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London 2012 Olympics: BBC"s Olympic coverage

Goggle Eyes: Redgrave too eager to congratulate Grainger after triumph

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UPDATED:

23:52 GMT, 3 August 2012

Golden kiss

Below is the moment Sir Steve Redgrave was a little too eager in trying to congratulate his friend Katherine Grainger on winning her first gold medal at an Olympics. It was a very friendly peck on the cheek.

Tongue tied

Colin
Jackson wasn't lost for words but couldn't find the right ones in the
excitement after Jess Ennis got off to a flyer in the heptathlon: 'I
can't underestimate when I say that was a phenomenal personal best.'
Er… what

On the lips: Sir Steve Redgrave may have been overly eager to congratulate his friend Katherine Grainger

On the lips: Sir Steve Redgrave may have been overly eager to congratulate his friend Katherine Grainger

Thumbs up for… Hazel humour

Hazel Irvine provided the voiceover for a mid-afternoon news round-up. 'On a lighter note, or maybe not,' said Irvine, as 34st 5lb judoka Ricardo Blas JR of Guam flashed on the screen. He weighs 10 stone more than any other athlete at the Games in London.

Thumbs down for… The BBC's reaction to Hindes 'fall' admission

First, Gabby Logan cut in on John McEnroe late on Thursday night just as the tennis legend was about to fume at Philip Hindes's deliberate crash in the Velodrome. Then on Friday, Jake Humphrey, Chris Boardman and Mark Cavendish washed over the subject with mealy-mouthed platitudes.

Prince of Denim-ark

Great Britain's team of men's pursuiters were presented with their gold medals by the Prince of Denmark, who was wearing jeans! I bet our newly crowned Queen Victoria was most unimpressed.

On a lighter note: Guam's Ricardo Blas Jr is the heaviest athlete at the Games by 10 stone

On a lighter note: Guam's Ricardo Blas Jr is the heaviest athlete at the Games by 10 stone

Pundits' form guide

Denise Lewis, heptathlon ………..9/10

Been there, done that, got the gold medal, and exuded that authority in the event when she talked about it.

Steve Redgrave, rowing ………..7/10

Almost lost for words and bubbling when Katherine Grainger won gold, a nice touch from the man who knows all about it.

Michael Johnson, sprinting………….9/10

The best authority on running the Beeb could have recruited. Nice work.

Matthew Pinsent, rowing………5/10

Friendly with the mums and dads but provided little insight.

Mark Cavendish, cycling…………..3/10

Philip Hindes called the integrity of his sport into question. Cav failed to address it.

Mark Cavendish failed to comment on Phillip Hindes admitting he deliberately fell off his bike in the velodrome

Mark Cavendish failed to comment on Phillip Hindes admitting he deliberately fell off his bike in the velodrome

Problem of Olympic proportions is tricky for BBC

Problem of Olympic proportions is tricky for BBC after stuttering start to coverage

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UPDATED:

22:19 GMT, 29 July 2012

Olympics 2012

Commentators, Hugh Porter and Chris Boardman, were left floundering, having to guess who was where in the race and the relative distances between the chased and the chasers.

The Olympic men’s road race is an event built around subtle tactics and specialist moves, so it was an inauspicious Olympics opener.

The BBC wasted no time in putting a spoke in the wheel of the Olympic Broadcast Services, who in turn blamed the information providers — or non-providers as it was.

Poor coverage: The BBC have been slammed for their broadcast of the men's road race

Poor coverage: The BBC have been slammed for their broadcast of the men's road race

It would seem that GPS systems struggled to handle some of the external factors thrown up during the race — hills and excessive mobile phone use believed to be among them — and so broadcasters worldwide were left to cope — some better than others, no doubt.

During an Olympic Games there are daily meetings between the likes of Olympic Broadcast Services and the world’s broadcasters — I’ve no idea how long Sunday’s meeting lasted, but I bet it went the full distance.

Thankfully things improved, on and off the road on Sunday, as OBS cameras caught the thrilling end to the women’s road race and a much-deserved silver medal for Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead.

Although the BBC are very much ‘our’ broadcaster of the Olympics, the actual sports themselves are covered by a range of production and technical staff gathered together by a company, Olympics Broadcast Services.

Better: The coverage improved for the women's road race on Sunday

Better: The coverage improved for the women's road race on Sunday

Indeed, it is part of the contract with the host city that OBS originate the core coverage.

OBS, in turn, aim to produce a technically top-class and ‘nation neutral’ service of event coverage.

They pride themselves on assembling some of the world’s leading sports television practitioners, but Saturday’s cycling proved nobody is infallible.

Also their ‘neutral’ coverage of Saturday’s gymnastics left some BBC viewers let down as to the scarce visibility of the British team’s great efforts.

Moving on, my own take on Friday’s Opening Ceremony was…BBC.

I thought it was Brilliant, Bonkers and Captivating.

It was a privilege watching it — at home in front of the television like nearly 27 million others.

Sparkling start: The opening ceremony sent jingles down the spine of the nation

Sparkling start: The opening ceremony sent jingles down the spine of the nation

The BBC themselves are off and running.

They are an experienced bunch — and it shows.

Their 24 channel streaming service is mind-blowing. At the press of a button, I knew it was raining at Wimbledon but a sunny day in Weymouth.

I was also reminded, like I am every four years, that playing in goal in a handball match may just be one of the toughest gigs in sport, that I will be regularly returning to the beach volleyball, and that air pistol shooting will never be a top television draw.

The beauty of the BBC’s comprehensive Olympic coverage, however, is if handball or air pistol shooting are your bag then at the press of a button they are there for you.

Smooth operator: Gary Lineker has looked at home fronting the BBC's Olympic coverage

Smooth operator: Gary Lineker has looked at home fronting the BBC's Olympic coverage

On-screen, Gary Lineker looks and sounds sharp.

Clare Balding is an assured and clued-up presence at the Aquatics Centre and, after something of a nervous start, I sense Mishal Husain will prove a real asset.

Guests will be wheeled in and out of the BBC studio like a revolving door.

But I did feel on Saturday evening, Gabby Logan’s ‘stellar trio’ of John McEnroe, Dame Kelly Holmes and Michael Johnson had been booked on the wrong night given the sports on which they were asked to express an opinion.

Plenty of time to put that right.

Brian Barwick: Great Brit Bradley Wiggins a highlight for ITV4

Brian Barwick: Great Brit Bradley a highlight for ITV4

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UPDATED:

19:58 GMT, 12 July 2012

One of the real annual treats of sports television during the summer has become ITV4's coverage of the Tour de France.

Stunning scenery, cyclists getting into sprints, scrapes and scraps,
crazy road-side spectators and now, a British man very much at the front
of the field.

Stunning: Bradley Wiggins and the French mountain backdrop

Stunning: Bradley Wiggins and the French mountain backdrop

eleventh stage of the 2012 Tour de France

eleventh stage of the 2012 Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins is great television on and off his bike, even if his
press conferences can occasionally turn the air blue just like, say,
Westminster Magistrates Court.

But for the Tour's broadcasters in the UK, he is absolute gold dust,
just like his Team Sky colleague and last year's BBC Sports Personality
of the Year, Mark Cavendish.

At last we have our own riders to get
excited about, having lived on a diet of brilliant exponents of this
two-wheeled drama from much further afield.

ITV4, like British Eurosport, carry
large chunks of the Tour live, anywhere between three and five hours
daily, but for many it is their highlights programme at 7pm that is
required viewing. It is a little gem.

A comprehensive pull-together of the
best of the day's stage action, post-stage interviews and analysis, with
a regular feature on some unusual aspect of Tour life.

Chris Boardman

Marvellous: Chris Boardman

At the helm of the company, who put the ITV4 output together, are the vastly experienced Brian Venner and Carolyn Viccari.

Brian, a former BBC Grandstand producer, now in his late seventies, and his distinguished colleague Carolyn have been associated with Tour coverage since the mid-1980s when Channel 4's half-hour highlights show became a cult hit.

ITV took up the reins in 2001 and have benefited in recent years from an upsurge in cycling, both as a sport and a leisure pursuit, in this country.

In a team of long-termers, Gary Imlach has fronted the Tour coverage since 1991. A much underrated presenter, his journalistic instincts have served him particularly well over the years in the balancing act of rightly praising great sporting feats of derring-do, while also reporting with authority about the shadow of drug abuse that has plagued the sport.

He has become well practised in having to switch gears quickly.

Alongside him is the former Olympic champion and Tour veteran, Chris Boardman. His analysis often involves him getting on his bike himself – and the other night giving us a run-down on the use of elliptical chainrings, as you do.

Marvellous stuff.

Ned Boulting is a talented maker of short films and gets a lot into a little. He is also the man asking Wiggins and Team Sky the questions at the end of a stage.

In the commentary box, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen describe the action. Their commentary is taken by broadcasters the world over but you sense at the moment they are relishing the 'UK angle'. However, occasionally they could help the newcomer to this sport by way of a little more explanation.

Finally, away from the riders and their bikes, there is the programme's other great attraction – the stunning French scenery.

Somebody once told me that half the people who watched Ski Sunday tuned in to look at the beautiful snow-clad mountains.

During the Tour de France many viewers must just love France Television's gift of showing us their country's breathtaking summer face.

Tour de France 2012: Bradley Wiggins retains lead after 10 stages

Great Briton Wiggins retains yellow jersey after 10 stages of Tour de France

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UPDATED:

16:28 GMT, 11 July 2012

Briton Bradley Wiggins successfully defended the yellow jersey for a third day as the Tour de France headed towards the Alps and Thomas Voeckler won the 10th stage in the Jura Mountains.

The 194.5-kilometre route from Macon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine featured the first hors categorie (beyond category) ascent, the 17.4km climb of Col du Grand Colombier, and had the potential to shake up the general classification.

But Wiggins, with Team Sky colleague Richie Porte strong throughout the day, finished three minutes 16 seconds behind Voeckler to retain a 1min 53secs lead over second-placed Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). Chris Froome (Team Sky) stayed third, 2:07 behind.

Glamour game: Bradley Wiggins on the podium after stage 10 of the Tour de France

Glamour game: Bradley Wiggins on the podium after stage 10 of the Tour de France

Defending champion Evans attempted to claw back some seconds in the finale but Wiggins was alert and stuck to the Australian's wheel to roll in one place behind him in 13th place.

Voeckler (Europcar), who wore the maillot jaune for 10 days of the 2011 Tour, finished ahead of Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), with Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) third. It was the Frenchman's third Tour stage success.

Wiggins will on Thursday become the first Briton to wear the maillot jaune for four days in one Tour, beating the previous best of three days set by Chris Boardman in 1994 and David Millar in 2000, but keeping it in Paris on July 22 is his main goal.

Fan-tastic: Wiggins and his fellow Brits are cheered on by a colourful character during stage 10

Fan-tastic: Wiggins and his fellow Brits are cheered on by a colourful character during stage 10

The 148km 11th stage from Albertville to La Toussuire features two hors categorie (beyond category) climbs and ends with an 18km category one ascent to the finish.

It is a day when his lead in the general classification could come under threat.

A 25-man break including Britons Steve Cummings, Millar (Garmin-Sharp) and points classification leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), a winner of three stages thus far, established an advantage of more than five minutes 70 kilometres into the stage.

All smiles: Bradley Wiggins (right) and team-mate Mark Cavendish at the start of the 10th stage of the Tour de France

All smiles: Bradley Wiggins (right) and team-mate Mark Cavendish at the start of the 10th stage of the Tour de France

Cummings is a BMC Racing team-mate of Evans and was joined by another colleague, Marcus Burghardt.

It was perhaps an indication as to Evans' tactics, with the duo in position to potentially support the Australian later in the day.

The escape group splintered as soon as
they began long ascent of the Col du Grand Colombier, at an average
gradient of 7.1 per cent.

Scenic route: The riders make their way from Macon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine

Scenic route: The riders make their way from Macon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine

The summit came 43km from the finish, but the tempo set by Team Sky limited the prospect of attacks.

Luis-Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) was the first to attack from the escape group, 11km from the summit, and he was joined by Voeckler, Scarponi and Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) by the top.

Behind the quartet, Edvald Boasson Hagen was at the front of the Team Sky-led peloton, with Porte and Michael Rogers ahead of Wiggins, pedalling serenely in the maillot jaune, and Froome behind.

Catch me if you can: Wiggins holds on to the yellow jersey after 10 stages of the Tour de France

Catch me if you can: Wiggins holds on to the yellow jersey after 10 stages of the Tour de France

Evans was sticking to the wheel of Wiggins, who had yellow handlebar tape to accessorise with the maillot jaune, watching every revolution.

Porte took control and successfully snuffed out two attempted attacks by Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol).

The long descent saw Vincenzo Nibali forge forward and establish a lead over Wiggins of almost a minute, but it proved fruitless come the day's final climb.

Thirsty work: Wiggins takes a bottle from Cavendish during stage 10

Thirsty work: Wiggins takes a bottle from Cavendish during stage 10

With Porte looking strong, dragging his Team Sky colleagues along, Nibali was caught midway up the 7.2km category three Col de Richemond.

The summit of came 20.5km from the finish, but Nibali opted not to take the opportunity to seek to break clear.

Up ahead, Voigt joined the leading quartet before Devenyns attacked on his own with 2.5km to go.

The gap was bridged and Voeckler made his move with less than 1km to go solo to victory.

Evans made a number of bursts in the closing moments, but Wiggins played a watchful role to hold on to the overall lead.

Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) finished in the same group to stay fourth overall, 2:23 behind.

Still trailing: Cadel Evans remains in second place behind Wiggins

Still trailing: Cadel Evans remains in second place behind Wiggins

Chris Boardman tips Bradley Wiggins to win Tour de France

Boardman tips Wiggins for Tour de France glory after securing Paris-Nice title

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UPDATED:

19:22 GMT, 12 March 2012

Bradley Wiggins has all the ingredients to win the 2012 Tour de France, three-time stage winner Chris Boardman said.

'I think this will be his best ever chance to win it,' Boardman told BBC Sport. 'Physically and mentally he’s in great shape and has the team support.

'There is more time-trialling in the Tour than there has been in the past, so this could be Bradley’s year.'

Tour de force: Wiggins won the Paris-Nice title and has the big one in his sights

Tour de force: Wiggins won the Paris-Nice title and has the big one in his sights

Wiggins captured the Paris-Nice title on Sunday, the first British winner of the race since Tom Simpson in 1967.

'There are three very big races in France, the Tour de France, the Dauphine and the Paris-Nice and to become the first Briton in 45 years to win this is a phenomenal achievement,' added Boardman.

'He would have kept his cool and made sure that when he crossed the line he couldn’t have done anything else. Experience is what helped him see it through.'

Golden boy: Boardman knows just what it takes to achieve at the top of cycling, seen here with the medal he won in Barcelona 1992

Golden boy: Boardman knows just what it takes to achieve at the top of cycling, seen here with the medal he won in Barcelona 1992

Wiggins came fourth in the Tour De France in 2009, equalling Robert Millar's best ever performance by a British rider.

After switching to Team Sky, he came a disappointing 24th in 2010 and crashed out of last year’s event after breaking his collarbone in a pile-up.