What Happened After the 2001 Tour De France Feature?

In the bumper TdF 2001 preview issue of Cycling Weekly there was an article in the News Section that profiled this web page dedicated to the Great Man Duffield. The response over the next week was huge as Cycling Weekly readers flocked to find out more about their hero. Many people sent in emails which we have reproduced in their full glory below.

From: Vernon
Subject: duffer

Your Duffield speak is bad G.

Here are a couple you may have missed/left out for a reason (?)

Penny numbers: ?

Blast on the old banjo: ?

I can not give you a translation for any of the above, as like most viewers I don’t know what he is talking about!

Thanks Vernon. I suspect “Penny numbers” refers to the riders coming across the line in ones and twos. As for “Blast on the old banjo” that could mean absolutely anything where DD is concerned!

From: Eddy
Subject: Duffieldisms

I found your David info website very enjoyable – suggest that you might wish to add the following:

“we are getting towards the back end” we are near to the finish

“near the back end he will sprint” near the end he will sprint

“a bit conky up the road” the next 10 kms will be rather hilly

“pants, trousers” – anything you like except shorts

Outstanding commentating this year:

We joined the Tour of Catalonia to see a single rider obviously on a very good break. Our good friend David proceeded to tell us about “everything” which had happened that day (about 8 minutes). Within 5 secs of him first mentioning the break the camera returned to the second group. Needless to say whilst the camera was on this group David told us all about the solo break.

Overall I do appreciate David’s efforts and mostly enjoy his food and tourist diversion but the single thing which never ceases to infuriate is:

We get to 3k and think its coming, we get to 2k and we think it must be none and then David starts it – in the last couple of Ks he proceeds to give us a full description of the whole race for the whole day and to make sure that we are not short of information a description of any other race which anyone remotely described as a British pro has been involved in. My feelings when I only wish for info about the last k and finishing straight cannot be put in print.

Best Wishes
Keep up the good work

Thanks Eddy. I know what you mean. Hang in there – you’ll get used to it!

From: Peter
Subject: Duffers

A classic from the recent Giro d’Italia – after Buenahora’s crash when his fork broke, a few minute’s later ther was a shot of Buenahora giving chase and Duffer’s remarked “it looks like Buenahora’s had a change of bike”.

I remember this one as well. All I can say in defence is that DD has to make do with a small monitor that he can barely see, the quality of which is reminiscent of early John Logie Baird models. This fact alone actually accounts for quite a lot of the content of this page.

From: Phil
Subject: Duffield

Hi guys

Loved the article on David Duffield. I’ve only just realised how Duffieldisms have crept in to my own conversation. Only the other day I was telling a friend how i came *a box of tricks* on my mountain bike…..and he looked at me with a blank stare!

I’ll have to listen out over the next few weeks, but i reckon the saying is:….it’s looking a bit *black* over Bills mothers….

Cycling on the box is not the same with out Mr Duffield……..

Regards Phil

Yes I know what you mean. I always like to “keep my powder dry” on our club runs.

From: Nathan
Subject: We Love David Duffield

Enjoyed reading your website feature about Duffers.

The best “Duffieldism” I have ever heard was in the finale of this year’s Giro in Milan.

A viewer (indentity unknown) sent an e-mail to David describing his occasional over-excited commentary when the hammer goes down in a race.

He said that David sounds like “he’s had four pints of lager and pee’d in a lamp socket !”. David read this out live on air and apologised to viewers for occasionally getting carried away with his commentary!

All of this was happening in the final couple of KM’s in the final stage of the Giro as Cippolini was winding up for a big sprint, but David had the whole situation under control and didn’t panic – pure class! You can’t help but love the man.

Hull Thursday Road Club

Thats right. A lot of folk aren’t too keen on DD. I think they have been bought up on the 15 minutes a day that Paul Sherwen and Phil Ligget used to dish out, which by the way I wondered if they did *after* they knew the result.

From: Robert
Subject: Duffieldisms

Hello to all at your Cycling Club,

I was delighted to read in Cycling Weekly that you had dedicated a bit of your web site to my cycling commentator hero, the mighty David Duffield.

Forget about all the others, you may as well turn the sound off when David and Sean are not on. Cycling looks really really boring (Boardman and studio stuff). Old Chris should have stuck to the odd bit of woodwork, like when he was supposed to be leading Credit Agricole and it was really Stuart O’Grady.

Any way, enough of my pet hates.

One of my favourite Duffieldisms was during this years Paris-Nice when he was describing the new team strips and he arrived at Team Coast. He said that they were the team with the gold body and BLACK ARM PITS. Did they do a shift down the coal mines before the start.

Another great laugh we had was during last years Tour de France. The field were meanering through field after field of lavender crops and David started to talk about the meal he had the night before, saying the sauce was made up of garlic and lavender. Can you imagine anything more horrible.

How about the fact that his mother always made him give up his seat to elderly people coming on the bus.

One of the best was surely the time the imposters dived into the field during the Tour mountain-top finish and David jumped out of his seat and yelled ”For Christ sake, will someone get that idiot off the road.” Brilliant. Can you hear Chris or anyone else giving us that outspoken commentary. No way.

Again, during Paris-Roubaix, going through one of the World War 1 battlefields, David gave us a rendition of a Browning poem about the sad events that took place during the Great War, saying we were going through very sacred territory. Yes there is only one cycling commentator for me, David Duffield

Thanks for the opportunity to have a look at your site.

Keep up the great work.


P.S. I’ve just had a frame made by Roberts Cycles, of Croydon, and it’s absolutely brilliant. The mechanics and sales staff at Dales in Glasgow, who used to make the famous Flying Scot bikes, were raving about the quality of it.

When those imposters sprung up I thought he was going to jump out of his commentary box and “give em a thump”. The poem was good and I seem to recall he read a story from a rider who rode Paris-Roubaix years ago and he kept mentioning all the “piss and shit” of the road. Most unlike DD but apt considering the conditions of the race at the time. Oh yes – Roberts are the best you can buy if you can afford it. Not the typical sort of thing you would expect to find in Croydon. I think a relative of his (maybe his Dad) used to be in our club when it first started. We have a story about him here [link expired unfortunately] from the early days.

From: Karen
Subject: Duffield Speak

Duff speak
“They’ll be celebrating in the old town tonight”.

Indeed they will. Drinking some of “the fizzy brown stuff” as well no doubt! How did our intrepid spotters miss this when they were compiling this page? Thanks for pointing it out Karen.

From: Robert
Subject: Duffieldisms

”He’s got a dose of the old Spanish two-step.”
Trouble in the toilet department.

”He’s built like the proverbial …….”
Has a build like an old outside shithouse.

”Like the proverbial ……. off a shovel.”
Going up the road or off the back at quite a rate of knots.

“The little diddy men”
Small riders built like Betini

How about the Quealey, Hoy and McLean’s track events at the Olympics, when David started to reach for his books to get some facts and the race finished before he had time to see the result or find them out.

So the little diddy men are probably the same as the cheeky chappies. I forgot David was at the velodrome in the Olympic. I watched most of it on BBC and Hugh Porter wasn’t in the same league as DD. For one he didn’t make any cock ups so it wasn’t as much fun watching. Also remember how DD wouldn’t commentate on Boardman’s Athlete Record at Manchester. Instead he went and stood outside in the rain because he disagreed with the UCI so vehemently that he wanted nothing to do with it.

From: Norman
Subject: David Duffield

Thank you for your excellent web page, please accept the following for inclusion re Mr Duffield.

“Rough end of a ragman’s trumpet” – rag and bone merchants would often blow a trumpet/bugle to warn/advise of their approach – not known for quality or tone!!!

David, when he worked for Halfords, was involved with the poster given away with a pop record (Queen?) that showed the rear views of naked young ladies on bikes – when he explained this at the Chippenham CC dinner I Understood why the saddles had looked of poor quality when examined closely.

I must complain about the choice of cycling route he gave to Cycling Weekly – all main road and very busy!

Thank you for your excellent web site.

I and my family appreciate the abilities of David in that he is able to :- talk/listen to producers/listen to race radio/remember food – drink – people – places/put his size 12 in his mouth and remove it in the same sentence for many hours on end.

I am not quite as old as him (by a month or three) and can remember articles in Cycling Weekly about his tricycling exploits – also wondering why he used three wheels when two were obviously faster.

‘The Guardian’ did an excellent article on him during the 2000 TDF that says everything – long may he continue!!


Thanks Norman. You sound like you were actually lucky enough to meet Him in real life. We were thinking about getting Him to come to our annual dinner but we are a bit tight and don’t have the money to pay for his transport, hotel, food and “fizzy brown stuff” so the other year we got pro road racer Gordon McCauley instead as he only lived down the road, had a small appetite and didn’t drink much.

From: Lisa
Subject: duffieldisms

One to add to your David Duffield page:

“Just post your questions to ww.eurosport” means “send us an email”

today’s permutation of the URL was just as good: “w.eurosport.com.uk”

I love your Duffield page so much I may have to join the club. 🙂


Thanks Lisa, you’re welcome to join our club anytime. Perhaps we should have a special concession for Duffield fans. You want to hear how he read our URL out for the Agreeable World. I’m surprised anyone ever managed to log onto it!

From: Andy
Subject: David Duffield

I recall Duffer saying “he`s like a yard of pump water” which I would say draws a parallel with “a long streak of piss” i.e. tall and skinny

P.S. I think your site is “Top Hole” i.e. ACE!

Thanks Andy. I don’t know if we were ready for the uncouth description but I think we get your meaning. While we are *down there* I notice that he pronounces Francois Simon’s surname as Semen. Now how many other cycling commentators get to use that word?

From: Gary
Subject: David Duffield

During the Giro d’Italia “I’ve always been very fond of Milan – ever since I saw the film “The Italian Job” Fact: The film was shot in Turin!!

Also during the G d’I. “And MercatoneUno is a large chain of supermarkets” Fact: They sell furniture!

Fortunately, I am able to see the Tour de France on Italian TV so I don’t have to suffer Duffield this time



Well thanks for both of those. I was pretty ignorant of both of them and took DDs word for it. What’s it like watching the Italian coverage? I know they have Maurizio Fondriest assisting but isn’t the main commentator even more off the wall than DD? Imagine that, being able to out-duffield David Duffield. Frightening.

From: Rod
Subject: David Duffield

Brilliant site much enjoyed, keep up the good work.
One off the funniest comments I remember David making was during the Amstel Gold Race a couple of years ago. The roads were slightly damp, (a couple of riders had fallen) and as we know this can create conditions more slippery than those caused by heavy rain. David was trying to explain this and went on to say “Its very slippery out there because there has not been enough rain to wash the roads dry” – What he really meant of course was that the rain had not been heavy enough to wash away all the diesel, etc. As some of your contributors have mentioned, there is no comparison to the 15-20mins of edited commentary of Liggett and Sherwin, to the enormous task of 7 hours live commentary. This has been accomplish at times single handed by the great man, long may he continue – he is irreplaceable.

Indeed Rod, indeed. Well spotted. Interestingly you can listen to Liggett and Sherwin trying their hand at 7 hour live commentaries live on the web at the Outdoor Life Network site or as DD would say “w.outdoorLi.com.uk” or something similar. I tried listening to it but it felt adulterous so I switched back to Eurosport quickly.

From: Phil
Subject: David Duffield

……….of course, as todays stage of the Tour is in the Alps, it’s a good day to “bury your Grandmother”

This is the excuse you give your boss when instead of being at work, you’re at home watching 7 hours of the tour with David Duffield !!

I’m digging as we speak.

From: Simon
Subject: David Duffield

hi marco, looking through your duffieldisms I didn’t notice one of his favourites: “he parts his hair with a chamois leather” – used to described the hair style of riders such as pantani or lutenburger

cheers Simon

Thanks Simon.. There are quite a few of us in the Agreeable World that also part our hair with a chamois leather. How we yearn for the days when we could grow a mullet like that stylish Mr Brochard!

From: Jonathon
Subject: David Duffield

Another “Duffieldism” for you. As Francois Simon was struggling to stay with the lead group on the way to Alpe d’Huez, he was apparently “playing the accordian”, meaning he was going in and out of the bunch.

Long may DD’s commentary continue.

Regards, Jon.

Accordians, banjos…perhaps this has something to do with skiffle? Someone else (Simon I think) pointed out that “O’Grady has gone off the back playing the accordian” as well. Perhaps we can get a band together with a tea chest bass.

From: Brian
Subject: David Duffield

Great page, guys!

My own addition to this tribute concerns poor Dave’s debilitating psychiatric disorder whereby he cannot help stressing the 2nd syllable of any foreign word. This is most noticeable with:

Bartoli (we hear ‘bar-TOE-li’ instead of ‘BAR-to-li’)
Fassa Bortolo (we hear ‘bor-TOE-lo’ instead of ‘BOR-to-lo’)
CSC Tiscali (we hear ‘tis-CAR-li’ instead of ‘TIS-ca-li’)

Dave… please please please visit your neighbouring Eurosport Italian commentator and get a crash course in pronunciation.


One of the things that I particularly like about Dave is his ability to mangle beautiful foreign languages. Its a skill I try to employ when I go on holiday as it always makes conversing with the locals a bit more fun. Also do you notice how he tells us that Lance Armstrong recovered from “testular cancer”. Perhaps he doesn’t like mentioning that part of the body on air which seems strange as Semen often gets a mention when the Bonjour riders are on screen.

From: Juliet (Via Agreeable Chris)
Subject: Duffieldballs

Are you collecting these?
One yesterday was:
“It was raining – wet water falling out of the sky”

Thanks Juliet, thats up there with “washing the roads dry”. You know, I think there’s something amazingly attractive about a woman who collects duffieldisms.

From: Nick
Subject: Club Dinners

I went to the Welsh CA BAR lunch a couple of years ago and Duffers was the guest speaker. Typical of the man, it was just like one of his commentaries – a fine start and then slowly deteriorating into over excitement punctuated by lots of Ah’s, Er’s, Um’s etc. He then got really wound up during the Q & A session after (it was just after the “Festina” affair) when his hatred (quite rightly) of any form of doping became evident.

Nice man though – met him in the car park afterwards. He’d left his wife in the car for the best part (sorry thick end) of 3 hours!!

Well worth getting for the club bash though.


Thanks for the account Nick. Don’t suppose you got a picture of him did you? Left his wife in the car!?! So we’d only have to pay for one meal ticket if we could get him to come to our dinner. We will have to look into that.

From: Gary & Geoff
Subject: Duffers

You forgot to mention the following :
“Pursuiters Hooter” Big Nose
“Lashaid” spelt phonetically Off The Back
David Duffield is the Dogs Bo**ocks, good work fella long may you reign.

He is indeed! I think “lashaid” comes from the French verb Lache (sp?) which according to its use on Radio Tour means “to go out the back”

From: Dr Claire
Subject: Duffieldisms

What a great website. A fitting tribute to such a legend. And your glossary is very useful I have no idea what he’s on about half of the time.

Anyway, I thought I had to share a few of my favourites with you, but then again there are so many!

Of the most recent would be on stage 14 of the Tour 2001. Some leading riders just coming up to the top of a climb. The Devil has just been out menacing them as usual, when DD spots someone mooning. ‘ There’s a bloke mooning. Well some people really are strange. That’s where the trident ought to go!’ Classic!

My all time favourite though was the tour either 1999 or 2000. The stage was going though the Charente region, and DD as ever was talking about culinary specialities. ‘Did you know that the local dish here is rabbit? Very nice it is too apparently. I used to have a rabbit. It was called Sixpence’ A truly inconsequential, even surreal gem!

Thanks again, and keep updating that glossary!


At last. Academic acceptance of David Duffield! Do you ever wonder if his brain is wired up differently to the rest of us? In a sort of Bionic Commentator type of way.

From: J
Subject: David Duffield

I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of the calibre of your club if Duffield is your idol. I can’t think of a more unprofessional broadcaster. You may find his waffle, inaccuracies, and offensive comments enjoyable but there are many Eurosport subscribers – like myself – who either mute him or listen to a foreign commentator. Duffield is far past his sell-by date. Don’t encourage the poor old sod.

Yes, I also think you have got a pretty good idea of the calibre of our club from our choice of unlikely hero. We enjoy cycling, we enjoy talking about cycling, we enjoy getting dirty off road and most of all we enjoy talking bollocks about cycling down the pub. If that ain’t what you’re about then that’s cool. The Agreeable World’s not for everyone and we never pretend it is.

From: Jef
Subject: David Duffield

superb site for a top man, ask yourselves this who else could keep you entertained for 7 hours on a haute cat. all dayer and have you noticed he gets the best and the humorous side out of his co-commentators ?

i’ll click on again soon jef

You’ve summed it up pretty well there Jef. I can’t really add anything to that.

From: Mark
Subject: Duffieldisms

What about “the battling Aussie”, applied to any Australian rider who’s having a dig/suffering a bad day/looks about to take the stage/jersey? (Sorry if someone else has mentioned this – haven’t had time to read through all the messages.)

Well done Mark for bringing this to our attention. You are quite right and I don’t think he uses this to describe any other nationality. Also its often followed by the words “barbie” and “fizzy brown stuff”. Whoa hang on I’m listening to DD right now and just realised that when he says “Biggish hitters” really fast it comes out as something quite different. Enough diversions, I’m starting to lose my thread like him as well.

From: Chris, USA
Subject: David Duffield

I am one of the few Yanks who have had the privilege of hearing David’s commentary for a major tour. I lived in Morocco and traveled in Europe in 1998 and watched and listened to the Giro and Tour religiously. As it was my first exposure to him, I marveled at his marathon mouth. Face it: not every televised moment of a tour stage is endowed with inherent excitement. David’s ability to fill in the slow times with his gastronomic exploits or a good story from another year kept me rapt. I am sorry that my memory is insufficient to add to your store of Duffieldisms.

Now back in the States, I suffer, as do all my cycling friends, from a lack of live coverage of cycling. This year some of us have Outdoor Life Network, with Phil and Paul. They are fine and quite knowledgeable, but lack the off-balance sense of humor and political incorrectness that makes David so colorful. I wish he were calling the races here. I would happily forgive his occasionally overlooking an important breakaway.

Keep up the good work, David and you guys.

Chris , Macon, GA USA

Many, many thanks for sharing that with us Chris. It must have been hard previously for you to get by without any cycling coverage at all accross the pond. At least you have the OLN coverage now which I guess is a spin off of the success Armstrong has had. Interestingly you can listen to Duffield live on Eurosport via the Audio feed.

From: Robert, Seattle, USA
Subject: a few more duffieldisms from yanks in seattle

hello all –

we get bootlegged eurosport video over here and there’s a few of us here who have come to appreciate duffieldisms as much as you. so here are a few more for your list:

“base over apex”, — going over the bars in a crash
“come a cropper” — having the bike slip out from underneath in a crash
“going like stink” — yet another way to say traveling at top speed

cheers, and thanks for the laughs

Thanks Robert – how do you manage to get bootleged Eurosport over there? I bet a lot of your fellow countrymen would be very jealous if they knew. I suspect DD wants to say “Arse over tit” which is a common British saying that is a bit uncouth for family viewing hence “Base over apex”. Interestingly “come a cropper” and “going like stink” are used in conversation occasionally over here but don’t make it into common usage in other countries. I guess its even harder to understand DD for you than it is for us! Hopefully the Duffieldisms page can assist in your viewing pleasure.

From: Tim
Subject: duffers

I agree that the man is a living legend, even if his meandering style of broadcast journalism does cause me to curse out loud at times, usually when the pivotal moment of the race is unfolding before our eyes and he is recounting his after dinner anecdotes involving ”a rather nice glass of…”(insert any regional plonk).
Favourite duffisms have to be counting the number of times he refers to that select breed, the ‘specialist climbers’ whenever there is the faintest whif of an incline along the race profile. Also, after one of his frequent rambles, turning to Sean and asking ‘what’s your thoughts on that Sean?’, the obviuosly bemused Kelly embarrisingly half whispering in reply ‘well I dont really know about that, David’ in a Ted from the FAST SHOW manner. Duffers, undetered carries on regardless.
great site,chaps
tim, nottingham

Excellent – especially the bit about Sean Kelly! Its interesting you point out how DD carries on regardless as I think that is what makes him so endearing to a large number of us. I know you reckon he is a living legend but I would go so far as to call him a “national treasure” and “prince of mikes”. Do you think we could nominate him for an MBE or something similar? It must be possible if enough people nominate him. Does anyone know how these things work or do you have to be in the establishment? For services to marathon broadcasting in difficult circumstances perhaps?

From: Greg
Subject: Duffieldisms

the one david duffield says often is ‘a burst on the banjo’ meaning, i assume, a rider is taking his turn in a share of the work. there are loads more, of which i can’t think of right now but will send them when i do.

Thanks Greg, please keep thinking of them and let us have them as soon as you can.

From: Ellen “Ace”
Subject: Duffieldisms

The one that’s been driving me wild this year’s TdF is David’s pronounciation of a certain Telecom rider. I have no idea how to pronounce Mr. Vinokurov’s name, but I’ll bet it isn’t Voodookroff.

I was so happy to find your site–finally, someone who understands! I spend half my life watching EuroSport, and the other half ranting about EuroSport commentators (and me an American). I’d like to return the favor by pointing you towards a fun piece I wrote a couple of years ago titled “EuroSpoof” (www.1stserve.com/spoof.htm – [link expired unfortunately] ). It’s about tennis commentators, not cycling, but I think you might enjoy it. You are definitely my kind of people.


Hey Ellen thats a great tennis feature (and the rest of your site is pretty good). How about turning your talents to a Duffieldspoof in the same vein as the tennis piece?

Thanks everyone for the emails. Please keep sending any info you might have on the great man and for those of you out there who don’t like David’s style of commentary then in the words of the man himself:

“If you can’t stand the heat of the kitchen then don’t come into it!”

Has anyone got any pictures of themselves with David? It would be great if we could display them on here, perhaps with his autograph is someone has that as well.

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

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