Friday, 4 March 2011

Meeting David Harmon

You may not recognise him in the street, but you'd definitely recognise him if you heard his voice on the radio or TV.

Legendary cycling commentator David Harmon is a walking/talking "en-cycle-opaedia" of all things two-wheels, I had the pleasure of a couple of beers with him the other week. Fantastic opportunity to talk cycling with "the voice".

It's funny, as voices on TV often lead you to conjure up a mental image of what someone looks like in person. I had to google David to find a decent picture to recognise him! Those in the pro-peloton know him well, particularly when the Tour de France is on, he and Sean Kelly motor all over France together.

Taking the opportunity I asked David a few questions about a few issues, I didn't manage to write all the answers down in full, so they look a bit short and sweet, I was too busy listening!

  1. PJ - Contador situation? What's your view? DH - Contador was treated differently because he is a big star.
  2. PJ - Giro Contenders this year? DH - Basso. Menchov has a good chance too.
  3. PJ - TDF? It's between Schleck, Contador or Menchov. All have something to prove.
  4. PJ - Best cycling book you've ever read? DH - Kings of the Mountains - Matt Rendell. Great book about three men learning to race.
  5. PJ - View on Tour of Qatar. DH - Best race at start of season for windy conditions. Great race for sussing out form of rivals before the classics.
  6. PJ - View on race radios? Not necessary, never really liked them. Good compromise would be for a rider to be nominated road captain and only he could communicate with the Directeur Sportif. Would make for more interesting racing.
  7. PJ - Noticed on Twitter the other week that you and Bradley Wiggins were at Terry Dolans place at the same time. Co-incidence or is something cooking? DH - Co-incidence. Terry Dolan is the frame builder of our Team Wiggle Tandem. Bradley happened to be there as he was back in the UK and is big mates with Terry.

If you didn't know about Team Wiggle Tandem. It's an ambitious project to break a number of cycling records on a tandem. You can follow there goings on via Twitter here. Legendary rider Magnus Backstedt is one of the most recent people to get involved, taking the role of pilot for an attempt on the RRA 25M Time Trial record.

David sits on the back seat of the tandem and explained to me the subtleties of each position and what their role is. You may not know that David was an accomplished mountain biker racer in his day, before turning to the road and ultimately to commentating, via motor-sport (particularly Le Mans). All I can say is if I was on the back, I'd probably feel motion sick!

There isn't much/or anyone David doesn't know about/in cycling. Teams, riders, commercials, DS's, broadcasters, you name it, he knows it. I think the @spokesmen ID he has on Twitter sums it up about right. It was a fascinating couple of hours in the company of a very interesting, knowledgable and astute chap.

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