regular when the grand tours are on though. I imagine there’ll be a new episode this week.

  2. I agree with Matthew…Although, be careful of the Speed Metal Cycling Podcast. You’re liable to drink more beer thanks to the Skull Krusher’s deep knowledge and ever expanding consumption during the podcast and if listened to without the proper protection, you may come down with a severe case of knee herpes.

    My absolute favourite (yes, Canadian) podcast for funny analysis of the pro peloton!

  3. The BBC and Cycling Weekly are doing dailies too. Not listened to the CW one, but the BBC is a useful round up if you missed the race.

    Agree with Inrng. Cycling Podcast is leading the way. With content and business model.

  4. Jack Thurston is also worth a listen on either The Bike Show or the Rouleur Podcast. Not necessarly Tour de France related but both excellent podcasts.

    • I find the Rouleur Podcast to be completely dry and joyless, a really bad “advert” for the magazine.

      The Cycling Podcast for me; BBC aimed at the causal/novice, Velocast I can’t imagine paying to listen to 2 opinionated mates sitting on a sofa, ITV was actually more entertaining last year as it was less slick, more behind-the-scenes team letting off steam, like the out takes in the credits you get in movies rather than trying to be a stand-alone product.

      • I agree on the Rouleur podcast – Thurston has a great recording voice but it’s all oddly mechanical and passionless.

        Used to enjoy Velocast’s “This week in Cycling History” but since it disappeared behind the paywall it’s more than I choose to pay to hear people’s opinions from watching the TV.

        The Cycling Podcast lead the way, no question. Although I’m constantly wondering whether they actually like each other enough to spend three weeks in a car together!

  5. I’m glad someone mentioned Speed Metal. I guess it’s not everyone’s cup of tea or whatever, but my friends and I are big fans. Reasons we love that podcast:
    1. It’s f’ing hilarious.
    2. The guys actually know quite a bit about cycling.
    3. They talk about beer and drink beer. A lot.
    4. They make obscure references. It reminds me of The Family Guy. Over your head if you don’t get it, hilarious if you do.
    5. They go on weird tangents and end up talking about garbage collection in New York, but you won’t mind because it’s funny and sometimes very educational.
    6. Metal. As an old school thrash-head I love the music in the podcast and the metal references.

    • What about:
      7. I don’t think the likes of Birnie or Rendell could match them for anecdotes. Check out their 2013 Tour de France preview – guarantee you’ll never forget it!

  6. I find the website “” and its associated twitter feed to provide me with the most pertinent, insightful and humorous pro-cycling commentary, not only daily during the tour, but throughout the entire year.

  7. I’m a regular listener of the Velocast, Cycling Podcast and for the tour, Cyclingnews’ podcast. In order of preference:

    1. Cycling Podcast: Very connected journalists, very witty commentary, and a nice mix of information, analysis, wit and color. They don’t take themselves too seriously and there’s a real quality of banter. Their paywall experiment this year has been a real mess as you can’t download that content into a podcatcher, so it’s a real pain to listen to. I’d happily pay more for their content though, it’s excellent.

    2. Velocast: Scott and John are very good, although sometimes they go holier-than-thou on rider injuries or the flaws of the UCI. But overall the Scottish pair are witty and provide some insight. If the Cycling Podcast is more all over the place with its format, these guys are consistent and provide a great review of what happened. And although they’re not on site, as you say, they often notice things I missed. Like Andre Greipel’s legs on the podium. The production quality is also excellent. I do think their annual price is too high, though, something like 70 pounds or so.

    3. Cyclingnews podcast: I think this used to be done by Richard and Daniel from the Cycling Podcast. It was very funny then. Now it just seems pretty thrown together and there’s not much insight beyond the first two podcasts. But the price is right (free).

    • agreed, it’s a great archive too – I love going back over the old ones before say Paris-Roubaix to whet my appetite and rekindle memories.
      Someone please make it worth Cosmo’s while to get this up and running again…(ok maybe not Specialized…)

    • absolutely – it was one of my favourites. always a great insight into the race. Imagine a daily one for the tour… I also loved his week in bike. presumably it took him ages to make and he just gave up?

  8. The Cycling Podcast is great, the content behind the paywall has been a bit patchy & can sometimes feel a bit old but I would gladly pay more just for the weekly shows.

  9. Given the headline I thought INRNG was announcing a podcast. Please make it so!

    Although I stopped listening to Velocast when they went paid for, I have gladly paid the £5 to become a friend of the cycling podcast, and for 12 additional podcasts that is a bargain.

  10. I’m a very happy Velocast subscriber. Sure they aren’t on the ground or as connected but they offer great insight and opinion. They also aren’t exclusive to the Tour and have daily coverage for the Giro an Vuelta as well as everything in between. Throw in the brilliant TWICH and you have a lot of content for your money.

    The cycling podcast is great but a little conservative. The hosts there seem to be a lot more restrained (no doubt protecting their journalistic privileges) and not being able to access the paywall content from a podcatcher has been a massive fail. I haven’t listened to a single special because of this.

    Notable mention for the Cycling Time Trial podcast

    • Hi guys,
      indeed, we are the only german speaking podcast talking about the pro races. Got now 123 episodes and 2 kind of formats till now, the velorace where we covering the pro races and the velosnakk talking about the races or events we are driving by ourselves, product tests etc.
      There is the fahrradio which is a cycling related podcast as well. There point of view is a little bit more from the technical/Feuilleton/political point of view.
      Sorry for my bad english, not native speakt 😉

  11. Great piece, as usual.

    Any recommendations of radio stations (in English or French) broadcasting the race? I’ve been suffering through Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen too long now, not to mention the unbelievable number of commercials they show here in the U.S. Would love to have an alternative soundtrack.



  12. Velocast is my favorite. Love those guys. Scott and John are great, but add in the content from Cillian Kelly (This Week in Cycling History, Velocast Books) and the Cycle Systems Academy podcast, and I think their subscription is well worth the money.
    As stated above, Cosmo’s How the Race Was Won is missed. Somebody needs to scoop that guy up and give him a paid job in broadcasting. He’s better at putting out race analysis than 99% of the “pros” out there.

  13. Thanks for pointing out some new ones, but some encouragement for the re start of the Velo Club Don Logan. Good production, funny and knowledgeable.

  14. Velocast is worth the money for This Week in Cycling History alone. The Giro coverage was great too, and they have lots of other goodies throughout the season.

    Tour de France often ends up being a bit more low key because they (like other subscribers) prefer some of the other races during the year.

  15. Hi, I’m new to the whole world of podcasts, not sure why but it’s just something I’ve never really got into. However this post has definitely sparked a quizzical interest so I’m going to give a few of these a go. Thanks

  16. Cycling Podcast by far the best I’ve listened to and particularly enjoying their Km 0 morning podcasts. Despite this the live podcast last night was a bit of a farce, with Daniel Friebe sounding like he wasn’t in the least bit interested.

    Happily pay more than I do for the extra content.

  17. There doesn’t seem to be a dedicated cycling podcast in Italian–am I wrong?

    Living in the USA, we get only desultory coverage of the tour on NBC Sport’s TV, which is tiresome and shallow at best.

    Consequently, podcasts have emerged as the most informative way to follow it. We devote a good portion of the day to the Cycling Podcast, Velocast, and the ITV podcast (on which the brilliance of Matt Rendell makes up for the dullness of Ned Boulting). Glad to have learned about others in this article and in the comments. But none in Italian?

  18. There doesn’t seem to be a dedicated cycling podcast in Italian–am I wrong?

    Living in the USA, we get only desultory coverage of the tour on NBC Sport’s TV, which is tiresome and shallow at best.

    Consequently, podcasts have emerged as the most informative way to follow it. We devote a good portion of the day to the Cycling Podcast, Velocast, and the ITV podcast (on which the brilliance of Matt Rendell makes up for the dullness of Ned Boulting). Glad to have learned about others in this article and in the comments.

  19. Velocast all the way for me as a long term listener. Helped me while away many an hour on the turbo. The This Week archives are well worth a visit too. Laff out loud at times listening to John and Scott, but also good reportage considering stuck in Peebles. Look forward to each stage coverage as they’ve been known to be more interesting/entertaining than the stages. Cycling podcast gets listened too. Funny guys with seriously good knowledge and access. Both keep me a happy bunny

  20. The Cycling Podcast is excellent. They have fun and bring some good insider info.

    I like Velocast but don’t think I’ll renew my subscription. They spend time laughing at TV commentators only to make plenty of errors themselves. Forking out money for this is getting annoying.

  21. Another vote for “The Cycling Podcast”, good knowledge, good access to interviews and good humour. I like that they are experimenting with some live broadcasts ( although seeing as I’m on the other side of the globe, it doesn’t suit me to listen live). Yes it is a pain you have to stream the behind the paywall episodes but I don’t mind paying the £5 for the privilege of listening to the free ones.
    During the Tour I also enjoy listening to the ITV podcast, I like the non structure of the show and plus here in NZ, we only get Paul & Phil’s commentary so not sick of Chris, Ned and Mat.
    Used to listen to the Velocast since the began and also when they went Pro, they were my favourite but you can get too much of good thing . Grew tired of them, found them to be a bit repetitive during the Tour shows.

  22. I used to like Velocast and listened to that and “where are we today Richard?” regularly. But now I’m content with Lionel and his chums. The Peebles pair, imho, got a bit greedy. Their production costs are tiny and their subs are not that far short of the cost of the BBC licence fee. They’re good at what they do – two knowledgeable blokes talking about what they’ve seen on the telly – but it’s shockingly over-priced.

  23. Was not that big a fan of the 3 herberts on the Cycling Podcast and although i have a sub to Velocast .C.C i find myself listening to Birnie, Friebe and Moore before any of the others. I have a great propensity to all things Colombian so am a sucker for Speed Metal Cycling and now drink beer and listen to shite Thrash Metal! But no one anylises racing better than MIKE CREED. Period. You pays your money and makes your choices. Or not as the case maybe

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