Tour De Francis

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  • Tour De Francis
  • Holyzeus

    They should of turned the documentary into the adverts, then we wouldn’t be having this sort of conversation. He comes across as an ok guy, good luck to him

    Here we go, this’ll be fun. I was involved in the idents/documentary. I’m not going to try and convince you the idents don’t annoy you because they clearly do. That wasn’t the intention. We cut 24. It probably doesn’t feel like it from the consensus here, but that was the number that meant if you were watching 3 hours of live coverage from start to finish, you wouldn’t see the same one twice.
    However, if you’re watching the Tour a lot, they will no doubt repeat and irritate to some degree.

    To some of the questions posed here:

    – “they should have turned the documentary into the adverts” – that’s pretty much what we did. But when you take a 10-second clip and it’s repeated every day for 3 weeks it might wear thin over time. It’s very hard to get across the essence of a 15-minute film in 10 seconds. The web address in every ident takes you to the film, but ITV won’t let you say anything that actively encourages people away from the show they’re watching. Fair enough, they want you to watch the telly.

    – chronology: we tried to tell the story in chronological order but when you have a highlights show immediately followed by live coverage that people dip in and out of, it’s impossible to ensure people see everything in the right order.

    – We chose the soundbites, not Dan. He had no editorial control. So, yes, he said “smashing it up and down the river” once, we chose to use it and ITV4 play it out a lot. If that lexicon irritates at first hearing, I can appreciate it’s going to be like an open wound for 3 weeks… Aim your ire at me.

    – Tears: our fault again. We ambushed Dan when he was freezing and knackered at the top of Croix de Fer. If a climb has never reduced you to tears, perhaps it won’t resonate with you.

    – Nothing was scripted. Wasn’t for charity either (it was never positioned as such) unless you count Halfords – and some of you may.

    – TourdeDickhead: saw that. But no one I know was involved in getting it taken down. I can only assume the author thought better of it or Blogspot took it down themselves.

    – Never meant to portray Dan as heroic – just a personal account of taking his passion/hobby to the next level. It’s not about outdoing other amateurs or the pros either, it was about him testing himself, in the same way that everyone here has personal goals they want to achieve.

    – Do people doubt a £1000 bike could survive this? I don’t honestly know, but if you’re looking to torture test a bike, the Tour de France is a good place to start and given that Halfords are sponsoring the coverage, it made a lot of sense. And you don’t need to do the whole Tour to make the point.

    – “portraying an image of cycling that is totally wrong” – It portrays an image of cycling that differs from your experience and perception. I don’t think it sets out to represent the sport as a whole. Just one guy’s experience of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a whole team built around you and supporting you. Take it from me, Dan knew he was on the dream ticket, made sure he appreciated every moment of it and remained good-humoured throughout. Very hard to portray the definitive anything in 10-second snippets. You take a guy out of his comfort zone, have him spend a week with people he’s never met before and stick a camera in his face all the time, would you get the ‘real’ Dan? I’d venture that, this film aside, he has more in common with you than you know. He loves the same sport as you.

    Final point: if you don’t like the idents (repetition aside) or the documentary, they’re probably not aimed at you. Halfords isn’t Rapha, Colnago or Litespeed and they know that. Imagine you own a £400 bike and, inspired by Wiggo et al, you’re thinking of taking it up a level, these ads and the film might appeal. And they won’t see those bloody idents quite as often as you.

    Final final point: Dan has an alibi for the whole carpet tack episode.

    Premier Icon Ladders

    Here we go, this’ll be fun……
    ….And they won’t see those bloody idents quite as often as you.

    Bet your pleased at the amount of publicity all these discussions, love it / hate it have caused though! 😉


    I would have rather seen a documentary about Donal Harrington’s ride from last year.

    Properly unbelievable story

    I would have rather seen a documentary about Donal Harrington’s ride from last year.

    He’s leading a team in the tour of Ireland this year IIRC?

    to all the earnest handwringers, I dont think anyone is shallow enough to genuinely hate someone on the basis of 30 seconds of footage. Whether or not he really mouthed such vapid drivel as “smashing it up and down”, or not being able to imagine himself riding on a public road, blame the marketing monkeys for chosing to show us it thinking it had some value.

    And sitting watching all the ITV4 footage I’m sure I haven’t seen 24 different adverts (sorry, to me an “ident” is when I get a fingerprint or DNA hit back…).

    And generic, nicely cut and paste from

    Dan Francis: an apology (of sorts).

    which has already been linked on here. Personally I thought the hater blog was funny, I like disproportionate ranty humour, and I’m sure Mr Francis is laughing all the way to the bank with a photo album full of memories.

    I AM glad that people are spending money on advertising, paying for terrestrial TV coverage of cycling, bringing it to a wider audience to the extent ITV4 are putting on a “cycle show” series to cover the wider sport.

    However I’m now either muting it or flicking over from ITV4 to Eurosport stream though, so it’s been sucessful in driving me away from the rest of ITV4’s advertisers. Law of unintended consequences?

    I know what its like to be almost reduced to tears when your knackered halfway through a long ride and your battling a headwind, so up a mountain in the freezing cold its no surprise he was emotional, the keyboard hardmen on here won’t agree though!


    genericusername, have you been inspired by the adverts to leave your Ford Focus at home and cycle to the Station instead? 😉

    Premier Icon DavidB

    The hater blog has been removed. I wonder why?

    Everyone is forgetting that Francis is a tri-athlete and should be ostracised for that alone 😉

    crashtestmonkey: I know the parkinginstevenage link well – I wrote that too. There were some points I hadn’t covered there, so I raised them here.

    Only fair to warn you to keep the mute button handy for the ‘Bradley Wiggins: A Very British Champion’ idents/sponsor messages too. I promise no frogs legs, smashing it or sharing the tarmac though.

    Premier Icon flange

    The blog was created in the first place to ridicule the cringe-worthy moments like the ‘phone call to the wife’ bit, or the cheering at the top of the mountain bit. From comments on the blog last night, people felt it took on a more sinister element, talking about his wife – totally untrue and not something that even the blogger would find funny.

    You have to expect the ridicule if you’re going to put yourself up for something like this. Going off his posts after the first showings it would indicate that Francis is starting to believe his own hype. Less than 4 stages were ridden, it was a marketing campaign to promote Halfords, nothing more, nothing less. To those that are saying its jealousy, there’s nothing to stop anyone looking up the tour route, driving over there and doing the stages themselves. Or entering the Etape or something similar. On a bike they actually want to ride and without having to be filmed and do pointless cheering/mock seriousness. I’ve done it, its good fun. I recommend it.

    The adverts are annoying and it makes me dive for the remote every time an ad break looms. No, its not life and death and yes – I should be working rather than watching the tour, but he’s annoying, the adverts are annoying and hence the big piss take. Disproportionate the rant might have been, but it wouldn’t make for much of a blog if it just had one post saying ‘oooohhhh, he’s a bit annoying isn’t he, still, I’m sure he’s lovely and the camera man probably isn’t a vegan’…..


    genericusername – I think we appreciate what you are saying and thansk for the information, and you have explained some things, but shame on all the people involved who have actually managed to make cycling 4 stages of the TdF seem BORING. Yes, watching paint dry Wagners ring cycle sunday tea with the in-laws BOOOORING.


    genericusername – So, what about my criticism, why couldn’t you predict it might be REALLY bloody cold when you went up there and bring some decent cold weather cycling gear as well as find a climb that wasn’t snowed in?

    Have you considered trying something a little more interesting for next year? Maybe some of the classics from throughout the year so you don’t get 12 metres of snow in the alps? Koppenberg in the rain and sleet in spring maybe? Get someone (or several someones) to ride Liege-Bastogne climbs? Paris Roubaix? There’s even sportives there so you could get closed roads. As **** as some of the Rapha stuff is, things like the Continental make me want to ride my bike, Tour de Francis not so much.

    Oh, and for the record, the most annoying bits for me:
    1. Paris. The whole bit. Cyclist struggling in a city is relatively mundane, I was hoping for more aspirational.
    2. Cobbles. Short sections in the dry that are flat and really well maintained are fine. Downhill, wet, muddy, poorly maintained are a literal and figurative ballache. Couldn’t believe he moaned about it.

    Yeah, I got that you had authored both, hence me highlighting it.

    How to make a cycle advert inspirational/aspirational



    crashtestmonkey – good example. kid isn’t moaning about how bumpy cobbles are either


    we need TJ to the forum to teach genericusername about marketing!


    Final final point: Dan has an alibi for the whole carpet tack episode.

    What about the oil today huh? HUH?!


    i love it, bit gutted to read here that he only did a few stages.

    my missus has suggested i do something similar for my 40th. Still nobody on here likes anything, and you all wonder why there is a high incidence of depression…

    even better, there will be a whole heap of “never ridden further than the end of the road” boardman and carrera road bikes on ebay before christmas.

    Premier Icon mattjg

    even better, there will be a whole heap of “never ridden further than the end of the road” boardman and carrera road bikes on ebay before christmas.

    better than that, if Wiggo’s still in yellow on Friday there’ll be thousands of 4k monsters bought on Saturday, ridden on Sunday (when the owners will find it’s more work than expected) and on ebay on Monday.

    Here’s hoping for a Wiggo GC win this weekend.

    Next Spring could be the Golden Age for second hand carbon road bling.

    Still nobody on here likes anything, and you all wonder why there is a high incidence of depression…

    I like riding my MTB. I like riding my road bike. I like talking sh1t about bikes with mates or on here. I like watching bike racing on TV. I like going to watch the tour and the classics. I like the Specialized advert linked above.

    I dont like the tour de francis. And I’m not depressed.

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