How the BBC managed to make Cav’s disappointment

Olympics Women's Road Race
Olympics Women's Road Race - Marianne Vos (gold), Lizzie Armitstead (sliver), Olga Zabelinskaya (bronze)

even worse to watch.

That second to last box wasn’t ticked in London then. It was excruciating watching Great Britain – no Team GB here – being thwarted by their own success in the men’s road race on the first full day of the Olympics.

What has the Olympics got against mark Cavendish? Last time round he was the only rider to come home from the track without a medal. Here in his only ever home games, after the sacrifices made to lose his weight to get over Box Hill nine times, doing domestique work in the Tour and with the best team available and he comes up against the rest of the world not interested in getting a medal as long as he doesn’t win.

So you don’t want Cav flying past your best sprinter to take gold. Germany, Australia you train these guys for four years, build up their Olympic dreams and then don’t race because you might not win gold in the end. What’s the point?

With that size of breakaway allowed to get up the road it was just far too much for the GB team to control with just 4 riders doing all the work at the front. OK maybe GB could have done something different and that is a problem in the fact that the others teams knew exactly what the game plan was to get Cav in the Mall with a sniff. But with the riders they had it was the only plan. Letting such a size of breakaway go was maybe a fault but was that due to the lack of information available to the riders on the road?

They all gave everything, Froome blowing early with over 20km still to go, rolling in second last of the finishers, same with Millar who came in a few minutes and one place ahead of him. Wiggins laid it all out there, hoping to pay back some more for the work Cav did for his assault on the yellow jersey. Ian Stannard did a power of work, both at the front and at the back.

Was a bit surreal when Bernie Eisel, riding of course for his country Austria, came up the pack and placed himself in front of Cav. And of course somewhat ironic that during all the race it was easy to call them Sky instead of GB, with four of the five riders being on the professional team – only David Millar of Garmin isn’t – when the rider picking up the silver Rigoberto Uran rides for Sky. He just got caught looking over his wrong shoulder in the run in by the winner Vinokurov.

Yes I understand they’re not there to help GB and Cav win but doing nothing to help the peloton try and bring back the escape group – Germans did a cursory bit at the front, odd single rider here and there, Aussies did nowt – was pathetic and even more pathetic was the sight of Andre Greipel sprinting out for 27th. Must have been a proud moment for him.

And that brings us to the coverage which made Cav’s disappointment even worse.

Coming a week after yet another excellent piece of coverage of the Tour de France by ITV4 – it’s about the only decent thing the whole ITV network does worth praising – this seemed like a complete amateur hour or six.

I know they were hampered by the lack of information coming off the course, times etc. But bar Chris Boardman it was a shambles, lead by Hugh Porter ably assisted by the BBC’s ability to make running a bath look hard, never mind a piss up in a brewery.

Now I have to admit I have previous with Mr. Porter and his wife. A few years back I imagine he was accompanying his wife – Olympic swimming gold medallist in 1960 Anita Lonsbrough – to the world swimming championships. They were sitting poolside at the Hotel Oro Verde – roof top pool doesn’t look to have changed – when I decided a bit of top bombing was called for and might have splashed them somewhat. I was only a small child, hadn’t a clue who they were, my folks did, well they knew Anita, and they knew the pair weren’t happy.

The other previous is also hating his commentary on cycling, both road and track. Yes I know he won things on a bike and has been in the game for a long time but it’s poor. Phil Liggett can be annoying, repeating exactly what Paul Sherwen has just said for example, but give me him any day over Porter. His overblown hyperbole delivery is up there matching Jim White on transfer deadline day. Someone has just moved, no great movement no killer escape, on their bike and it’s up there with a free transfer from Swindon.

Again I know he had no computer read outs to work off but even when he does he shouts out names like an amnesiac trying to remember who they’re shagging during the act. Most of the time he’s wrong.

And could he have been more wrong in that moment Greipel started his sprint for 27th? He was going for fourth according to Hugh.Somehow he managed to miss the 24 riders between Uran and the German. Though he corrected it later when he said we got a little over excited. Can imagine, again the excellent, Boardman thinking who’s this we paleface?.

If that wasn’t bad enough there’s the rest of the BBC at work. Classic BBC. Let’s introduce stuff with someone who hasn’t got a clue. Tanni Grey Thompson she’s spent her life on wheels she’ll do. Er no, she’ll be useless as things kick off on BBC1. Then before you know it it’s changing to BBC3 then it’s over to the red button then it’s back to BBC3. But wait, where now? It’s gone the BBC is advertising itself, no mention of where the cycling is now, over to 1, nope, over to the red button, nope. Where is it?

BBC3 is now showing BBC3 news which should be done under the Trade Descriptions Act. It’s not news it’s gossip and rubbish by morons for morons. Then they’re back advertising themselves and all of a sudden some clown is stood on a platform in the Olympic park by the looks of things. Oh and he’s telling us the cycling will be back shortly as he struggles to tell us what’s happening because he’s clueless. Why not just go straight back. Actually why not go away for ads and crap to begin with. Well it wouldn’t be the Beeb without this kind of rubbish going on.

Then finally we’re back off to BBC1 for the finish. The disappointment. Five channels, when two would have worked, BBC1 to start and finish with either three or red button for the middle. Simple, straight forward which is just something the Beeb couldn’t manage to do. Thank god I decided to change plans and watch live the recordings I set up according to the BBC’s own scheduling plans would have left me with crap I have no interest in.

After it was again classic Beeb, Jake Humphwies wittering on about something he hasn’t got a clue about to Sue Barker – lay off the Alice Cooper eye make up luv – who had even less of an idea, though you couldn’t hear her as there was a voice over who beat both of them in the idiot stakes. COL, where’s that from. The off button was pressed very shortly. Certainly didn’t tune into the highlights where I believe they had the combined cycling knowledge of Kelly Homes, John McEnroe and Michael Johnson to go over the disappointment.

Things weren’t much better yesterday except for the outcome as Lizzie Armitstead rode a brilliant race to pick up a silver medal. Like the men’s race the pack just couldn’t bring back the breakaway which Armitstead did a great job to be part of. When the original four was down to three each knew they had a medal so worked as a team to secure that on a sopping wet course.

It was always going to be between the British girl and the Dutch Vos and Armitstead would have to do something special to beat the best female cyclist about. Unfortunately it didn’t work out but it was definitely a case of winning silver rather than losing gold when racing against the class of Vos.

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