Eurosport commentary

Page 167 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Interesting that Eurosport pulled coverage yesterday of the Italian race due to the helicopters being out of action in the poor weather but GCN continued as best they could. The additional racing and more reliable, ad free, coverage (perhaps) might make a 1 yr sub to GCN worthwhile. £19.99 just now. I just bit that bullet.

And wee point of note - Hatch was commentating from home in Spain (due to quarantine regs in UK) while Smith was in London.
 
They also send the GCN coverage through the Eurosport Player. At least that's how I watched it.
My ES Player feed (which had their preamble pre ES2 transmission) switched to snooker. Even had a dialogue between producer and snooker commentators about going on early!

The race hasn't been archived nor shown again on ES. To be fair, not much to watch!
 
British Eurosport commentary pairings season 2020:

Vuelta a San Juan (live from Sun 26th Jan): Quigley & Smith
Tour Down Under (highlights): Liggett, McEwan & Vogt (International Comms package) (30 mins highlights from 28/1)
Challenge Mallorca (highlights): tbc (20 min highlights from 31/1)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race (90 mins highlights from 3/2): Kirby & Adam Blythe
Saudi Tour (live from 4/2): Kirby & Blythe
Herald Sun Tour: Matt Keenan & David MacKenzie (International Comms package)
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (live from 5/2): Kirby & Gerrans
Tour de Langkawi (live from 7/2): Hatch & Backstedt
Tour of Provence: (ES Player only)
Clasica De Almeria: Stephens & Blythe
Volta ao Algarve: Hatch & Blythe
Vuelta Andalusía: Kirby & Stephens
UAE Tour: Hatch & Smith
Het Nieuwsblad: Dan Lloyd & Backstedt
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: Lloyd & Backstedt
Tour of Taiwan: Kirby & Stephens
Le Samyn: Harris-Bass & Backstedt
Paris-Nice: Hatch & Kelly
--------------------------------------------------------
Strade Bianchi: Kirby & Smith
Gran Trittico Lombardo: Hatch & Smith
Tour de Pologne (live from 5/8): Hatch & Backstedt
Milano-Torino: Kirby & Smith
Mont Ventoux Denivel Challenges: Kirby & Smith
Tour de l'Ain: Quigley & Smith
Milano-Sanremo: Kirby & Stephens
Criterium du Dauphine: Kirby & Stephens
Gran Piemonte: Hatch & Backstedt
Giro di Lombardia: Hatch & Smith
Tour de Wallonie: Hatch & Smith
French TT Championships: Kirby & Stephens
French Road Race Championships: Kirby & Stephens
Spanish Road Race Championships: Quigley & Smith
 
Last edited:
Jul 19, 2019
3
3
515
Just had the unfortunate experience of listening to the Eurosport commentary on the dauphine highlights.

I do wonder if Kirby and Stephens might be the worst commentary duo I've ever heard on any professional sport?

They fail to fulfil even their most basic duties. I do wonder if anyone who knows anything about cycling has ever tried to introduce any quality control to the Eurosport commentary. It would seem not.

Their job description is fairly straightforward, and for Pro cycling actually fairly important given that the vast majority of viewers will not be able to decipher all the faces/race numbers involved at key moments, which can often be quite a barrier to interpreting the flow of a race properly.

At every single appropriate segment towards the end of the race one of the duo was just blithering idiotically away about something completely and utterly irrelevant (how slippery an earlier descent would have been had in been raining an hour earlier......; who cares !!). They appeared to have absolutely no idea what sort of finish was involved in the stage, who the main contenders were for said finale & who was working for whom within teams as a consequence. Somewhat criminally, they even managed to identify completely the wrong winner of the stage despite apparently having watched the preceding 6 hours of it.

Overall they seemed to be completely at a loss as to where the actual excitement was coming from in the last 10km, which seems to be a consistent problem for most of the Eurosport commentators. It's really getting to me now only a few races into the restart of the season!
 
Many commentators on numerous occasions fail to identify riders - Sometimes this is misinformation from race radio while on other occasions it can be hard to identify riders - Also Hatch and Backstedt misidentified riders in the final of the race - I suggest you watch a range of different commentary teams to provide more balance to your thoughts.
 
Many commentators on numerous occasions fail to identify riders - Sometimes this is misinformation from race radio while on other occasions it can be hard to identify riders - Also Hatch and Backstedt misidentified riders in the final of the race - I suggest you watch a range of different commentary teams to provide more balance to your thoughts.
He's right though that the general level in cycling commentary is very low, also compared to other sports. And Kirby appears to be one of the worst - although I don't listen to him very often, but when I do... well, I did not see this particular race, but I can imagine very well, what DaveJones is talking about...
It's not about identifying a rider wrongly here and there - of course that happens! It's about wrongly identifying key riders again and again and again, not for a second, but for minutes, when these riders have nothing in common but their team's jersey.
I am not a cycling specialist, but I can identify riders far better than a lot of commentators (well, not Paul Voss) It's not because I am so great at it, but because they are so bad. Of course it's easier for me: I can do it in peace, do not have to talk and entertain people while I am watching.

That said, my Dutch is very bad, but I have a feeling that there are some Dutch or Belgian commentators who are very good. The French ones are often okay, too. But (!) they are merely hired as experts I think, the English ones are entertainers. They scream, they build tension, they tell all kinds of stories that have nothing to do with what is happening right now. You could let any entertainer with a three month course in cycling knowledge do it. Their voices often sound good, have some narrator's / speaker's qualities. I think that should not be enough, though.
 
He's right though that the general level in cycling commentary is very low, also compared to other sports. And Kirby appears to be one of the worst - although I don't listen to him very often, but when I do... well, I did not see this particular race, but I can imagine very well, what DaveJones is talking about...
It's not about identifying a rider wrongly here and there - of course that happens! It's about wrongly identifying key riders again and again and again, not for a second, but for minutes, when these riders have nothing in common but their team's jersey.
I am not a cycling specialist, but I can identify riders far better than a lot of commentators (well, not Paul Voss) It's not because I am so great at it, but because they are so bad. Of course it's easier for me: I can do it in peace, do not have to talk and entertain people while I am watching.

That said, my Dutch is very bad, but I have a feeling that there are some Dutch or Belgian commentators who are very good. The French ones are often okay, too. But (!) they are merely hired as experts I think, the English ones are entertainers. They scream, they build tension, they tell all kinds of stories that have nothing to do with what is happening right now. You could let any entertainer with a three month course in cycling knowledge do it. Their voices often sound good, have some narrator's / speaker's qualities. I think that should not be enough, though.
I agree Kirby will either be getting the rider wrong or spending minutes going "is it ... or .... I'm not sure " long after it is obvious to everyone watching
 
He's right though that the general level in cycling commentary is very low, also compared to other sports. And Kirby appears to be one of the worst - although I don't listen to him very often, but when I do... well, I did not see this particular race, but I can imagine very well, what DaveJones is talking about...
It's not about identifying a rider wrongly here and there - of course that happens! It's about wrongly identifying key riders again and again and again, not for a second, but for minutes, when these riders have nothing in common but their team's jersey.
I am not a cycling specialist, but I can identify riders far better than a lot of commentators (well, not Paul Voss) It's not because I am so great at it, but because they are so bad. Of course it's easier for me: I can do it in peace, do not have to talk and entertain people while I am watching.

That said, my Dutch is very bad, but I have a feeling that there are some Dutch or Belgian commentators who are very good. The French ones are often okay, too. But (!) they are merely hired as experts I think, the English ones are entertainers. They scream, they build tension, they tell all kinds of stories that have nothing to do with what is happening right now. You could let any entertainer with a three month course in cycling knowledge do it. Their voices often sound good, have some narrator's / speaker's qualities. I think that should not be enough, though.
Maybe read through this thread to find complaints about the commentators in the jurisdictions you mentioned - For heaven's sake Rob Hatch who is an excellent caller in the final of Piedmonte confused Albasini and Stannard, failed to recognise Valter, Aranbaru and Vlasov - The commentators are calling off the TV ( even moreso in these COVID times ) where close ups are limited - Some expect too much from commentators and it's also a good opportunity to have a whinge.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
Maybe read through this thread to find complaints about the commentators in the jurisdictions you mentioned - For heaven's sake Rob Hatch who is an excellent caller in the final of Piedmonte confused Albasini and Stannard, failed to recognise Valter, Aranbaru and Vlasov - The commentators are calling off the TV ( even moreso in these COVID times ) where close ups are limited - Some expect too much from commentators and it's also a good opportunity to have a whinge.
Maybe. Like I mentioned before here, I would really like to try it once just to see how it works. Maybe that would silent me. (Well, I could never do it in English, anyway.) But it's also simply a question of preference. I prefer commentators to talk less (nonsense) if they need more time to concentrate and can do without some of the drama. Others just like the entertainment and do not feel annoyed by nonsense so much.
(One important thing I noticed about Kirby especially: He always puts thoughts into rider's minds. He expresses them in the indicative. Like "rider x now think's rider y will never catch him, he knows there is no way y will make it to him at this point. Look, he says, I'm just too good for, you don't stand a chance".
I would never say that as a commentator. Well, maybe I would, but certainly not frequently. If there is a 90% chance this rider really thinks this way - okay. If there is a 40% chance this rider thinks this way - why announce it like I can see straight into his head and know exactly what he's thinking? It's about "storytelling" and building narratives, but at the high risk that I'm talking nonsense. And while I love to talk nonsense myself I don't think I would do it with I don't know many people listening. Well, in the end that really is just a preference...)
 
Jul 19, 2019
3
3
515
I'm pleased to have started a dialogue about this as it's good to have a spectrum of opinion on such things.

I'm actually really surprised to see anyone sticking up for the Eurosport commentators as I was convinced they irritated everyone else as much as me.

To be honest I agree that the specific individual identification in fleeting moments is sometimes very difficult and mistakes are both understandable and inevitable from time to time. I would suggest that the frequency of mistakes is far too high though; case in point when the commentary team have had the opportunity to observe roglic wearing the national champs jersey for many hours yesterday, to identify him as the winner when Jumbo were quite clearly working for Van Aert at the end anyway is just unacceptable. If I made such elementary mistakes at work I'd be sacked fairly quickly.

My main issue is that the Eurosport teams consistently fail to explain where the drama and excitement of a race is coming from. I'm in the fortunate position to know enough about cycling to interpret things myself, but it's much more difficult to do this when watching highlights as we haven't seen the race evolve.

The C4 duo of Boulting and Millar are excellent at this; they explain the relevance of breaks being made, teams protecting riders, predict attacks and counters at key moments. My wife could watch a TDF highlights episode knowing nothing about cycling and could tap in to a lot of the drama through them.

Watching an identical race on Eurosport, she would be clueless as to where the excitement was.

Yesterday was a fantastic case in point; towards the Piedmont finale on the highlights I had absolutely no idea who Jumbo were working for but they were absolutely smashing it on the front halfway up the penultimate climb. They should have pointed out that they were setting up Bennett for an attack and explained he was likely going to made a potentially race-defining break shortly after; that's where the drama was at that point in the race. Instead, they completely failed to mention this at all and wittered on about something completely irrelevant (I think they were talking about how they had been looking forward to watching a team that didn't even fully enter or some twaddle like that...I mean seriously wtf..)

I do actually think it's seriously detrimental to a lot of viewers enjoyment just how poor they are.
 
Aug 3, 2017
210
9
3,045
I'm pleased to have started a dialogue about this as it's good to have a spectrum of opinion on such things.

I'm actually really surprised to see anyone sticking up for the Eurosport commentators as I was convinced they irritated everyone else as much as me.

To be honest I agree that the specific individual identification in fleeting moments is sometimes very difficult and mistakes are both understandable and inevitable from time to time. I would suggest that the frequency of mistakes is far too high though; case in point when the commentary team have had the opportunity to observe roglic wearing the national champs jersey for many hours yesterday, to identify him as the winner when Jumbo were quite clearly working for Van Aert at the end anyway is just unacceptable. If I made such elementary mistakes at work I'd be sacked fairly quickly.

My main issue is that the Eurosport teams consistently fail to explain where the drama and excitement of a race is coming from. I'm in the fortunate position to know enough about cycling to interpret things myself, but it's much more difficult to do this when watching highlights as we haven't seen the race evolve.

The C4 duo of Boulting and Millar are excellent at this; they explain the relevance of breaks being made, teams protecting riders, predict attacks and counters at key moments. My wife could watch a TDF highlights episode knowing nothing about cycling and could tap in to a lot of the drama through them.

Watching an identical race on Eurosport, she would be clueless as to where the excitement was.

Yesterday was a fantastic case in point; towards the Piedmont finale on the highlights I had absolutely no idea who Jumbo were working for but they were absolutely smashing it on the front halfway up the penultimate climb. They should have pointed out that they were setting up Bennett for an attack and explained he was likely going to made a potentially race-defining break shortly after; that's where the drama was at that point in the race. Instead, they completely failed to mention this at all and wittered on about something completely irrelevant (I think they were talking about how they had been looking forward to watching a team that didn't even fully enter or some twaddle like that...I mean seriously wtf..)

I do actually think it's seriously detrimental to a lot of viewers enjoyment just how poor they are.
I will defend yesterday at Piedmont, they were talking about the several attack points that would potentially launch a winning move on the last lap of the race, and specifically talked up the final climb that topped out with 7km to go as the most likely launch pad for someone to try a winning move, as Bennett did.

The reason Boulting and Millar on ITV dumb down their commentary to describe things to casual or newbie viewers is that they only show select races a year (Tour, Vuelta highlights, Tour of Britain, TdY) so they know they will have casual viewers

If you are tuning in to watch Gran Piedmont on a Tuesday afternoon, Eurosport assume you know your cycling somewhat, so probably dont feel the need to have to explain every little thing.

I find commentators who spoon feed you everything to be awful. If i am watching football, i dont expect the commentator to have to explain that Harry Kane might be the most likely goal scorer for tottenham, I as a viewer am expected to know that. Just like if the commentator is explaining a likely move will be on the final climb, and Jumbo are drilling it before hand, its likely that George Bennett is who they are working for a Piedmont
 
Quite frankly, Carlton Kirby is what the mute button on your remote was invented for, quite frankly, ho ho ho. Always fun to read on here about his latest nonsense, quite frankly. Usually I'd have the greatest sympathy for his wing man, but for Matt Stephens every rider, every performance, everything and everybody is "absolutely incredible" and that probably includes Carlton
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY