The growing coverage of pro cycling is a sure sign of the popularity of the sport in Australia and the fans are the big winners, writes Michael Tomalaris.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

When is too much cycling on television never enough?

The answer
to that question is superfluous, but we're finding out given the growing
line-up of programming currently being enjoyed on our small screens.

Australian
audiences have been inundated with European racing in the last month or
so across a number of networks and platforms.

Never before have
we been spoiled with the glut of top events being broadcast, whether
it's live or produced in packages, it's an indication of the level of
high-demand generated from this side of the globe.

From the Tour
Down Under to the early season stage races and onto the Spring Classics,
we are now in a position to have an abundance of choice available to
enjoy the variety on offer in the world of professional cycling.

That
said, it came as a surprise when a training buddy leaned across to me
during a ride last weekend and "complained" that he was failing to keep
up with the amount of cycling currently on offer on our TV sets.

He
said he was forced to record programmes as his daily schedule "couldn't
keep up."

Couldn't keep up?! I never thought I'd hear the
day....

Sections of the cycling public, in the past, have often
accused SBS, for one reason or another, for FAILING to land the
broadcast rights to certain events on the UCI calendar.

But to
now argue there was too much on at the moment? Please!

As
mentioned in a previous
blog, the "vultures are circling" and TV executives from other
networks, commercial or subscription, are on full alert for any
available cycling events for broadcast.

With the Giro about to
begin, I've noticed some astute Cycling Central readers are asking why
SBS doesn't screen live stages of Italy's Grand Tour, opting instead for
live coverage of each of the stages in the Tour of California?

Without
wanting to sound detrimental to my Italian TV colleagues, it seems they
choose to "line their pockets" rather than market their wonderful race
to the world.

In other words, the modest budget SBS has at its
disposal doesn't cater for the relative huge costs charged by the Giro's
owners.

But take it from me, that is set to change sooner rather
than later.

But make no mistake, SBS' on going commitment to
world cycling will continue and grow in the coming years andd we have
big plans for specific events on the cycling calendar, and for our
overall coverage of the sport.

As you can imagine it can
sometimes be a difficult balancing act making all of our viewers happy.

But
it's important to remember SBS is not specifically a network dedicated
to sport and has responsibilities to meet its charter to cater for a
cross-section of viewers.

Having said all this, we will have
nightly highlights of the Giro which will complement by live coverage of
the ToC in the coming weeks.

And with the Tour de France just
nine weeks away, surely, that can be never be more than enough.