Libertine Seguros wrote:A lot of these guys seem to be almost set up to fail. Not deliberately, but it's like, people expect so much from the commentators. A guy like Quigley hasn't called that many international races with the whole international péloton, at least not with the international audience that he'll have with Eurosport. People have commented on how Kelly has seemed more talkative than usual, maybe he's trying to help out a bit to ease Declan in. I seem to recall quite a few people thought Matt Rendell was pretty good on commentary... until he got the high profile role of having to call the Vuelta solo, and floundered in that position. Some of the best commentary I recall hearing in English on cycling was Marty McDonald calling the 2010 Tour of Turkey solo. He seemed to know enough about the riders, or could bluster his way through sounding like he did; but would he be able to do the same consistently on every race? For guys like Harmon over the last few weeks he's been jetting back and forth on commentary on a variety of races, must be sometimes difficult when doing your research to remember who's at what race.
I think Quigley could be a very good commentator in time. Maybe he isn't that yet, but commentary is something you need time to pick up, just like any other task.
I agree with a lot of what you say, and Marty McDonald is a good commentator when it comes to knowledge, I always enjoy him on Cycling.tv. Declan has had a baptism of fire stepping in for a 3 week Grand Tour, but facts are facts. He just does not know enough about what's happening to carry it off, but as you say, it gives Sean Kelly plenty of opportunity to step in.
The other guys on the periphery like Rob Hatch and Jon Harris-Bass do display a very good knowledge of the European race scene, and one of the toughest shifts I've heard in recent times was JHB doing the recent German classic on cycling.tv, alone. Declan is a decent commentator on domestic UK racing, and I'm sure he could be better than Harmon with more experience. He is very listenable, but the gaps in his knowledge, reading of the race and grasp of the rulebook (such as not picking up on the mess the host broadcasters made of the overall GC graphic at the end of the stage) are glaring.