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 By Dame Dans Blanc

When television coverage of cycling is replaced by fishing shows or “The World Series of Poker”, I, along with many others, look to the various online tickers to satisfy my need for live updates of the action.  Several sites offer this service, but all others pale in comparison to the coverage provided by Podofdonny. Pod goes far beyond the simple facts; he uses his words to vividly illustrate all aspects of the race, “It is indeed a very beautiful sight as the ONCE, a yellow ribbon of speed, streaks through the old town and narrow streets.” Drawing on the race for his inspiration, he sculpts his words around the action, allowing us to create a moving picture in our minds.

Providing live coverage is a difficult task. One must have the discernment to know what needs to be reported and the wisdom to realize not all of the action will be captured. Bike races, whether they are a one-day Classic or a multi-stage Tour, are many faceted beings. There is abundant activity at all points in the race and it would be literally impossible to recount it all in a ticker. Pod does an excellent job of picking and choosing what details he puts on his canvas as to not mar the picture he is forming.  If there is a break, he updates on how well the riders are working together and how hard the peloton is chasing. With a crash, he is good to let us know who was involved and how they are doing, all while keeping track of the most important action at the front of the race.  Even in this fundamental aspect, he outshines the competition as most only provide the actions of the race and don’t give the most basic descriptions of how the riders are faring.

While recounting the mechanics of the race, Pod provides a sense of the general setting of the course, the weather, and the peloton. His descriptions often give you the impression you are actually there to feel the warmth of the sunshine on your face or to smell the crispness of the fall air, “It is a beautiful day in Spain, a wedgewood blue sky with cotton wool clouds to frame the colourful peloton.” When the action heats up, you can sense the tension through his words, taste the adrenaline in the air and feel the nervousness of the riders, “It is Francisco Perez on the attack!! - the alarm bells will be ringing in the peloton - he now leads the race and is storming up the mountain.”  He evokes true emotion through his words and your imagination can run away with his sentences. Seeing the words dance to life in your mind’s eye, envision this, “It is a battle fought out on an epic, huge theatre of the Spanish mountains - now Cardenas picks up the pace - as Osa catches them!” This is the most enjoyable part of Pod’s work for me.  The details he gives allow me to recreate the race in my mind, to play the action out and see it unfold.

Working with vast knowledge and excellent research and preparation, he becomes a Cycling Professor, teaching the history of the sport to the masses that read his accounts.  Pod’s tickers are filled with trivia tidbits about riders, races, and even the areas they ride through during the course of the day. If something unexpected happens, never fear, he can produce data on the spot, like an En-cycle-Podia!  By incorporating these items, he lends a character and warmth to his live coverage that is unexpected and not found elsewhere. I appreciate the commitment he shows to the sport through his willingness to go beyond the call of duty in his efforts to provide the best coverage possible.

Podofdonny’s gift to us has made cycling more enjoyable for me, and many others, as he gives his heart to his practice. A master artist at work, he takes the simple motions of the race and with his words he paints a magnificent mural for us to enjoy each time he sits at his keyboard, “After over 65 hours of racing, the giants of the road take off their armour and stand alone.” Pod’s ticker stands alone above all the others. Truly a work of art.



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