Matthew Keenan

Matthew is a regular SBS commentator at the Tour de France. Prior to heading into the commentary box Matthew spent two seasons racing in Europe and rides as often as possible to remind his legs of that feeling of grovelling up a climb.

Time for a fresh start

23 July 2009 | 0:00 - By Matthew Keenan

It's clearly time for Cadel Evans to make a new start but with most team rosters already well stocked he doesn't have many options, writes Matthew Keenan.


Team Silence-Lotto's Cadel Evans (AAP)

Much has been made of the problems with the Silence-Lotto team and what support they have or haven’t provided Cadel Evans at the Tour de France.

Coming into the 2009 edition, although not among the top six teams in the race, the team was the strongest that has been put on the road in support of Evans.

But, with the expectations for this year’s Tour not being met, the relationship between the Australian and his Belgian bosses appears to be strained to say the least.

There have been numerous suggestions that Evans should leave Silence-Lotto despite having another year on his contract.

But with all the top teams already having strong leaders in place where should he go?

Saxo Bank isn’t going to put Evans in ahead of Andy Schleck.

Columbia-HTC has so many options already that he’s not going to fit in there.

Three Italians at Liquigas, Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti and Ivan Basso, plus Roman Kreuziger rules them out.

Garmin-Slipstream has a structure that’s delivering results and is unlikely to make room for Cadel.

In Spain Caisse d’Epargne must be doing all they can to get Alberto Contador.

As for Astana, with the return of Alexandre Vinokourov, that isn’t shaping up as the right environment.

So what about taking a risk on a new team.

The British Sky team, due to hit the road next year, is headed up two Australians with proven records, Shane Sutton and Scott Sunderland

Sutton has been the architect of British cycling’s success and one of the most important figures in the career of Bradley Wiggins, particularly during some of the difficult periods.

Sunderland was one of the key Directeur Sportif’s at CSC behind Carlos Sastre’s 2008 Tour de France win and Stuart O’Grady’s victory in the 2007 Paris-Roubaix.

He was headhunted by the Cervelo Test Team because of his performances but was in such demand that Sutton then poached him before the season had even started.

Evans doesn’t have a reputation for being the easiest person in the world to work with, but these two men would be among the best to extract every last drop of talent out of the Australian.

They may even come up with a season structure that isn’t completely reliant on results at the Tour de France to measure whether or not it has been a successful year.

Any suggestions?

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06 Aug 2009 16:25 AEST


From: Essendon


Cadel has had a great career but maybe its time to forget about trying to win the Tour. Sorry to say but he's had his chances....

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02 Aug 2009 8:13 AEST


From: Sydney

Come back to Mountain bikes Cadel - You have no chance in TDF

Lets face it, Is Cadel really going to have a chance in the tour anymore ? It seems like who ever SIL recruit to assist Cadel at the mountain stages ,dont do their job! Like Popovych, he was no where to be seen when he was at Silence. He was physically capable but he refused to work for Cadel. Same with Van de broak. I think lot of these european riders can't accept Cadel as their leader. Cadel will only survive in an Australian team. Vote for Pedro.

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27 Jul 2009 19:49 AEST


From: Perth,WA

Sky Team, Radioshak Or Silence

Cadel Has Three Very Open Places To Go Sky Team - Obviously Its A Known Fact That There Are Some Big Risks In Joining New Teams, I Think That Cadel May Not Be The Best To Work With But If Sutton And Sunderland Are As Good As What People Say With Being Domestiques It Doesnt Matter How Hard He Is Too Work With Because These Boys Will Run Him Hard. Radioshak - Cadel Has The Option Of Joining Radioshak And Becoming A Domestique For Armstrong When Being A Domestique He Will Learn How To Be A Leader And Win The Tour. Silence - Theres Still One Year Left On His Contract He Could Stay With Silence Because We All Know Silence Doesnt Have The Best Tactics But They Do Have Some Good Riders That Are Learning To Become Very Very Good, Such As Van Den Broek, He Beat Cadel This Year(He Came 15th) Silence Didnt Have Good Year Theyre 3 Best Riders Were: 15th(VAN DEN BROEK) 30th(EVANS) 46TH(LLOYD)

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27 Jul 2009 18:49 AEST


From: Richmond, Victoria

Cadel and Silence

Ok at first I thought with the form of VDB and his nationality it was time for Cadel to leave Silence. But on second thoughts look at the teams that have been successful in attempting GC honours this year. Astana, Garmin and Saxo Bank all had at least two potential tour winners in their teams, in the case of Astana it was perhaps four. So let Cadel and VDB work together and if Cadel feels the fact that he is not Belgian is a problem then he can attack like Contador did this year and their form will decide the leader.

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27 Jul 2009 17:32 AEST


From: Australia

A general rant

I disagree with all those on this comments board who say that Evans is a whinger - I actually think his team has been poor on form and tactics since 2005. But I agree with those who say he is not the same calibre rider as Contador or Shleck. He won't be able to do the old Indurain routine--defend in the mountains and win in the time trials--now that Contador is one of the best time trialists around. On the Liggett and Sherwen duo - I love em. Yes every year they say the same things ('Big' Jens Voigt, 'Big' Thor Hushovd, 'the peleton is the name given to the main body of riders...') but I love these little platitudes and they call the action better than anyone else. Keenan is a great commentator and will surely get his turn when Liggett retires or when some international station poaches him (hopefully he stays with SBS though).

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27 Jul 2009 16:49 AEST


From: Hornsby

Matt Keena is great!

I thought Matt keenan's commentary was excellent, and would like to see him be one of the main commentators next year. Liggett and Sherwen are icons, but even icons can get stale. They rely too much of repetitive patter, much of which is recycled from year to year. Paul Sherwen has coined some great phases but he trots them out too often. But my real gripe, is that often, at key moments, they are too busy telling their current story about what riders are thinking and feeling ( a bit interpretative, hey?) and not paying attenuation to what IS happening - sudden breaks and moves by the riders. Whereas Keenan is much more on the ball, following the camera shots much more closely. About Cadel, I think his time has come and gone, unless he makes the break and goes to another team and reinvents himself as a stage winner possibly. He seems too individual to be a team player, but not strong enough mentally to be a yellow jersey contender or leader. And I'm not keen on an Aussie team. I like the international flavour of many teams like Columbia, and the bonding across nationality, not because of it, and don't think Australia is nearly strong enough in rider talent yet, or rich enough to have its own team anyway. But a great show, SBS once again. Thanks!

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27 Jul 2009 12:01 AEST



Cadel Evans, SBS Coverage and Matthew Keenan

I cannot agree with Theiron, Queensland re the commentary team. Not everyone watching is a cyclist and understands the TdF. I enjoy Paul and Phil's comments. However, I do not appreciate that Fairfax journalist at the end with Mike Tomalaris. He is an unnecessary addition. Re Cadel showing his feelings--maybe he does need to learn to dissembe a bit, but he seems to be an honourable guy. Everyone says dump Silence Lotto and his comment is he has another year on his contract and will stay with them. He has complimented his team members too, but no-one mentions that. As for Armstrong--when Contador got the first yellow jersey, Armstrong was interviewed and said "let him keep it" and as a bit of a sneer "I have seven at home". How come nobody criticised him? Cavendish slagged Thor re the green jersey, although he was big enough to apologise later. It seems to me that all the top guys have touchy egos and occasionally let their frustrations show. Not unexpected after hours of gruelling riding. Give them a break. I wish Cadel, all the Aussies, SBS a great TdF in 2010.

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27 Jul 2009 10:42 AEST


From: Queensland

Matthew Keenan & Cadel Evans

I agree that Matthew Keenan did an excellent job commentating on Le Tour, I would be so bold as to sugget that SBS jetison the undynamic duo Paul & Phil in favour of Matt Keenan doing the whole of the next tour as our very own commentator. After Mathew Keenan gives way to the Duo I usually turn off the sound, having heard the same rhetoric from both of the English pair for more years than I care to remember, I preffer to not listen to their take on what's really going on. They both drone on for over two hours each telecast, about the goings and coming of the peleton and in most cases we've heard it all before and can, by just watching the idiot box, see what is actually happening without being told. Matthew Keenan's knowledge is second to none even his description of the scenery is first rate too, he's "The Man Who Knows His Stuff". As far as Cadel Evans is concerned, he is a very good bike rider, he's proved that beyond doubt with his past performances not only on the road but MTB as well. However he's also a very sensative person as well, it is almost impossible for someone to change their basic nature and that's not always a bad thing. Where I think he goes wrong is to show his frustration with what he is handed by his team mates and the other riders within the peleton, and that's counter productive. I wouldn't insult his intelligence by suggesting hew toughen up but it would be to his advantage to do just that, almost appear nonchalant instead of showing his true emotions and his feelings, as he did after the stage where he was virtually given the bums rush by Fabian and the others in that breakaway. We all know the reason why they did that and in my opinion it was bad sportsmanship on their behalf. However knowing they would be targetted by the Astana Team, if they allowed Cadel to stay within their ranks during that breakaway, was a trifle selfish albeit teh way thing are done during Le Tour . I also agree it's time to cut and run, if Cadel isn't really happy in his present team then a mutual arrangement could be worked out where he goes to another team as a very well credentialed domestique, he would not only have the pressure off by supporting another team leader but could do himself a lot of favours and possibly be allowed by the peleton to get away and at the same time make a better name for himself by winning a couple of stages into the bargain. Now having said that he will always be a marked man on the bike as the others know of his capabilities, it's a tough call no matter what he decides to do, he just needs to take a little time out now and spend a few days/weeks chilling out, talking to those close to him.

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26 Jul 2009 11:33 AEST


From: Brisbane

Listen to the man with the knowledge

Matt, thank you for such great work at the mic playing the Uber-domestique to Liggett/Sherwen on commentary. Your knowledge of the field is top shelf and we would have all benefitted from your presence in May when SBS was in chaos with the poor skills of Paddy in the commentary box. So, Cadel should give you an ear. I reckon it would pay dividends.

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26 Jul 2009 10:11 AEST

Bruce Spiel

From: Brisbane

Become a domestique

Cadel should join Radioshack and ride for Lance. Learn how a true chamion rides and how to become a leader.

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About this Blog

Matthew is a regular SBS commentator at the Tour de France. Prior to heading into the commentary box Matthew spent two seasons racing in Europe and rides as often as possible to remind his legs of that feeling of grovelling up a climb.

Matthew Keenan Matthew Keenan