“Hey – did you see that flat finish at the Tour of Turkey?” This, I am fairly confident, is a question that had never before passed the lips of even the most obsessive cycling fan. But that was before this year’s penultimate stage, which yesterday provided the most dramatic and chortlesome final kilometres of the season so far, thanks in no small part to the somewhat enthusiastic approach of Eurosport’s Carlton Kirby.
With the peloton destined to catch the six-man leading group, Omega Pharma’s Iljo Keisse escaped and hammered out a lead of 31 seconds on the bunch going into the final kilometre. Then, with the stage his for the taking, the Belgian fell off on a tight right-hander – and lost even more time by remounting without realising that his ruddy chain had come off. Gah!
Kirby’s reaction to Keisse’s misfortune is a glorious, unrestrained minute-and-a-half OMG-gasm which no sports fan with an ounce of passion in their hearts can fail to warm to. Who cares if all attempts at impartiality are thrown out of the commentator’s box with the throaty yelp: “C’MON, KEISSE, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE!” And who cares if he misreads the race twice (once on the aerial shot as the bunch take the right-hander, the second time a few metres from the line)? Kirby channeled the viewer’s amazement and excitement, which in that sort of situation is what great sports commentary is all about.
And this was only the Tour of flippin’ Turkey! Imagine what this guy could do over three weeks in July. C’MON, EUROSPORT BOSSES, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE!