On the eleventh day of Christmas…
Join us as we return to our favourite episodes from the 2018 season, one for each of the twelve days of Christmas.
#NoGoTour – Friends of the Podcast Special
Every year we have a problem where the Tour of Britain is concerned because Richard, Daniel and I are committed to covering the Vuelta a España.
This year, I had the idea of asking Conor Dunne – the Irish national champion – to keep an audio diary during the race. I’d interviewed Conor at the end of 2017 and lots of people got in touch to say how much they’d enjoyed hearing him speak and Richard and I agreed he would put his own twist on the audio diary format.
I was at the Vuelta when I heard that Conor’s team, Aqua Blue Sport, would stop at the end of the season. By the time I called him, the news had got even worse. The team was stopping with immediate effect and the Tour of Britain was off.
A few days later, he got in touch to say he and his teammate Larry Warbasse – a former US national champion – had decided to go bikepacking (or cycle touring as some would call it) in the French and Italian Alps.
The plan was they’d set off from their base in Nice with luggage on their bikes and follow the road who knows where. It became the #NoGoTour.
I asked Conor if he was still interested in keeping an audio diary and he said he was. Every day, and sometimes several times a day, Conor would send recordings from out on the road. Very quickly I was hooked, waiting for the next despatch, wondering how they were getting on and whether their friendship would survive.
It was brilliantly entertaining and was about so much more than cycling. It’s a study of friendship, of turning a rubbish situation into a good one. It was a journey in the truest sense of the word rather than in the reality TV star sense and the finished episode was – along with Richard’s interview with Jean Bobet – my favourite of the year, not least because I had nothing to do with it and so I could just press play and let the story unfold.
by Lionel Birnie
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Become a Friend of the Podcast to access our library of special episodes. It’s just £15 to subscribe in 2019- for the price of a couple of afternoon cappuccini you’ll get eleven feature-length in-depth episodes. Past-highlights include Inside the team car, The Rise and Demise of HTC-High Road – The Team of the Century, The Lionel of Flanders, and Meeting Jean Bobet.