Monday, July 20, 2009

Tour de Bore

Just got access to Verus (previously OLN—the Only Lance Network.) Up to now had only ever watched 2 stages of the Tour De France, and it may be the most boring sporting event ever. (at least the non hilly stages) In Paris Roubaix (you know, the one Lance never did though now he feigns regretting it***) and other 1 day bike races everyone is going balls out from the start, and even the 2nd, 3rd, 4th place is contested. In Tour De France some riders are going to win the whole event—by mostly marking their rivals during most stages . So only some riders go for the stage win--though, winning most stages doesn’t help with overall time---you can win 5 sprint stages and gain no time on most cyclists. Conversely, you can finish 60th in a sprint stage and get the same time as the leader.

To make things more interesting on non climbing stages-the winner should get a 5 minute time bonus, the runner up a 3 minute bonus, the 3rd place finisher a 1 minute bonus. Then we’d see hard riding and racing on every stage.

The Tour De France is a GREAT cycling spectacle—it is basically a 7 stage race (the time trials and mountain finishes) that throws a dozen sprint and exhibition finishes in between the REAL stages to keep the crowd and riders occupied, and cycling in the news.

Yeah-I know the riders go out almost every day for three weeks--the Sunday to Sunday Stages 9-15 will have them go 1370 km, which is hard even if one is sitting in on stages that usually don't exceed 200km. But one day races don't occur in a vacuum, Sunday's classic Ronde van Vlaandren (Tour of Flanders) of 260 km is followed by Wednesday's semi classic Gent-Wevelgem of 203 km. Then a reconnaissance of the last 100 km of cobbles usually occurs before the Sunday's Paris Roubaix of 260km. So that's 820 km of mostly flat out racing.

Verus—the low budget ad naseum repetitive commercial network doesn't make it any easier to watch. One has to wake up in the early AM to hear the great sounding Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin and the nighttime coverage is full of Bob "Yuck-Yuck" Roll, and someone pimping the Nike Chalk-bot, Road ID.... They all know where their bread is butted—American TV and American DVD sales. So American riders are featured, which is great. But every few minutes it time to kiss Lance's butt--"oh Lance, oh Lance, oh Lance, Lance, Lance, Lance, Lance." He’s the first pro athlete who NEVER does anything wrong. Whether he revs up Astana so his friend George Hincapie (who Lance NEVER helped in Paris Roubaix) can’t build up a big lead, to demanding he is the co leader of Astana and then getting his butt kicked by Contador, it's "oh Lance, oh Lance….." Now that Lance was brought back to reality and he has to help Contador instead of creating team dissension, I'm sure the new story will be that this was Lance’s plan all along.

I wish Steve Cozza wins—then I can say I was beaten by a TdF winner in the Mt. Tam Double. But in the meantime we’re stuck with Lance being disingenuous and Versus reporting on every tweet made by Sir Lance.

Maybe Versus should feature George Carlin and Bernard Hinaut on Lance Armstrong—

George Carlin “Fuck Lance Armstrong…”

Bernard Hinuet-“-“I couldn’t care less about Armstrong. If he’s at the Tour or not, it changes nothing. We have nothing in common. ...“He would have impressed me if at the height of his career, he raced the Giro (d’Italia), the classics. He is the champion of the Tour, nothing more.”

Alberto Contador-"My relationship with Lance Armstrong is zero," Contador said late Monday (7/27/09) in his hometown of Pinto outside Madrid. "He's a great rider and he did a great Tour. Another thing is on a personal level, where I have never admired him and never will."

Update-remember when baseball's great Alex Rodriguez announced during the World Series that he was opting out of his contract--and he was routinely criticised by the Sports Media for not waiting until the World Series was over--and thus trying to overshadow the World Series. Well Lance announces during the Tour de France that he is forming a new team next year, and the cycling media of course goes ga ga over anything that Shackstrong does. It takes a regular sports journalist (Ray Ratto-SF Chronicle) to put Lance's announcement in perspective.

"With two days left in the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong announced he will enter the 2010 race for Radio Shack rather than Astana. Radio Shack being an American company, can safely give zero percent of a damn about Alberto Contador and build a team around Armstrong, which is the only way he would have wanted it. That he did it before this race was over tells you how desperate he was to let everyone who cares know that he would have done things differently in '09 race -- namely, been the star."


Update-Tour race leader Alberto Contador did not want to comment when asked about whether he will race with Armstrong’s new team. “I am concentrated 100 percent on the Tour right now. There are three days left to win,” Contador said. “After we get to Paris, we will have time to consider the future.”

Tour de France Winners and Losers
1-Free Credit Report.Com commercial--3-4 different funny commercials with slackers singing about their lousy credit in a variety of settings--always funny.

2-Radio Shack--They'll be able to show Lance on the podium for the next year.

3-Contador, A. Schleck--the two greatest climbers, and Cancellera and Cavendish-the two greatest bulldogs who made the flatlands interesting.

1-Cialis--Yep--I want to run out and get some male enhancement product (that can cause 15 dysfunctional side effects) so I can sit in a forest in a bathtub.

2-Promax-Hold on, before I sit in the bathtub I got to go take a whizz--so I need to take this (15 more potential side effects)--or maybe I'll just learn to piss off the bike

3-Cadillac--Which has something to do with dresses and the back of its station wagon supposedly looks like a nice ass.

4-Uncle Norman's Pet Spunge-Act now and you get DOUBLE THE AMOUNT of the same crap our other commercial has you washing your car with.

5-Team Quickstep--Was the greatest spring classics team at the Tour?

Lance Armstrong
Give Lance his due, he held tough on Mt. Vetoux--it was a great stage with Contador and A. Schleck and Lance all putting on a great show. Special tip of the cap to Andy (getting the Servais Knaven award for great teammate) who kept trying to set up his brother, and looked like he was more concerned, looking backwards, where his brother was than anything else.

Armstrong also cemented his role as the WORST teammate--as Contador opened up and laid out some of the acrimony that Lance created--which Kiss Lance's Butt Versus ignores but other sports journalists pick up on. (below from major newspapers)
(per Lance) Armstrong, on his Twitter feed, took aim at Garmin-Slipstream, which competes with Columbia for dibs as the top American squad at the Tour this year. "No one wanted George in yellow more than me...Until 10km (6.2 miles) to go he was solidly in yellow until GARMIN put on the gas and made sure it didn't happen...(Hincapie) "deserves to be in yellow tonight. He deserves more than that."

(George's reaction) After the stage, Hincapie was understandably bitter, especially since (Lance's team) Astana did a lot of work to contain the breakaway, which he felt wasn’t in their best interest. A disheartened Hincapie suggested that the chase was mean-spirited. “I don’t know why Astana was riding. It was highly insuiting for me,” Hincapie told Frankie Andreu after the race. “They were just basically doing the work for Ag2R. I couldn’t have done anything else. It’s over for me. The chance of a lifetime for me, and it didn’t happen.”

(per Lance 12/4/2008) Lance Armstrong said he wouldn't battle Astana teammate Alberto Contador to be leader at the Tour de France next year. Armstrong, who's returning to cycling after a three-year retirement, said Thursday at the team's training camp that Contador, the 2007 Tour champion, is the world's top rider at the moment and deserves to be the leader. The decision will be up to Astana team director Johan Bruyneel.
"I'm going to be very fair about it and respect Johan's orders and respect the team," the 37-year-old Armstrong said. "If that means supporting Alberto or Levi [Leipheimer] or whoever it is, I'll respect them."

(per Bruyneel) Lest there be any further confusion or speculation, Astana team director Johan Bruyneel said unequivocally at a press conference here this afternoon that Alberto Contador will start the Tour de France Saturday as his team's designated leader not Lance Armstrong. "We made it very clear the leader is Alberto," Bruyneel said. "He's wearing the No. 1 of our team.

(s0, per Alberto Contador) When (Lance) sees Contador in the yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees, Armstrong—after not-so-subtle verbal jabs against the Spaniard during the three-week race—could very well be green...In the heat of the race, Contador had sought to play down the differences in their Kazakh Astana team, dodging or downplaying questions about "tension" that Armstrong evoked. ..With victory nearly certain, the Spaniard opened up a bit. "My conscience is very clear because in the end I have run two races, one on the bike and one at the team hotel," he said on Spanish broadcaster TVE after Saturday's ride.

**got to realize how two faced Lance is when on a documentry on Paris Roubaix Lance pops up--"what the f is he doing in the documentry as he always dodged doing the race--even when he might have helped "his good friend" George Hincapie." The clip is of Lance is his expressing regret he never did Paris Roubaix. "What, who the hell stopped him???"

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