My favourite element of the world championships is that they’re tribal. It’s the one race each year that cycling fans genuinely support a team rather than a rider.
Who cares which Australian wins really. But when Cadel Evans was riding for BMC or Lotto we didn’t get too excited about another of those guys winning or care too much about the sponsor logo on Cadel’s jersey at the Tour.
However, we would have been just as happy for anyone in the green and gold to have won the world championships road race in Mendrisio 10 years ago.
This also creates a few challenges as a commentator. Primarily don’t be too biased.
Even though I’m only commentating on the world championships, on SBS, exclusively for an Australian audience, one of Richie Benaud’s key commentary rules still applies: There’s no team called “them” or “us”.
Secondly, the riders aren’t in the kit you’ve been commentating on them wearing the green and gold jersey but Matthews will be riding a Cervelo and Clarke a Cannondale. Amanda Spratt a Scott and Tiffany Cromwell a Canyon. Simply know each trade team for every rider and you’re halfway to identifying who’s who.
A few riders will obviously be on the same trade team but the mix of bikes within a national team and variations in trade team logos on riders knicks give me more options to correctly identify a rider.
I only get to commentating the elite women’s and men’s road races for the world championships. Dor all the other races SBS will be taking the world feed commentary. So I’ll be with the #couchpeloton watching.
Throughout the week of the worlds, I’ll be on a family holiday in Bright, doing plenty of riding, and watching racing once the kids have gone to bed.
For the elite individual time trials, depending on my sleeping patterns, I may just watch the highlights in the morning and analysis the results.
But the junior and U23 racing is my favorite. It’s research. Putting knowledge in the bank for future commentary. Besides the information gathering, I’m really interested in watching who the future stars might be.
One of the best races from last year’s world championships was the U19 men’s road race when Remco Evenepoel destroyed the world’s best juniors. this year Remco ha skipped the U23 category and, at just 19, is part of an incredibly strong Belgian team for the ITT and elite road race.
I love watching the underage races and daydreaming about being a team scout. it didn’t take a genius to work out that Remco was quickly going to emerge as a star. I can’t wait to see who’ll catch my attention this year.
Being one of the most recognizable voices of cycling, Matthew Keenan regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia.