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Chasing the Maillot Jaune: Bringing the Inaugural Tour de France Femmes to Life With Warner Bros. Discovery Sports' Guy Voisin

26/07/2022

Chasing the maillot jaune: Bringing the inaugural Tour de France Femmes to life with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports' Guy Voisin By Heather McLean, Editor

Tuesday, July 26, 2022 - 08:09

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Stage 1 of the Tour de France Femmes left the centre of Paris on Sunday 24 July 2022

Riders in the Tour de France Femmes set off in this first historic race on Sunday 24 July from the Eiffel Tower to the Champs- lys es for the start of this new eight day race. Warner Bros. Discovery Sports is on site and throughout Europe taking the live coverage provided by host broadcaster and organiser, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and enhancing it with further content to give avid cycling fans every moment of this elite sport.

In this first year of the Tour de France Femmes, ASO is providing its rights holding broadcasters with just two and a half hours coverage of the women's race per day, which Warner Bros. Discovery Sports is taking and bolstering with its own content before and after.

The shoulder programming enhancing the live coverage from Warner Bros. Discovery Sports is The Breakaway programme in the UK, Les Rois de la P dale in France, and La Montonera in Spain.

Speaking to SVG Europe, Guy Voisin, senior director of cycling and golf at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, says: For the men's [ASO is] producing line to line coverage and for the women's, they're producing less, only two and a half hours a day. I only receive [that amount of live] coverage a day and I produce around it. I put on breakaway shows and we put commentators on the feed and we put all the split screens and interviews and all the extra added value content [around it].

On whether Voisin would like it if he could get live line to line coverage from ASO on the Tour de France Femmes, equivalent to the men's race, he says emphatically: Yes, absolutely is the answer, I would like line to line coverage. And this is where it's our responsibility as a broadcaster of the event in many, many territories across Europe and [beyond] and my responsibility to my partners in ASO and Zwift, who are the main sponsor for the race, to give it the best coverage I can this year to prove that the numbers will show up, and then they'll be encouraged to give us more hours.

However, Voisin adds in the ASO's favour: It's the first event. They didn't broadcast the full line to line of the Tour de France either when it started. For years and years and years and years and years, they would only send us the last two and a half hours or two hours, and then four hours. For example, the Vuelta a Espa a, there's only seven stages out of 21 that are line to line; the rest are two hour stages. I think [ASO is] doing the best they can, and we will do everything we can to enhance it.

I want to grow the community of younger people, and that's not going to be done overnight. This is a long haul. It's going to be a long effort. I'll probably retire not having finished it, but it's something we have to do, because we've got to do better by the sport

He continues: In my opinion, cycling is the most challenging sport to broadcast in the world because you need the helicopters, you need the mobile motorcycles, you need the aeroplane to do that kind of satellite reception, he continues, acknowledging the difficulties of producing this event for ASO. So if you look at it in the chain of events, I'm the last person to receive the signal before it goes to the client. I have to do my job as best I can, so that they're encouraged to give us more.

Although the ASO is only providing rights holding broadcasters with 2.5 hours of live coverage per day from the Tour de France Femmes, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports is enhancing that with its own live coverage as well as a lot of shoulder content

Bigger and better

On how excited Voisin is about this race, he says: Put it this way, I've been out to a bunch of Tour de France's in my life. This year, I have young children; I have a daughter who's four, a son who's two. I went out to the beginning of the Tour de France and [for] the last day, but then I'm staying for the eight days of the women because I want to be there. I want to get that vibe, I want to know what I'm broadcasting. I was out at the Paris-Roubaix Femmes, this year, but didn't go to the Paris-Roubaix [men's] this year. I want to talk to the host broadcasters at ASO, because they're great partners, and Zwift is out there and I want talk to Zwift, and just see how we can make the Tour de France Femmes bigger and better.

There's these incredible stories that we said, every week let's tell a story, and make sure that we're building up to the first to Tour de France Femmes, so that these stories and these characters these people are known to the public when we get there

Voisin is approaching Tour de France Femmes with the same strategy and enthusiasm with which he approaches the Tour de France: We cover the Tour de France with a bunch of local shows, the most important being in the UK, The Breakaway, in France is Les Rois de la P dale our longstanding traditional show around cycling and La Montonera, the other longstanding traditional show in Spain. Those are our mainstays around the cycling overall, and they cover both men and women. So, it was just a [question of] what would we do around the Tour de France Femmes? Let's do [the same as we do around the Tour de France]. Thank you very much, it's done; that was an easy decision.

There are six cycling directors that were used for the Tour de France and are now on the Tour de France Femmes: in Paris for the pan-European feed is Josselin Riou; in the UK is Doug Ferguson; for France is Guillaume Lebrun; for Spain is Miguel Angel Mendez; for Italy is Antonio
LINK: https://www.svgeurope.org/blog/headlines/chasing-the-maillot-jaune-bri...
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