Chris Horner will move from the bicycle seat to the broadcaster’s chair this July for the Tour de France, joining the on-air team for the American NBC Sports television network during the French Grand Tour.
“I’m going back to the Tour,” a typically upbeat Horner told Cyclingnews Friday evening from his home in Bend, Oregon, where he had just completed a 144km ride earlier in the day.
Horner will be part of NBC Sports’ daily ‘traveling studio’ for the three-week race, providing analysis and interviews before and after each stage. Paul Burmeister will return to host the studio segments, with retired US pro Christian Vande Velde also reprising his analyst role, according to an announcement published on the NBC Sports website. Vande Velde and Horner will also be called upon to add to the the play-by-play coverage from Bob Roll, who will move from the studio to call the action with Phil Liggett after Liggett’s longtime broadcast partner Paul Sherwen died in December.
Horner said he will fly to Europe on July 2 to start preparing for the three-week race that starts July 6 in Brussels, Belgium.
“They have some new material that they want us to learn for the show, so we’ll go over and learn a little bit of that, practice on it, and then we’ll shoot from the hip,” he said. “They throw you in the deep water, the deep end of the pool, and hopefully it all works out well.”
Horner got an introduction to race commentary this year with NBC Sports at the Ardennes Classics Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He said he sat in and watched Vande Velde for Flèche and then picked up the live microphone for Liège with the understanding that it would also serve as an on-the-job tryout for this year’s Tour de France.
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