Sherwen, with a S like smile

December 3 rd 2018 - 16:24

This weekend, the organisers of the Tour de France learned of the death of a man with a special place in its history, Paul Sherwen, who following his career as a cyclist, became one of the commentators with the broadest audience on the international stage.

He was part of the second wave of pioneers, one of a handful of British riders inspired by professional cycling’s packs and in particular on the Tour de France, in the somewhat belated wake of the riders who inspired him such as Brian Robinson or Tom Simpson. This robust all-rounder got his foot in the door of the elite via the Athletic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt, then discovered the Big Loop with the Fiat team (in 1978) before spending the most part of his career in the jersey of La Redoute, assisting in the first final podium of his team Stephen Roche (3e) on his last appearance in 1985… as a rider. Although most cycling enthusiasts may know little about Sherwen’s role of honour (a victory on the GP de Denain in 1983, a national title in 1987, etc.), a good many of them in the Anglo-Saxon world owe their first cycling-watching thrills to this peerless consultant. The duo he formed until last summer with his broadcasting partner Phil Liggett was the voice of Le Tour for Australians, Americans or English, igniting many a passion for two wheels in these countries. An incomparable ambassador for his sport to television viewers, Paul’s energy and cheery character also shone through the technical zone on the Tour de France, where all those who regularly came into contact with him will cherish the memory of a little joke in French, an old anecdote from his archives, or an unsurpassably happy smile whilst sharing a coffee before going “on air”. The teams of the Tour de France, shaken by the loss of a faithful friend, wish to extend their sincere condolences to his family and close friends.

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