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Retired sprint legend Robbie McEwen was booted from his commentary role at Australia’s SBS Cycling Central.
McEwen, 49, made a shock announcement on Twitter on Sunday, just hours after he finished calling the Aussie road nationals.
“You’ll no longer hear me on the comms on any SBS cycling broadcast. They have axed me from the team to ‘deliver their broadcast differently,'” McEwen wrote.
“I didn’t get a valid explanation and I’m assuming someone is pushing their own agenda in axing me,” McEwen wrote in a second message. “I loved doing it & I’m really disappointed.”
I didn’t get a valid explanation and I’m assuming someone is pushing their own agenda in axing me. I loved doing it & I’m really disappointed. Direct your opinions to @CyclingCentral @SBSSport & attn to the executive producer if you’d like to let them know how you feel about it
— Robbie McEwen AM (@mcewenrobbie) January 16, 2022
Our colleagues at CyclingTips reached out to the broadcaster for comment Sunday.
“Robbie has been a valued member of our cycling commentary line-up for a number of events over the last six years, but we’re exploring a different approach in 2022,” an SBS spokesperson told CyclingTips. “While his contract has come to an end, we thank Robbie for all that he’s brought to the role during his time with us.”
Just three months ago, SBS also axed stalwart cycling presenter Mike Tomalaris after he worked with the network for some 30 years.
McEwen retired in 2012 after making his name as one of the peloton’s greatest sprinters with 12 stage wins at both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, and a trio of green jerseys at the Tour.
He soon turned to race commentary and became one of the most respected English-speaking pundits in the industry. In 2017 he was rewarded with the high-profile gig of working ASO’s English-language world feed for the Tour de France alongside Matt Keenan.
The Twittersphere erupted in response to McEwen’s messages. Israel Start-Up Nation’s Daryl Impey and former racers Allan Peiper and Robbie Hunter were among those to chime in.
“Always thought you gave great commentary mate. I hope to hear you again even if it’s with another channel,” Impey wrote.
“Must say, that’s messed up. Sorry mate. As an ex-pro I hate listening to commentators who know nothing and are one of the very few that did an amazing job!!!!” added Hunter.