Words by Peter Cossins | Photo by SWpix.com
After a temporary hiatus while we got a new project off the ground, La Course en Tête returns to your screens today
You may have been wondering where we’ve disappeared to for the last few weeks. Apologies for the absence but the current mainstays of the La Course en Tête editorial team – myself and Jeremy Whittle – have been focusing on a new project that’s taken a lot of legwork at what is already a busy time in a journalist’s season, with the Giro d’Italia under way and the Tour de France already looming on the horizon.
That new project is Radio Cycling, a news-focused podcast that features me, Jeremy and Chris Marshall-Bell. The first few episodes are now available on your favourite podcasting platforms, including Apple, Spotify and Google – you can follow the links at the bottom of this story – and new episodes will appear every Monday and Friday morning during the Giro.
So, why news? As three experienced freelancers who have found it increasingly difficult to find well-paid work as magazines and websites have cut back in this difficult economic climate, we believe this is one key area of cycling journalism that is now being under-served. As these cutbacks have been made, editorial resources have been focused on subjects and races that are guaranteed to draw a big audience and advertising revenue, on events like the Giro, Tour and the great Classics, and on tech and product reviews and reports. News stories typically take more time to source and verify. They often don’t achieve the “clickbait” status that governs the publication of so much editorial nowadays. In short, it’s easier and, ultimately, more lucrative to pump out stories about the subjects and personalities that are bound to pay off.
In addition to this, teams are increasingly controlling the news narrative. A lot of the content they produce is interesting and insightful, but it tends to stay well clear of subjects that they and their sponsors are less comfortable with – the politics of the sport and the world beyond it, the environment and climate change, and “shit questions” like doping.
In the run-up to Radio Cycling’s launch and particularly since its launch on 6 May, we’ve become even more aware of the number and range of stories that are ripe for telling. Our first episode, for instance, featured the tale of a pro racer who’s been supported by the Russian army and is still competing at the top level, while the latest provided an update on the status of Nairo Quintana, whose reputation has been tarnished since the painkiller Tramadol was found in two of his samples from last year’s Tour de France, resulting in him parting ways with his French team, Arkéa Samsic. The Colombian is holding out for a call from one of the sport’s elite teams, but it looks increasingly like he’s ridden his last race at WorldTour level. Now that we’ve got the Radio Cycling podcast up and running, with the vital support of Sigma Sports, to whom we owe a huge debt of thanks, our objectives are twofold: to keep it going and to keep La Course en Tête chugging along too. At the same time, we hope that you keep reading here and listening in at…