Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tour de France 2008 Stage 2: Frenchies Day Out

Before we get to today's action, a few thoughts on Versus' primetime show. Givin' the love to Greg LeMond, nice to see. And today Phil and Paul mentioned he's on the race; wouldn't it be lovely to have him drop by the desk in primetime. As I did last year, I very much enjoyed Frankie Andreu and Robbie Ventura when they joined in the call. I don't know if it's the removed location of the booth, or just Bob Roll's influence, but the primetime coverage has that tendency to ramble and get alarmingly away from the race at hand. Frankie and Robbie both do an excellent job of bringing it back on point, and offering sharp insights and sound perspective on the action.

I wouldn't mind seeing how Frankie and Robbie do in the booth for a whole race, just the two of them. Note to Versus - give them a try sometime, at a smaller race if you like, let's see if it's got potential. Purists would howl, but why not have an American duo calling the race for an American audience. And I dare say they have more potential than Steve Schlanger and John Eustice. God bless them, but it was painful to watch them call the Tour of Pennsylvania. Just goes to show that great cycling knowledge (Eustice) does not always translate into great commentating skill.

I have already sent my thoughts to Saab directly, and I encourage all of you to do the same - a Tour commercial that repeats itself three times within the ad is cruel and unusual punishment for the faithful viewer. I explained to them that we watch this thing for six hours a day or so, each day for three weeks, and thus an ad like that will not make us see the brand favorably and indeed will make us actually come to hate it. But hey, thanks for sponsoring the coverage.

Thomas Voeckler was redundant today, but for good reason. He wanted to secure that mountains jersey for the next few days, so off he went with Sylvain Chavanel for the long break of the day. Joined later by Christophe Moreau and teammate David Le Lay, it was all France on front, making for easy chatting amongst the bunch. Phil and Paul were questioning Moreau for a bit, but come on, a chance for a Frenchman to be in yellow, it would be unpatriotic not to try! They made a good go of it, but the difficult finish saw them swept up as expected.

At least a French team took the day, as Thor Hushovd kept his clear blue eyes on the prize and brought it home for Credit Agricole. Alejandro Valverde came dangerously close to taking another one, easy boy. Kim Kirchen made a nice surge to secure the green jersey for Team Columbia. Probably only for a day, as tomorrow is finally a true sprinter's stage, and Thor should at least be in the thick of it.

Mauricio Soler struggled badly today with his injuries, a very sad sight to see. If he can go on, the next few days would give him a chance to recover if he wants to make a run in the mountains. Garmin-Chipotle were more visible in the peloton today - I think their kits are easy enough to pick out, although I do miss the bold argyle. And I think they were sporting black arm warmers, which would be a crying shame. I loved those argyle warmers and have been dying to get some for my own arms and legs! Danny Pate was simply adorable in his VeloNewsTV interview, as was Will Frischkorn in his VeloNews diary. I hope it's a great first Tour for them, and I look forward to more from their perspective.


Nikki said...

Hi Julie :-)
I found it hard to get up early this morning but managed. I crashed as soon as the race was over though and then went for another ride. 3 good ones in 3 days. Now I'm beat.

Love reading your stuff as you already know! :-) Danny and Will are looking good with all the coverage although I hate that the morning live viewing has so much of it in there. I wish they'd save it for primetime.

Chat soon!! :-)

Julie said...

Hey Nik!

I got nice rides in today and yesterday also, blissful weather, so sad Monday is upon us!

I know, about the interviews, they skipped Christian's post-race last night, didn't they? They have to let the primetime viewers get to know these guys!