Robbie McEwen dropped from SBS television commentary team

SARZEAU, FRANCE - JULY 10: Robbie McEwen of Australia / SBS TV / during the 105th Tour de France 2018, Stage 4 a 195km stage from La Baule to Sarzeau / TDF / on July 10, 2018 in Sarzeau, France. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
Robbie McEwen on commentary for SBS during the 2018 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Robbie McEwen will no longer be a part of the SBS television cycling commentary team, with the three-time winner of the Tour de France green jersey saying he was axed without a valid explanation. The Australian broadcaster's response to explain why his contract wasn't renewed is that they are “exploring a different approach in 2022”.

The sprinter, who retired from racing at the end of 2012, has been a popular regular in the SBS cycling commentary line-up for six years, delivering insight from his extensive experience across a number of events, including the Tour de France.

He was in the commentary booth for the Australian Road National Championships on Sunday, alongside Matthew Keenan and another former Australian champion, Bridie O’Donnell. However, not long after the racing was over, McEwen turned to Twitter to first congratulate the riders for delivering a great race before delivering the news that the broadcast was his last with the station.

“You’ll no longer hear me on comms on any @sbs cycling broadcast. They have axed me from the team to “deliver their broadcast differently,” McEwen said.

He later added: “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.”

The Tweets drew a flood of responses from viewers, riders and those within the industry who were disappointed they wouldn’t get to hear McEwen any more on SBS, which has long been a key source for free-to-air television cycling broadcasts in Australia. 

The news about McEwen came soon after Michael Tomalaris was dropped by the
network after 30 years of presenting SBS cycling and other sports.

“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 said when contacted by Cyclingnews

“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.”

McEwen – who said on Twitter that he found out that he’d no longer be on SBS two weeks before Christmas – added that he will, however, be on the commentary team for the Santos Festival of Cycling on Channel 7 alongside Keenan and Anna Meares later this month.

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Australia Editor

Simone is a degree-qualified journalist that has accumulated decades of wide-ranging experience while working across a variety of leading media organisations. She joined Cyclingnews as a Production Editor at the start of the 2021 season and has now moved into the role of Australia Editor. Previously she worked as a freelance writer, Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg. Cycling was initially purely a leisure pursuit for Simone, who started out as a business journalist, but in 2015 her career focus also shifted to the sport.