Richard Moore obituary | cycling

Richard Moore, who has died suddenly aged 48, was an international bike racer and writer who enhanced the sports media landscape with the foundation of the Cycling Podcast, created with his fellow journalists Daniel Friebe and Lionel Birnie in 2013.

The Cycling Podcast was born when Moore and Birnie were looking for work at the 2013 Tour de France, having lost a magazine writing gig shortly before it started. Offering a daily bulletin from the race, their deep knowledge, passion for the sport and contrasting presenting styles – the erudite Birnie, Friebe more intense, Moore the laid-back anchorman – made the podcast an instant hit with cycling fans.

The trio had struck at the perfect moment: those were halcyon days for the sport in the UK after the magic season of 2012 when London had hosted the Olympic Games and Sir Bradley Wiggins had won the Tour de France, Chris Froome was set fair for four Tour wins in five years, and Yorkshire was about to host one of the most dramatic and popular Grands Départs the Tour de France has ever seen.

By 2015, listener numbers had reached 30,000 and in 2018 the podcast received a bronze medal in the sport category of the British Podcast Awards. Birnie, Friebe and Moore turned it into a cottage industry in its own right, producing offshoots on women’s racing – the Cycling Podcast Féminin, which also won a bronze at the British Podcast Awards – gravel racing, bike tech and on the stories behind and around the Tour de France.

They also branched out to cover the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, and there were popular stage shows as the three went on tour around the UK and Ireland; in addition there were books, mugs and tea towels. The show has had 48.4 million listens since its inception.

Richard Moore
Richard Moore became a founder of the Cycling Podcast when he and two journalist colleagues found themselves without commissioned work for the 2013 Tour de France. Photograph: The Cycling Podcast

Moore was born in Edinburgh, the son of Brian Moore, a management consultant, and Katherine (nee Hunter), a teacher. After studying at Stewart’s Melville college in Edinburgh, he went on to the University of Aberdeen, where he graduated in English literature and was vice-president of the wine society, or so he liked to tell those who traveled with him at the Tour de France .

He caught the cycle racing bug from his father, and was Scottish junior road race champion in 1991. His career as a racing cyclist took him to international honors for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, while he also rode major races such as the PruTour that year, where the team wore striking kit picked out in tartan and were managed by Philippa York, then known as the cyclist Robert Millar.

After giving up racing in 1999, Moore turned to journalism, writing initially as a freelance for the magazine Cycling Weekly, and then the Scotsman, for which he covered the Tour de France for the first time in 2005. In contrast to recent successes of British cyclists in the race, in that year’s Tour there was not a single Briton on the start list. The UK’s best racer, the Scot David Millar, was serving a drug ban, so Moore was reduced to playing up the Scottish connections of the English-born Italian racer Dario Cioni to get space in the paper.

His first book, In Search of Robert Millar, a biography of his erstwhile team manager, was published in 2007 and was longlisted for the 2008 William Hill sports book of the year. That was followed by Heroes, Villains and Velodromes (2008), the definitive account of how British track cycling dominated the 2008 Beijing Games, and Sky’s the Limit (2011), which detailed the formation of the British squad Team Sky in 2010.

He co-wrote Sir Chris Hoy’s autobiography – the pair had been Scotland teammates in Kuala Lumpur and remained close – while his other cycling books, Slaying the Badger (2011) and Etape (2014), dealt with the Tour de France, the former being turned into a successful film. He earned praise for his other, non-cycling, books, The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100m Final (2012), and a biography of Usain Bolt, The Bolt Supremacy (2015).

Moore had first appeared on a podcast with Friebe and Birnie to promote The Cycling Anthology, an annual book published by Birnie – they recorded in a London pub and were barely audible about the noise of their fellow drinkers. Having then opted to produce the daily Cycling Podcast from the Tour de France, they were well aware that with the other pressures of writing up each stage they would need some incentive to ensure they stuck to it; it was Moore who made contact with the electronics company Sharp – at that time co-sponsor to the Garmin squad – and drummed up a small amount of cash, “enough to make the commitment worthwhile”, as he put it.

After an earlier marriage which ended in divorce, in 2012 Moore married Virginie Pierret, with whom he had a son, Maxime; in 2020 the family moved to northern France, where Moore died the night after reporting on the Gent-Wevelgem one-day classic. In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by his father.

Richard Moore, cyclist, writer and podcaster, born 7 May 1973; died 22 March 2022

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