Colorful Commentary From Phil And Paul

After years of watching Phil and Paul call the races back home in Europe and here in the US, I feel I have a pretty good handle on what they mean. Over the years I have noticed a few tried and tested terms that have stood the test of decades of commentary, and probably warrant some explanation, if not documentation here. Below are our favorite Philpaulism’s that have now found their way into our own cycling vocabulary and somehow out onto our local rides. Only last week at the JP Grand Fundo I commented on one rider going down a dirt road like a “scolded cat”.


1) OFF LIKE A SCOLDED CAT  (also could be scalded)

Example: “…and Nibali has gone, he is off like a scolded cat

Typical Usage: Used during a short burst attack at a particularity crucial point in the race. Typically used in conjunction with a favorite, although not always. Delivery: With the excitement of the finale.




Example: “David Millar is not the sort of guy you give 10 meters to, you may never see HIM again!

Typical Usage: Typically when a rider makes one of those last-ditch, usually suicidal, attacks off the front of the peleton in the last 1KM – or during a break when a rider attacks his fellow escapees and gets a gap, usually followed by the other riders all looking at each other. Delivery: Emphasis on HIM.




Example: “Frank Schleck seems to be having a spot of bother…

Typical Usage: Usually when a pre-race favorite, or rider of some repute, gets dropped on a climb, when form says he should really be sitting somewhere around 1oth wheel. Delivery: With a very slight hint of sarcasm.




Example: The riding today is being made that much harder by the really heavy roads…

Usage: As various departments prepare themselves for the passing of the Tour it is not uncommon to resurface the roads. Some departments have more money than others and those that can’t afford the super smooth tarmac carpet choose a cheaper “chip and seal” surface. Unfortunately in blistering heat it feels like you are riding through glue with pebbles stuck on your tires, very unpleasant. Delivery: With a “I have been there, I should know” tone.



5: “VICIOUS ACCELERATION(See also “Dances on the pedals”)

Example: “….and Froome just put in a VICIOUS acceleration on the steepest part of the climb”

Usage: Typically saved for the steepest parts of the high mountains when the Skeletor-like riders (like Chris Froome) blast off the front for 10 or 20 meters. The gap is usually then brought back very slowly after the riders who have apparently “diesel engines” get up to speed, OR the attacking rider gets a short, curt but very clear message on team radio to slow down. Delivery: With a lot of emphasis and excitement – emphasis on VICIOUS.


Categories: The Other Stuff

  1. I think it’s “scalded cat” (a la Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?)… But my favorite is “Huge chunks of time!” Or, more accurately, “HUGE chunks of time!”:D

  2. Good ones!

    I also like Paul’s use of “complete and utter,” “right round about,” “upwards of,” “putting the cats amongst the pigeons,” and assuming that anyone who ever threw a leg over a mountain bike is a much better descender than a roadie could ever hope.

  3. “He has reached into the suitcase of courage and delivered a sterling performance.”

  4. Oh good god how on earth could I forget that one – good catch mate. That creates all sorts of images of aero carbon s-works suitcases.

  5. he def says “complete and utter” a LOT

  6. The one that was driving me crazy was “they haven’t pushed a pedal in anger!”

  7. I heard a new one from Phil this year re: Britsh 1,2 finish… “It’s like a dream and you just keep pinching yourself.”

  8. You also should have mentioned Mountain Bikers. Any mention of a Mountain Biking past is normally talked about as a rider like Evans / Hesjedal / Sagan / etc are making time on the others going down a descent.

    Chromatic Dramatic
  9. “The elastic has snapped!”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>