By Robbie Broughton
Frustrated by the coverage of the Giro this year? Turns out you’re not the only one. With ITV not broadcasting it at all, Eurosport have literally no competition in the UK. And their biggest, most glaring omission, particularly in a dire first week of long, flat stages, was the absence of the language mangling, mixed metaphors and hilarious anecdotes of Carlton Kirby. If you’re missing the crazy tales, wit and lively commentary of CK, read on to find out where you can listen to him.
Eurosport have tried to re-vamp their coverage with a live studio hosted by a rather bland Orla Chennaoui who has been interviewing the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Brian Smith. When everyone becomes tired of Rob Hatch’s somewhat uninspiring delivery: long pause… “so…78km to go…” it’s back to the studio for a bit of ‘expert analysis’.
What was surprising was that, rather than trying to find points of interest in those dull initial stages, the panel spent quite a lot of time admitting that it was all a bit, well…boring. Which beggars the question for the viewer, “Why on earth am I bothering to watch this?”
It was a bit of a revelation to discover that Carlton Kirby is still in fact employed by Eurosport but on a different feed to the UK coverage. You can access his lively, funny and entertaining commentary online via Tiz-cycling.
He’s paired with Magnus Backstedt and, while Rob Hatch and Sean Kelly are sending the nation to sleep, CK and Maggers are having a whale of a time: as they laugh, joke and banter away, it’s like hanging out with your mates to watch the race. I’ve found that listening to these two has reinvigorated my interest in the whole Grand Tour.
Meanwhile top up your Giro fix with a morning dose of the Cycling Podcast. It’s become a daily routine in our household over breakfast to listen to the trio of Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe. They chat about the previous day’s stage as well as discuss the local delicacies of the particular region they happen to be travelling through. There have been little vignettes on Italian cycling culture like a visit to the Pantani family restaurant and profiles of the mountain stages. Added to that there’s a daily interview with the Giro’s biggest character, Gianni Savio, manager of Androni, as well as insightful chats with riders, all conducted in a relaxed manner that seems to bring the best out of our heroes.
So, there’s only a few days left, but revive your viewing experience by going to Tiz-cycling!