Your vote needed (again): TalkSport asks, 'Is cycling a sport?'

Meanwhile, Giles Coren stirs up minor Twitterstorm with 'never heard of him' Cav tweet

by Simon_MacMichael   December 23, 2011  

Mark Cavendish pre TDF press conference 2011.jpg

While many in the cycling world and beyond have applauded Mark Cavendish for his winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 yesterday evening, the world champion winning as many votes as the other nine sportsmen on the short list put together, he - and cycling - appear to have some way to go before enjoying the embrace of the full British public. 

A poll currently running on the TalkSport website asks whether former Ipswich Town and Scotland footballer Alan Brazil, who now presents the radio station’s breakfast show, is “correct in believing that cycling is not a sport?”

The poll currently shows that three in four of those voting disagree with Brazil, who also played for clubs including Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and, er, Wollongong City during his career.

Meanwhile, Giles Coren (who he? – ed) tweeted shortly after Cavendish had been revealed as the winner: “I have literally never heard of Mark Cavendish.”

There’s nothing particularly wrong with that – many pointed out that it’s unlikely that Cavendish would have heard of the food critic, TV presenter and novelist either, and to be fair, saying you haven’t heard of someone isn’t necessarily a judgment on them or what they happen to do for a living.

He did, however, manage to push some buttons in his subsequent tweets. One of the more publishable one to the cycling fans taken him to task was, “Woooooooooo. This is hilarious. I haven't seen so many cyclists in such a piss outside of one of those stop the traffic demos.”

Mind you, even we managed a chuckle when after saying, “it seems he won the tour de France. Who knew?” his next tweet exclaimed, “What? He didn't even win it? Then how the f*** on earth could anyone be expected to know who he is? I mean, I didn't win it either.”

We’re picturing rueful nods of agreement from any among you who’ve tried to explain to non-cyclists how the jerseys at the Tour work, only to be met by a blank look of non-comprehension.

Coren himself is no stranger to the bike, however. In a restaurant review published in The Times earlier this year, he describes how he undertook “six years of cycling during my embarrassing ‘green’ period.”

37 user comments

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TheHatter wrote:
Am I the only one that doesnt want cycling to be mainstream?
Football's mainstream and look at the state of that.

It's tricky. I'd like the sport to be appreciated by all the British public - to the extent that they all give me space and referential respect when I'm out on the bike.

What I don't want is for a large proportion of the British public to suddenly becoming overnight experts on pro cycling and sully the whole elegant niche glory of the sport for us effete connoisseurs with their cheapening bovine gaze.

Big Grin

MercuryOne

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [932 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 17:56

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
I love the story of the rather posh prospective student at an Oxford college who was asked whether he took part in any "sport".

He enthusiastically outlined his lifelong love of hunting, shooting and fishing.

One of the academics interviewing him said they were thinking rather of pursuits such as rugby or cricket.

"Oh," he replied. "You mean games?"

Wasn't "Game" the stuff he shot, tore to pieces with dogs and hooked.......
Wink

.....aspiring to mediocrity Big Grin

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posted by Mr_eL_Bee [65 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 17:58

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Might have been a decent player (terrible haircut) but he's as thick as pigsh*t. Why anyone would listen to Talksport might be a better question to ask.

posted by paulfg42 [355 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 18:03

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Football is a game, not a sport. You play a game. You play football, tennis, golf etc... You don't play cycling. Cycling is a sport.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1301 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 18:18

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Russell Osman? Great team, great manager.
Ipswich (when they played in those white pinstripes) was my favourite Subbuteo team, like, ever!
Sorry am I off topic?

Pete

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posted by PeteH [159 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 18:26

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The definition of a sport is that if you have to change your shoes to do it - its a sport. It works for most.
This is a fair enough - it differentiates between 'ordinary' cyclists and competative ones?

posted by mrpt5 [53 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 18:30

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Hatter when I said mainstream I was thinking particularly of places like Belgium or Holland, where cycling is more in the ether, if you like, not so much with other sports such as football.

Pete

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posted by PeteH [159 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 18:44

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Lol @ Pete. I had the team but in striker. Remember the press the top of the head to make them kick?

Anyway, I am always slightly uncomfortable calling anything a sport that can be done while in the pub!

posted by Super Domestique [1506 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 19:05

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Subbuteo ... now there's football, rugby, cricket - perhaps there should be a Road.cc competition to devise a Subbuteo Track Cycling game Big Grin ! Sorry, do I mean sport ? Thinking
Where does cycle polo come into the equation ?
Merry Christmas(time) and a Happy New Year to everyone, by the way !

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

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posted by timbola [200 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 19:15

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The definitive definition of distinction between sport and game, is that you can smoke a cigarette in one, but not the other... Smug

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1725 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 19:15

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My younger brother was a Subbuteo fanatic, with all the teams playing in a league and cup competitions, he had loads of stats, a sort of early pre computor fantasy football, John Motson of Subbuteo. He never played for real but coached and assisted with youth teams.

onward ever onward

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posted by bikecellar [221 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 19:35

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I'm all for definitive definitions, they're by far the best kind.

My mum still has all my subbuteo stuff - plus a few hundred Everton programs dating from the late seventies - in the loft. I hope. One day I'll flog it all, get very rich, and contribute rubbish to this site from my yacht in Brixham.

Pete

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posted by PeteH [159 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 19:37

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Surely it's not as black and white as is cycling a sport or not, If your racing or training it's a sport, but if your commuting or going somewhere it's travelling, and if your just going for a ride then it's a hobby.

posted by mrkeith119 [85 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 20:46

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
I love the story of the rather posh prospective student at an Oxford college who was asked whether he took part in any "sport".

He enthusiastically outlined his lifelong love of hunting, shooting and fishing.

One of the academics interviewing him said they were thinking rather of pursuits such as rugby or cricket.

"Oh," he replied. "You mean games?"


Love it!
Any chance of finding out who/when/where?

"Inside every car is a pedestrian, just Waiting to get out..." S.J.L.

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posted by scotter [64 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 21:26

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mrkeith119 wrote:
Surely it's not as black and white as is cycling a sport or not, If your racing or training it's a sport, but if your commuting or going somewhere it's travelling, and if your just going for a ride then it's a hobby.

True. But then most sports fans would accept motorsport yet you can also drive to the supermarket.

posted by Super Domestique [1506 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 22:51

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At the end of the day we (cyclists/fans) need to rise above the anti-cycling brigade. None of them can stop the increasing popularity of our sport/means of transport.
I think its some kind of self defense they put up to cover up their own in securities. Its the same people that shout names out of their car windows and make fun when I'm out running or cycling, its just easier for them to make fun than admit to themselves that they'd love to be able to do what we do, just they haven't got it in them.

posted by pmr [146 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 23:33

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scotter wrote:

Love it!
Any chance of finding out who/when/where?

No idea I'm afraid, details have been lost in the retelling.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7485 posts]
24th December 2011 - 12:11

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You 'play' games; football, rugby, tiddlywinks. You 'do' sports; cycling, running etc ;->

posted by otleyrich [9 posts]
24th December 2011 - 12:39

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It always amazes me how such non issues always provoke so much reaction and debate. And yet, here I am rising to the bait!

If you check the definition of 'sport' on any of the online dictionary sites, it is blatantly obvious that cycling would be classified as a sport.

Methinks Mr Brazil, and his Talksport employers, know exactly what will happen as a result of saying something so controversial: lots of free publicity, an increase in website traffic and a lot more listeners!

Check out my blog at www.bikingadventures.co.uk

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posted by CraigTheBiker [11 posts]
24th December 2011 - 17:09

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otleyrich wrote:
You 'play' games; football, rugby, tiddlywinks. You 'do' sports; cycling, running etc ;->

I'm not so sure. Sportsmanship comes from a sense of fairplay and I see that in many competitive games and activities. To me there are physical sports and non-physical.

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posted by downfader [184 posts]
24th December 2011 - 17:22

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MercuryOne wrote:
TheHatter wrote:
Am I the only one that doesnt want cycling to be mainstream?
Football's mainstream and look at the state of that.

Quote:

It's tricky. I'd like the sport to be appreciated by all the British public - to the extent that they all give me space and referential respect when I'm out on the bike.

That would be nice but unless they actually think you're Cav (or as they'd put it "that bloke in the head & shoulders ad") then I'd be surprised if it would make the blindest bit of difference. Car culture won't be changed in this country at least even if a Brit won all the grand tours and every classic.

Quote:

What I don't want is for a large proportion of the British public to suddenly becoming overnight experts on pro cycling and sully the whole elegant niche glory of the sport for us effete connoisseurs with their cheapening bovine gaze.

Big Grin


Beautifully put! Big Grin

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posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
24th December 2011 - 17:32

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Cheapening bovine gaze... Awesome bit of writing! Big Grin

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
24th December 2011 - 18:43

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Football = game...as in the immortal words of Greavesy...'It's a funny old game'...
Just as curling is a game, or bowls....
Cycling...well it's a way of life...My bike says 'sportive' on the top tube not 'gameive' Big Grin Nerd

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

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posted by The _Kaner [322 posts]
24th December 2011 - 20:56

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The oldest definition of sport in English (1300) is of anything humans find amusing or entertaining.

So going back to 1300ad you still could go and watch someone being hung drawn and quartered.....and call it a sport. Devil

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2430 posts]
25th December 2011 - 2:28

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Who are these people. I honestly had no idea who either of them were and I've been sport mad since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. (apart from football, which as far as I can tell, is just a way for oligarchs to flash some cash on racists and people who need some arse hair transplanted on to their heads. *shrug*)

MercuryOne wrote:
I am exasperated with the continued ignoring of cycling (and women's sport) by much of the press.

On a magnitude of achievements basis, (and even given the amazing year that British sportsmen had),Nicole Cooke should at least been in the SPOTY top 3 in 2008.

posted by Matt_S [178 posts]
25th December 2011 - 11:09

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@ CraigTheBiker. So true. I'd never heard of Mr Brazil and, judging by his blathering, I doubt whether he has the sort of knowledge about sport that would have made him a must-have on "A Question of Sport". Football being so far off my personal radar of interest I won't be beating a path to his website either...... Big Grin

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posted by TiNuts [92 posts]
25th December 2011 - 15:57

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CraigTheBiker wrote:

Methinks Mr Brazil, and his Talksport employers, know exactly what will happen as a result of saying something so controversial: lots of free publicity, an increase in website traffic and a lot more listeners!

I'm not so sure that AB is that clever. . . . but ask him about skiing which his family participate in and that's bound to be a sport. . . . whereas i think is just a dangerous means of transport.

. . . and AB said that cycling was not easy for people to do cos there were so few places in the uk to do it (I think he was thinking about velodromes). But up north in Manchester the coucil have built things called roads and I find they are quite good for racing along...

J Andrew Hill

Its a marathon, not a snickers

...

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posted by JAndrewHill [1153 posts]
25th December 2011 - 16:53

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Alan Brazil is a whopper. Most of talkshite's listenership appear to be whoppers so I don't really care what some petty poll has to say, I'm more knowledgeable in terms of cycling than their average listener, I'm also more knowledgeable on the subject of football as I can watch the game and form my own opinion as opposed to just repeating verbatim what the latest red top drivel is.

As somebody pointed out earlier, football was dragged into the mainstream and just look at what a horror show that has become.

Also, can I point out that Dr Fuentes is now working for several top football teams, clean as a whistle that sport...

posted by farrell [1015 posts]
26th December 2011 - 16:14

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I know who Giles Coren is actually.

He is a restaurant critic, and possibly a berk.

His finest work was a widely-circulated email to his sub-editor, tearing them a new arsehole for altering his copy so that his review of a restaurant ended on an unstressed syllable and lacked a couple of gay jokes.

I am not going to let him pollute my mind with irritation at him, and I suggest you all do likewise.

Cool

posted by BigDummy [266 posts]
28th December 2011 - 11:15

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People play football - you dont play @ cycling beleive me...everyone who's got any degree of inteligence upon learning of my interest in cycling look at myself in admirance.

Obviously Mr Brazil is purely 'playing' the obvious card here here..its quite self evident that Mark Cavendish is unheard of YET to win what he has is exemplified talent!

I wont have heard of the many talented sports stars that are to be in the Olympics this year but it doesnt mean I'll look down on them in a derogatory & self demeaning manner...

Football fans HATE anything getting the better of their beloved sport...

I spent some time in Italy, a while back & an Italian told me that football is looked on as a working class sport then Cycling is a sport that you've got to have talent for...

posted by yenrod [88 posts]
30th January 2012 - 14:35

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