Tour de France 2009 Podcasts Review

Two years ago I reported on the Podcasts That Can Help You Follow the Tour de France. I thought that article provided a lot of good information, but it's dated now. I'm still listening to podcasts about the Tour, but there have been some changes in the providers and the content of their programs. I thought I'd revisit the issue and tell you which podcasts have been worth listening to so far this year:

  1. ITV Tour de France Podcast (13-25 minutes): The granddaddy of them all has maintained its production values this year as well as last. Matt Rendell, Ned Bolting, and Chris Boardman analyze each stage. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen's race calls of the stage winner crossing the finish line are included in case you hadn't heard it.

    This podcast has interviews with leading riders, thanks to ITV's position as a Tour de France television rights holder for the UK.

    The analysis has been excellent, with minimal meaningless speculation. This podcast has been produced for three consecutive Tours and has come back each time on the same iTunes URL as it was on during the previous year.

  2. Cyclingnews.com Tour de France Podcast (14-36 minute duration): Peter Cossins, Daniel Friebe and Richard Moore review and analyze each stage. These three men are journalists that come from a web or print background, rather than from television. As a result, they speak a bit less glibly than the ITV hosts.

    Cyclingnews clearly has less resources than ITV. Some of their episodes have had a great deal of background noise, as if they were recording in a café or wherever they had the space to set up their equipment. They have access to interview subjects, but often in less optimal situations than ITV. So their podcast must rise or fall on the basis of the strength of their analysis.

    I certainly think that the Cyclingnews podcast is worth listening to, but I would always play ITV's podcast first.

  3. Bicycling Magazine Podcasts (6-34 minute duration) : Hosted by Loren Moony, Bill Strickland, and Joe Lindsey. This appears to be a fledgling effort. Although the analysis has been good, production quality has been generally bad, and they don't choose their conference call provider with an ear toward listenability. Also not produced on a daily basis. You never know when this podcast will have a new episode.

Missing this year are VeloNews and The Daily Tour Podcast from The FredCast. They produced useful podcasts during the Tour de France in recent years, not this time.

Producing an audio podcast is more difficult than it looks. I can't imagine doing it on a daily basis while covering a grueling event like the Tour. I think all of the three podcasts that I reviewed has provided some useful information. If I couldn't commit the time and had to pick only one, I'd be listening to ITV.