The Hammer Series promises to deliver thrilling fast-paced action with some of the biggest names in cycling involved. Image: Hammer Series.
Robbie McEwen interviewing fellow sprint legend Caleb Ewan.


Robbie McEwen On The Tour De France, GCN Commentary, Sprinters, The GC + More

A true legend of Australian and world cycling, we speak about this year’s Tour with Warner Bros. Discovery Cycling Expert and 12-time TdF stage winner Robbie McEwen.

We caught up with Robbie while he was mid-way between Australia and France, during a noisy airport transfer with the non-stop PA blaring in the background. But this wasn’t a problem for Robbie, he’s a no-nonsense, knockabout bloke who takes curveballs in his stride and simply gets things done.

Bicycling Australia: Robbie, thanks so much for speaking with us, and thanks for gracing the pages many times over the years and helping us sell a lot of magazines.

Robbie McEwen: (Laughs) No worries, I’m glad to help out and hope it’s going well.

BA: Well, here we go again, the 110th edition of the world’s greatest sporting spectacle is on. It will be your third as part of the GCN worldwide commentary team – how does the lead-up to this year’s Tour feel to you?

RM: There sure is a buzz and more interest year after year. I think the ongoing Pogacar / Vingegaard battle is helping – I have the impression a lot of people think this tour is Pogacar’s, but it’s going to be a lot harder for him than last year. I think Vingegard will win, but I also think he’ll have to work even harder for the result.

Robbie McEwen on the GCN cycling commentary set.

GCN and commentary wise – we’ve been getting some fantastic feedback and messages from people all around the world.

The audience has really grown. What’s really impressive is the worldwide feedback – viewers from the US, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, right across Europe, and viewers from surprising and obscure places.

The team is always expanding and many of us have ridden the Tour so we know it, plus we work so well together and have a lot of fun doing what we do.

So maybe it’s not surprising how much the coverage has grown, but we’re definitely buoyed by how massive the audience is.

People are getting what they want, they’re enjoying it, and we love putting it together.

BA: You seemed to land on your feet with the new team after all that SBS turmoil and nonsense. Looking back, how was that time for you, from the end of SBS to that fresh start with GCN?

RM: First of all I didn’t announce the news immediately. By the time I said I wasn’t going to be with SBS, GCN had offered me the gig. For me, it wasn’t too turbulent at all … I was sorted and really happy because I knew where I was heading.

That said, and just like it would be for anyone, I didn’t enjoy the feeling of being unjustly done … particularly when we had such a connection with viewers. And the viewers let me know! The encouragement and support was phenomenal.

BA: Well I wish I had shares in an Australian VPN company, I know a lot of people who have signed up for international access!

RM: (Laughs) VPNs? I’m not at liberty to discuss them, I don’t know what they are, I’ve never heard of them. But I know a lot of people are buying them.

The Hammer Series promises to deliver thrilling fast-paced action with some of the biggest names in cycling involved. Image: Hammer Series.
Robbie McEwen interviewing fellow sprint legend Caleb Ewan.

BA: To this year’s Tour, and it really does look like make or break for Caleb Ewan?

RM: Yes, it’s a very rough run he seems to be having, with photo finishes and a number of crashes. Whatever tactics he has tried, it’s just not been working out for him. Earlier on he had some encouraging results. But then at the Tour of Belgium he just didn’t seem to have the legs.

One thing I know about being a sprinter is this – you can try absolutely everything and nothing seems to work out for you.

But the key is trying to never lose that overall confidence. It just takes one good ride, on any day, and that standout performance can save the entire season.

BA: Do you speak to Caleb or offer tips and encouragement?

RM: I message him occasionally but at the moment I’m doing some work with Dylan Groenewegen and GreenEDGE. It’s nothing personal against Caleb, just some mentoring and coaching I’ve been asked to do with the team. It would be a conflict to have too much to do with the competition, it’s as simple as that.

Robbie McEwen, 12-time Tour de France stage winner and Warner Bros Discovery GCN commentator.

BA: And Cavendish. He needs one more stage win to pip Eddy Merckx and get that 35th stage victory. Can he do it? Do you think he’ll get the record?

RM: I’m saying 99% no, based on the opposition he’s now facing.

So many things have to go right for Cavendish at the Tour. With no disrespect, it’s a different level in France than at the Giro (where he won the final stage). At the Tour he’ll be up again Jacobsen, Philipsen, Van Aert, Groenewagen, Caleb … To think that at least one of them wont be included in any sprint Cav is going for, well that’s very unlikely.

Plus he just doesn’t have the leadout. So I’m saying 99% no. That said, we all know Mark Cavendish just needs a 1% chance, and he’s done it before. So I’m not going to write him off completely.

BA: It’s incredible to think you were duelling with Cav, while a 13yo Caleb Ewan was no doubt watching on TV, and nowadays those two are battling it out and you’re calling it!

RM: When Cavendish came on and won his first stage I was 36 years old. He was a little chubby faced guy, just out of the teenage years. On the other hand, I was near the end of my career when he came in.

Then Caleb came through mid-way through Cavendish’s career. There are new guys coming through all time … and plenty more of them these days.

BA: There are 12 Australian riders lining up at the start – the likes of Jai Hindley, Ben O’Connor, Jack Haig, Chris Harper, Simon Clarke, Michael Matthews, Durbo … What’s the McEwen crystal ball telling you?

RM: I’m going to go with Jai and Ben in the top 10. In fact, I’m upping that to the top 6.

And, in my opinion, the podium is not out of the question for either of them. So far as this year’s course goes, I reckon Ben can get the podium.

Overall, I’m looking forward to seeing some Aussies up there on stages, seeing Simon Clarke get into more breaks, and seeing Vin and Pog battle it out for the win. I think Wout sees himself riding for the Green Jersey, and Philipsen wants green as well. But it sure is a very strong line up of Aussies which is great to see.

BA: Finally to coverage, and it looks like the GCN team have an absolute blast on set.

RM: We do, I always look forward to our shows and catching up with everyone. We always have a good laugh during commentary. I enjoy the analysis with Dan Lloyd and Adam Blythe – we’ve all raced it and know the ins and outs.

The main thing is the audience are enjoying it, we’re enjoying it, and often having a great laugh at the same time. Sometimes you don’t have to take every second of every day so seriously – it’s a lot of fun and we’re looking forward to the start of this year’s Tour.

Wind tunnel testing Geneva Switzerland
McEwen back in his pro riding days with Silence- Lotto.

GCN+ / Warner Bros 2023 Tour de France coverage can not be seen live in Australia this year. That said, we know of numerous Tour tragics who successfully use a VPN to enjoy universal access.

Warner Bros Discovery and GCN+ will broadcast Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift live and ad-free in Australia, with all racing available on demand and as highlights.

GCN+ will have Tour de France long highlights on demand. 

The GCN+ app also features close to 200 cycling films – we’ve seen many of these and can vouch for the immense quality and depth of content.

A big thanks to Rouvy who are supporting Bicycling Australia’s TDF coverage – you can check out their impressive augmented reality training platform at


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