Monday, July 27, 2015


I don`t know too much about cycling but I now know a lot more than I did three weeks ago.   My own cycling experience is limited to having owned, thanks to a family bequest in my early teens, a custom built Norman Invader with GB Superhood brakes, 1" wheels and even a holder on the handlebars to put drinks bottles in.  It cost me all of £25 but it was over 60 years ago and I rode it a lot until I was whisked away to do my National Service. Afterwards, my ambitions turned to motor cars and I developed the notion that cycling somehow seemed to deny the invention of the internal combustion engine.

But in the last few years I have become quite keen on following the exploits of our professional cyclists - all stemming from the deluge of medals that came our way in the 2012 London Olympics.  I was captivated by the triumphs of Sir Bradley, Sir Chris, Victoria, Jason, Laura and the rest, all choreographed by Sir Dave to bring the sport to the forefront.   But more than that, on that occasion I was also captivated by the incisive, passionate commentary from Hugh Porter and Chris Boardman who drew on their vast experience to bring the events to life in our living rooms.

And so the past three weeks have seen me following the Tour de France with eager anticipation of yet another success for Sir Dave, Chris, Geraint, Richie and the rest of the Sky team and back up staff.  And what another triumph it has been - a historic one with Chris Froome being the first from Britain to win le Tour twice.   They deserve all the plaudits and acknowledgement that will surely come their way.

But once again the whole event would not have been so enjoyable to watch without the commentary from Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen (pictured above) and the summaries from Chris Boardman (again) and David Millar. 

They know their stuff, these guys, they`ve been there, done it and got tee-shirts by the score and it has added so much to the enjoyment of the cycling uneducated like me to learn about the tactics, the positioning, the team strategies and so much more.  And all of it anchored by Gary Imlach in his individual style which is restrained, low key, controlled and a million miles away from any self-promotion or pretension.

So I`ve learned a lot more in the last three weeks and it`s just a pity for it all to have been shown on the relatively `obscure` ITV4 Channel - the event itself and those responsible for bringing it to our screens deserve high praise and a bigger audience.  It almost made me wish I hadn`t give up on my Norman Invader - I could have been a contender.


Ray Turner said...

Competitive cycling, particularly the road races, looks rather dangerous to me. I think you are probably better off watching from the safety of your armchair.

Snopper said...

Quite right, Ray. I`ll take your advice....