Back in 2015 this blog looked at the explosion of podcasts on offer, marvelling at the audio choice. Now those look like lean days, the medium has taken off and there’s more choice than ever. A few suggestions and feel free to share yours in the comments below…
The Cycling Podcast was the yellow jersey of podcasts the last time and it’s still in the lead of what is this blog’s subjective ranking. During the Tour has its stalwarts Richard Moore and Lionel Birnie, along with guest signing François Thomazeau who is worth his weight in gold for the local input and knowledge from covering the Tour many times. It’s an easy listen and well-produced, and for an essentially UK podcast reasonably international in outlook. Each evening they cover the day’s stage, perhaps with some interviews they’ve done and then chat about events in and around the race. Personally it’s best once the conversation flows among the presenters rather than hearing finish line interviews from riders as this is where the medium of a podcast can work best as a conversation can explore a topic in detail when the equivalent typed into text would mean for a long read, probably too heavy to digest and you can take a podcast with you. Recently they’ve got a lot of adverts, messages of thanks and cross-promotion such as excerpts from other podcasts. Taking Tuesday’s 45 minute episode as an example there was over six minutes of ads, thanks to sponsors, promotional mentions of their Kilometre Zero episodes and so on. Birnie explained the need for in a blog post, to have people on the ground for three grand tours means fuel, food, accommodation and more before they even take home some pay so you can’t begrudge it. However it’s not the presence of the ads that’s detrimental for me, it’s the way they segment the podcast as sometimes a subject can get interesting but it’s soon time to cut to a break. Unreservedly it’s better to have this than have nothing and at 45 minutes it’s long but still time to cover a lot.
CyclingTips have daily coverage with Caley Fretz and Rupert Guinness, a good combo thanks to Fretz’s bike tech background and Guinness’s long experience of covering pro cycling. Dave Everett also pops in, he’s often shooting videos but comes in for a chat. The Tour shows are good and cover lots of the day’s events as you’d expect. There’s a US and Australian slant as you might expect from the two hosts but it’s not overwhelming, they’ll talk about the big incidents rather than just the home ones. Unlike The Cycling Podcast there’s also a focus on bike tech so you might like to tune in if you want discussion of what’s new in the peloton and beyond.
Cyclingnews.com have a weekly podcast although it’s been more frequent during the Tour de France and they discuss current events, usually with cyclingnews editor Dan Benson and Pro Cycling editor Ed Pickering. It’s a good show with some original insights, for example the episode in June featured a conversation with André Greipel about his contract situation and it was refreshingly frank and awkward listening even. Pickering often has a thoughtful take on race tactics and wider issues in the sport.
The BBC does a daily show called BeSpoke from the Tour de France. Unsurprisingly it’s targeted at British audience although it’s very much focussed on the British riders and Team Sky. So you won’t tune in to get anecdotes about Lilian Calmejane or Domenico Pozzovivo but if you want coverage of Froome and Thomas and all the gossip about yeam leadership then it’s worth tuning in, be warned as there’s a share of “G” when they refer to Geraint Thomas. It’s lead by Tom Fordyce who ghost-wrote Geraint Thomas’s autobiography and they have a Welsh contributor whose name I didn’t catch to add to the Thomas content. Meanwhile long time cycling writer Jeremy Whittle and ex-pro Rob Hayles anchor it with their experience and knowledge.
New is the Stanley Street Social, an Australian podcast fronted by ex-BMC rider Campbell Flakemore and former Aussie U23 rider Alex Clements. It’s fresh and the experience of the two hosts helps, they’ve been contemporaries of many of the neo-pros in the peloton and Flakemore can recount his time at BMC. It’s got an obvious Australian slant but covers all the major pro races and is a quick and easy listen. There was a while when every winner “torched it” and every hard race was “filthy” but they’re more expressive now and it’s a tidy little round up of matters from a younger generation than the likes of Moore and Birnie.
It’s not in the Tour but a tip to Mitch Docker’s Life in the Peloton. It’s infrequent at best but features the EF-Drapac rider and often interviewing fellow pros and they open up to him more than a journalist with a microphone as well as Docker joining into give his approach to the subject.
People often ask for foreign language podcasts:
- It’s only during the Tour but you can get a daily chat in French from Europe 1’s Le Club Tour with radio host Axel May and cycling pundit Patrick Chassé and it’s good quality, informed material, the only problem is that it’s for the next two weeks only and there’s nothing in France that covers pro cycling all year
- Radio station RMC pump out hourly blocks of their Tour audio for podcasts so you can have more French and the radio aspect is interesting as is the post-stage analysis with Cyril Guimard, one of the most influential and successful director sportifs and still as sharp as ever at 71
- There’s also daily Italian Tour coverage from Bonjour Bidone and also Facebook videos or their daily show on Radio Statale
- In German from Radio Tour over at meinsportradio.de
Some selections and the reviews are suggestions rather than impositions. There are more, the other day Lance Armstrong’s The Move was kind enough to tip this blog during an episode and it’s certainly brought new followers and presumably new readers but I’ve yet to listen to the podcasts but just added it. Feel free to share any more recommendations below.