I like Ned Boulting – lynchpin of the ITV cycling commentary team and all-round good egg.
I enjoy his willingness to play the fool. I’m fired up by his cycling advocacy tweets. I like the way he teases David Millar.
But, he has an Achilles heel.
At the risk of playing the role of the pronunciation police (a role for which I’m wholly unqualified) he’s misleading an entire generation of cycling fans: my kids are currently under the impression there’s a cyclist called Migger Lagga Lopez.
Put yourself into the mind of an eight year old and let those six syllables roll off your tongue. Mig-ger-lag-ga-lo-pez. Pleasing, isn’t it? All those “L”’s, and that lovely staccato rhythm.
My kids wander the house chanting his name. They’ve written songs about him. One of them changed the name of their teddy, by deed-poll, in homage.
This is all well and good.
Good harmless fun.
Except what happens when I’m watching the live Eurosport coverage of La Vuelta rather than the evening ITV highlights?
At Eurosport they have highly paid people to monitor this kind of thing. They’re sticklers for pronunciation. Well, except for Sean Kelly, of course. But are YOU going to tell the hardest cycling hardman ever to grace a commentary box that the “Rohan” in Rohan Dennis doesn’t have an “n” in the middle?
No. Thought not.
Anyway.Embed from Getty Images
At Eurosport they generally pronounce Migger Lagga Lopez as Miguel Angel Lopez. Less fun, but more correct. My kids sit on the settee hoping for a glimpse of their man Migger, and all they have is this Colombian imposter called Miguel.
“Has Migger climbed off?” they ask, worried, whilst simultaneously delighting me with their use of cycling vernacular.
“Erm…no,” I reply, “I think I just saw him in the peloton,” I lie.
I’m perpetuating the deceit. We’re in too deep now. I see only one course of action: we’re going to have to convince Eurosport and their phalanx of commentators to adopt the Boulting method of pronunciation.
The alternative involves my kids, bereft, when I sadly inform them that Lopez has retired from pro-cycling with immediate effect. That he’s gone back to Colombia. To run a donkey sanctuary, or summat?!
This would not go down well.
Ned…it’s over to you.
You need to make this right.
I presume you have Carlton Kirby’s number?
(Colombian flag image: via think0 at https://www.deviantart.com/think0/art/Colombia-Grunge-Flag-126626782)