British Media and Cycling

These days I am reading “Put Me Back On My Bike – In search of Tom Simpson” by William Fotheringham. This is my third Fotheringham book, after “Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi” and “Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike”.

Put Me Back On My Bike, In Search Of Tom Simpson - by William Fotheringham
Put Me Back On My Bike, In Search Of Tom Simpson – by William Fotheringham

In the 105th page of the book, Fotheringham writes about how British media have had difficulties dealing with cycling: “…The world championship in 1965 was Simpson’s breakthrough into the wider world outside cycling magazines and sports pages. Classic wins and yellow jerseys were not easy concepts for the British media to deal with: a world title needed no translation…”

Jan Moir
Jan Moir of Daily Mail

By reading the passage above, I recalled two big goof made by British media during London 2012 olympics.

With British cyclist Lizzie Armitstead beaten into second place in the Olympic road race (but nevertheless picking up Great Britain’s first medal of the games) the Daily Mail’s Jan Moir has chosen to describe the new Olympic champion Marianne Vos as “some bitch from Holland”.

In an article entitled “Just what HAS happened to Sharron Davies’ face”, Moir opined:

“According to commentators, she had  ‘fresh legs in good shape’, which she used to batter heroically through a torrential rainstorm, only to come second to some bitch from Holland.”

The other big goof came from the conservative paper The Mail on Sunday’s separate 24 page section “Sport on Sunday”. According to the paper, olympic road race champion Alexander Vinokourov was the “Nowhere Man”. The paper wrote: “Team GB’s red-hot favourite Mark Cavendish loses out to the nobody from Kazakhstan”.

Vinokourov, nowhere man
According to Sport on Sunday, Vinokourov is the “nowhere man”.