Monday, July 06, 2009

Coverage of the Tour de France: Spoilers

Okay, so I got a bunch of emails back from folks who said my emails highlighting the winners were "spoilers."

Which means none of those people have either turned on a computer, watched the news, or checked their favorite sites?

Hard to believe. The other half love the updates because they don't have time to sit around watching TV and want to know what is going on so they can talk about it.

But here's the real difference and I do get it: Many are waiting the whole day to check out what's happening with the Tour and watching it at night on Versus. They want to be there in the race and enjoy it as it unfolds without knowing the ending, like a good movie.

But unless they've taped it in the morning when Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are commenting, they are getting--guess who--Bob Roll and Craig Hummer.

I watched both yesterday, morning and night, and what I saw was two different races. The first one was exciting and nail biting. That's what Phil Liggett brings to it, his voice rising in crescendos, his chuckle at the squinty eyes of Mark Cavendish, his personal comments about the characters of the riders--none of that is to be had in the evening hours. The excitement in Liggett's voice makes this race come alive.So if indeed you are not taping the morning show, you will not be seeing the Tour de France --the Real Phil Liggett Tour De France. No offense, I think Bob Roll should stick to his pointers and maybe interviews on site. He's a great guy, personable, even cute in an odd way, but seriously not up to the Phil Liggett level.

I am not even mentioning Paul Sherwen. Of course, without Paul Phil is not Phil. But still that's almost like saying Lance is not Lance without his team.

Okay enough on that. What about the coverage of the race in general? I think this is one of the best years yet. Versus has managed to really pull it off--one in the morning, when it's happening (or more or less --an hour or two lag), one right after that, and one in the evening! Anyone who is a glutton for cycling will really have their mouth full this season.

AND, you can buy Versus, I just learned from cyclist Aaron Katin, for the month of July for $35 and then go back to being Versus-less for the rest of the year (I shuddered when the Gun Program came on, and they started talking about the best way to kill wild animals.)

Still, I can't wrap my head around this notion that all these guys are waiting the whole day, not talking to anyone, not looking at the TV, not checking their computers, not reading Benepe's Bike blog,, VeloNews, Pez Cycling, or NY Velocity, or even any of the club share boards. (Are you saying you only go to Pez for the Daily Distractions?)

Is it really possible? Men who can hold off while the ice cream sits in the refrigerator calling to them, "eat me", "eat me!"

Or do they just not like it when a GIRL blogs about the tour. TDF girls are only there to hand guys their prizes and come around to their room at night: They're not supposed to think or pretend they know anything about cycling, goddamn it.

I suppose you could always read about it in the NY Times TOMORROW. Now that's a plan. Which reminds me, some of the really serious TV watchers forgot to program their recorders to cut off a little later this morning, and guess what, they didn't get to see the end!

But seriously folks, I do get it. No more spoiler emails.
Now a small update on the Tweeting between Lance and his friends and fans. For one, someone named Aldrudeinpe called out Armstrong for "helping" Columbia HTC pull in the breakaway. Are they nuts? That was a true breakaway team effort. Everyone won in that split including Armstrong.

Check out the tweeting between Lance and Chris Horner too.

Armstrong also apologizes because Astana was late this morning--they were waiting for Ben Stiller. I swear in this photo it looks like Armstrong things Stiller is more famous than he is. Look at that gleam in his eye! But we all know that Armstrong is much more famous. Come on, L.A.--even your initials glitter!

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