Australian Cycling Insider has already covered the launch of the GCN Race Pass, concluding that it looks like a lot easier and slightly cheaper way for Australians to watch men’s road races not covered on free-to-air broacaster SBS, with a good chunk of cyclocross thrown in there as well.
There were still a few questions left unanswered by the launch information, so Australian Cycling Insider reached out to GCN to find some facts. Turns out, Daniel Lloyd – former professional cyclist, presenter and commentator for GCN – was more than happy to help us out.
Lloyd has been quite active on social media since the announcement of GCN Race Pass and was happy to be the front man for what he considers a value-driven project for viewers.
“We really hope it’ll be an easy way for Australian fans to watch racing, and a quality product too,” said Lloyd.
Australia operates as a different market for the consumption of cycling, being so drastically time-shifted from the rest of the world, often to the middle of the night for European races. That makes ‘on demand’ viewing a must for most, and GCN will be providing that service as well as the live broadcast.
“In terms of replays,” said Lloyd, “every live race will be available ‘on demand’ for a good few months after. The exact length of time that we’re allowed to keep it up will depend on the contract, but there will always be plenty of time to catch up on races.”
In fact, there are only two road races, Gent-Wevelgem and Strade Bianche, that you wouldn’t be able to see for free already on SBS. It’s an issue that Lloyd acknowledges, although he noted that GCN covered the Santos Women’s Tour, Herald Sun Tour and Omloop het Nieuwbald before the coronavirus halted racing, and that a large proportion of the women’s calendar has effectively been wiped out in the reschedule of racing.
“Regarding women’s races, I’ve personally been really pushing for a long time to acquire as many rights as we can to their top races,” said Lloyd. “It’s not always easy, as you can imagine, but I really want to create a hub where we can all watch those races in the same place, and try to build up the following and the women’s side of the sport in general.”
An aspect that can add a lot to the coverage of races is the production outside of the race footage, with experts in studio and interviewers on the ground to bring added context for viewers at home. There will be a close link with Eurosport on live productions, so it’s safe to assume that it will be a familiar product for viewers.
“In terms of production, this is something that we have been working on really closely with Eurosport,” said Lloyd. “So, the commentary will be predominantly the same as Eurosport’s. The only outlier being Japanese races, where they don’t already have commentary teams, so we’ll be hiring people ourselves.
“Reporting: that was one of the main reasons why we hired Bernie Eisel. He’ll be our reporter – both GCN and Eurosport – at the biggest races. I’m really happy to have Bernie, as he’s a well known face, well liked, and speaks multiple languages fluently.
“Post race shows will be combination of GCN and Eurosport working together. Race previews will be solely a GCN thing, as is the new World of Cycling weekly show.”
If you’re unfamiliar with GCN’s content on Youtube, they do a wide variety of tech news and evaluations, race news, race previews and on-bike content. A laugh or two is rarely far away in the watching of their videos, but there’s a serious level of nous accompanying their analytic work as well.
One of the focuses of the GCN App is to bring a closer connection between the audience and the race, with polls reacting to events as they play out and bringing an easier upload process for those looking to add their experience to the various segments that GCN produce.
“We are going to be working on improving the coverage to get our viewers more involved in what’s going on, with polls and quizzes and general opinion,” said Lloyd. “The aim is not to be just voices talking to fans, but also to get the voices of the fans, if that makes sense.
“So, for example, if you had a situation like Lopez punching a fan at the Giro last year after being knocked off his bike, we’d get the opinion of viewers, not just of pundits/commentators.”
In total the GCN Race Pass offers access to 41 races that won’t be shown free-to-air, though that’s a lot of race days when you consider all those stage races in there. Full list of races available in Australia is below.
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GCN Race List:
Strade Bianche (World Tour Mens and Womens)
Tour de Pologne (World Tour)
Tour de l’Ain
Milan-Sanremo (World Tour)
Criterium du Dauphine (World Tour- also free to air on SBS)
Giro Il Lombardia (World Tour)
Tour de L’Avenir (last two stages)
Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France (World Tour)
GP de Plouay
La Course by Le Tour (Womens- also free to air on SBS)
Brussels Cycling Classic
Tirreno-Adriatico (World Tour)
Tour de Luxembourg
GP de Wallonie
Giro della Toscana
Ethias Rapencross (CX)
BinckBank Tour (World Tour)
Fleche Wallonne (World Tour mens and womens- Also free to air on SBS)
European BMX championships
Giro d’Italia (World Tour)
Liege-Bastogne-Liege (World Tour mens and womens – Also free to air on SBS)
De Branbantse Pijl
Gent-Wevelgem (World Tour men’s and women’s)
Ethias b-mine (CX)
Tour of Flanders (World Tour mens and womens – Also free to air on SBS)
Vuelta a Espana (World Tour mens – Also free to air on SBS)
Driedaagse de Panne (mens and womens)
Paris-Roubaix (World Tour mens and womens – Also free to air on SBS)
Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta (Womens- Also free to air on SBS)
Ethias Leuven (CX)
Ethias Essen (CX)
Ethias Sylvestercross (CX)