Summer 2001 Was David Duffield’s Summer

The interest in David Duffield reached fever pitch toward the end of the Tour de France 2001. Emails were received and the best ones are below for your enjoyment.

From: Agreeable Richard
Subject: Duffers

Well here he is, Duffers. A really nice bloke actually although quite difficult to get a word in. Now I know how Sean Kelly feels. El Presidente wants me to write something for the web/gazette so I’ll include other photos with that when I actually get around to doing it.


Nice one Richard. For all our readers out there it was Richard and his wife Jenny who provided the initial spark for this website. Speaking to them I realised that it wasn’t just me that was a big Duffield fan. For all these years I kept my obsession quiet thinking it was just me that was a bit strange and then after meeting these two I realised that there were loads of us out there. It was only fitting therefore that the two of them finally got to meet DD in the Pyrenees in 2001.

From: Neil

Great site, I reckon old Duffers is the natural successor to Murray Walker never mind what some of the “po faced” ones say.
Here’s one from this year’s tour. After David Millar Crashed in the early stages Duffers spoke to him and made the comment “I can’t say he was pissed off, but he was”.
More power to your knees.

Neil Smith

Blunt and to the point. Unusually so in fact! Thanks Neil – we missed that one as we were still in France and missed a fair bit of commentary.

From: Trevor
Subject: Duffieldisms

A couple more for the collection:
“No threat overall on general classification” (usually pronounced “general classificashe”) – i.e., this rider is unlikely to trouble the scorers at the end of the race.
“Sean Kelly alongside me, 5 times green jersey winner in the Tour de France”


Thanks Trevor. Have you noticed how a lot of the longer words in the commentary get trunca…

From: Tim
Subject: Duffers

“…Sean Kelly, four times winner of the green jersey, winner of the Tour of Spain, winner of Paris Nice no less than seven times in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988 twice winner of the Paris Roubaix in 1984 and 1986 twice winner of Milan San Remo in 1986 and 1992 twice winner of the Tour of Lombardy in 1983, 1985, 1991…”


“You are on your own, dear Listener, I’ve got my head buried in my reference books and I’ve no way of knowing, or indeed ever finding out, what’s happening in the race at the moment”

I also noticed a bit of latin football style commentary (Goooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!) sneaking in at the end of one of the later stages.


Blimey Tim You were fast to be able to write that lot down.

From: Lance
Subject: Duffield

David is a living re-creation of that other great sports commentator, John Arlott, who used to fill in the time when the batsmen had ‘put up the shutters’ at Lords (Or was it the Oval?) talking about the gasometer next to the ground!
A couple of post tour classics. David talking about Paris:- “There’s a few works of art in this city.” and, “The Bastille where they had a bit of a revolution a few years back.” He is brilliant and those cyclists who think he should have been burnt at the stake only confirms my belief that subtlety is not one of most cyclists strong points.

Lance (Northumbrian RC)

We should send DD a cake, for when its a bit quiet. Lance, I noticed the description of Paris at the end of the Tour as well. Their was quite a gap between crossing the line and the presentation and you could almost hear the producer shouting down David’s earpiece “15 minutes to go – Give ’em some flannel to keep ’em there”. At least we got a tourist guide to the city even if it was a bit sketchy!

From: Martyn
Subject: Duffieldisms

Another one of his favourites is “a great rate of knots” used in “and the bunch will come thundering down the finishing straight at a great rate of knots”.
Remember last year on the Ventoux when there was about 3 kms to go and Armstrong is at the front and suddenly in the distance Pantani is coming up at ( see above ) and he starts chatting to Greg Lemond about the Mercury team for next year … not a mention of Pantani at all.
My wife often comes in when I’m watching and says “What on earth is he waffling about ….”.
He is a bit mad, but in the right way …..

It becomes ever more apparent that there is a fine line between genius and nutcase!

From: Keith, USA
Subject: OLN–the American version of the TDF

As an American who has suffered through the dearth of cycling coverage in the US I was thrilled that OLN covered the TDF and the Giro. Phil and Paul do a creditable job of commentary. The glaring problems with the coverage, however, are two: first, OLN has “Americanized” its coverage by including Bob Roll, Kathleen Murphy, and the talking head winner of the year, host Bob “Big Hair” Varsha. Roll raced bikes but is a foolish boob; Murphy is an incredibly incompetent pretty face; Bob Varsha is a race car and motorcycle announcer for God’s sake whose efforts at profundity are laughably inept. (“The Tour de France is the most spectacular sporting event I have ever witnessed.” Yep, it beats watching motorcycles going around dirt tracks doesn’t it Bob!)
These people show the lack of respect OLN has for the American viewer. We obviously can’t appreciate cycling coverage unless it is presented with the “American touch.”
Problem 2: the advertising breaks are mind-numbingly frequent, repetitive, and a video cassette recorder’s best friend. Again, it is television as usual in the US. And God forbid if Lance doesn’t win or contend! I suspect OLN would exit quickly. Ultimately, I fear cycling coverage will go the way of (European) football coverage in the US. If there’s an American angle (World Cup, or, please, Women’s World Cup) there will be a spike in imterest and coverage that soon levels to nothing. In the meantime we are given the American version of a sport whose cultural roots are not American, with a loss of genuineness the result. Still, bravo Phil and Paul!! They did a wonderful job. As for the rest of the OLN coverage, it was distressingly business as usual in the US. But as for DD! I have been in France during the coverage of the Giro d’Italia and have had the pleasure of DD’s on-air commentary for Eurosport. Superb! Needless to say, he’d never make it in the US. His commentary could never be accommodated with all the advertising. A pity, that.
Keith, USA

You’re absolutely right – he would never make it in the US. Thats probably why he is so popular over here as things are less commercialised and not so smoothly polished. Glad you had the opportunity to watch Eurosport in France and one day – if Lance keeps on winning you might be lucky and get more sustained coverage of all cycling events back home. Thanks for the email Keith.

From: Shaun
Subject: Duffield

on one of the mountains a rider looking tired was described as “trying to breath through he’s ears”
stood underneath you noisey lot in bologne at least you could get out the cold
cheers Shaun

I like the ears description. Yes we were all over the place in Northern France for the first 3 stages. It was a lot of fun and some of our lot were lucky enough to be taken into a local’s house and invited onto his balcony where he had a telly and a lot of nice food. It cost them a club jersey and a years free membership but was worth every penny. What a result!

From: Pete, Slovenia
Subject: Duffers

I am an ex-pat Yank living in Slovenia (not far from Trieste, where Dave and Mike first got their Bianchis), and a full-fledged Duffield addict! What a pleasure to find all my favorite Duffieldisms collected and codified in one place! Great stuff!
Wonderful to be reminded of that immortal comment about his rabbit, Sixpence. Anyone who complains about David’s commentating style should get the stick out!
It’s also nice to see some Yanks putting in their two cents about terms like “going like stink”, which I remember was used all the time in my old sailing days in the States.
Like Ellen, I also went bananas at David’s pronunciation of Vinokourov, which I heard as “Voonerkroff”. I can help with that one – phonetically it’s Vee KNOCK ‘er off, which is more fun to say anyway. Mike Smith had it right!

Pete, Ljubljana, Slo

Thanks Pete. One of the great things about cycling is how it knows no boundaires and is enjoyed by people of all nationalities. Keep up the spotting and keep in touch.

From: Pete, Slovenia
Subject: More Duffers

P.S. – “penny numbers” was the term he used when talking about the number of riders in the TdF from the various countries: “four from country X, three from country Y, and the rest is penny numbers” (i.e. ones and twos).

As long as Lance is in yellow and David’s in the box, I’m a happy man!

Cheers again, Pete

Thanks Pete. Do you think DD is happy when Lance is in yellow as well? He does seem to have a penchant for a lot of the English speaking riders doesn’t he?

From: Jonathon
Subject: Duffer

Here is an article on the great man from the Guardian in 2000 :,4273,4035269,00.html
One of my favorite Duffieldisms is “Bear with me”, which he says before embarking on a particularly tangential tale all about his national service on the Adriatic coast 50 years before.
One of the greatest parts of being a Duffield fan is introducing others to him. this year I sat my (non-cycling) girlfriend down and said “Listen to this guy”. Within minutes she was open mouthed with incredulity. “I can’t believe what he’s going on about” “Remember”, I said proudly, “these are just the HIGHLIGHTS”.

She will be won over soon. It always happens with the girlfriends. You’ll be coming home from work soon and she will be sat there telling you all the action you missed. And then she will suggest that you both take a holiday in the Alps when the Tour goes through and that you should both go and watch Alpe d’Huez because “This is what bike racing is all about”. And she will enjoy it but don’t take the bikes with you to ride up the mountain because that will be pushing it a bit too far.

From: Bengt, Sweeden
Subject: Duffieldisms


I really enjoyed your site. If you need translations Duffield to English imaging the trouble we have had! I am sorry to say that we have lost DD on our Eurosport as they have started to comment cycling in Swedish. He is not bad but he is no DD! I have thougt about buing an extra satellite dish just to be able get Eurosport UK.

Do you have any background on the expression “have to see a man about a dog”?

Yours Bengt ,Stockholm, Sweden

Heja, Heja. Thanks Bengt. I was in Stockholm recently for the Stockholm marathon but thats another story as DD would say. We had Eurosport in the hotel but alas no DD. Still, its better than nothing. “By the way” you could always move your analogue dish slightly to the side to tune into to the Astra satellite that carries English Language Eurosport although this will require a ladder and a trip outside into the rain whenever you want to change channels back to Swedish TV!

From: Andy
Subject: Duffer

I have entered Phil Liggets CTC challenge ride in the Peak District and having just read the latest Comic I am delighted to report that Duffer is taking part. What a Bonus!!

Andy, if you get a chance please print out these pages and give them to him if you see him or maybe drop them into his ttricycle saddlebag secretly. If you get to chat with him please report back for all his thoudands of fans who regularly tune in!

From: podofdanny
Subject: David Duffield

i think this site > is what cycling is all about < its obvious you guys are like Fausto Coppi > go out and ride your bike and ride your bike< and can > reach speeds of 45kph thats a sniff under 30mph< >tell us about the showers Sean-is the water always cold<
Must admit i find Duffers obssesion with the Paris Roubaix showers a bit spooky-come to think of i find DD a bit spooky.
regards podofdonny

Thanks podofdanny. The whole DD Paris Roubaix thing is thrilling and we always have a club party round my house when it comes around.

Check out the whole collection of Duffield pages here and enjoy one of the all time great commentators.

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