Pardon the Interruption …

I rarely watch sports shows. I hope that fact doesn’t compromise my masculinity at all, because it really is true. But I watched one today, just for a moment. I’d just watched Italy trounce Germany in the second overtime at the World Cup, so I figured I’d check to see what was on about the Tour. Sure enough, Pardon the Interruption had a minute or so dedicated to the Tour.

So, yes, I sat through 20 minutes of baseball-basketball boredom just to get to an instant of Tour de France–such is life without OLN, right? When they finally got there, the commentators surprised me with some interesting comments to this effect:

Alee-handro Valverd crashed out of the TOUR DE CHEATS today, but we don’t care … no one in America cares to hear about your stupid sport anymore anyway since Lance Armstrong moved on …

Hey, I can’t lie here, I really probably never would’ve gotten into cycling if I hadn’t read Lance’s bio years ago (the whole spandex thing seemed a little quirky to me, sorry to say), but I have a hard time believing I’m the only person who’s really quite excited about how WIDE OPEN the Tour is this year. Personally, I think the fact that last year’s top five won’t be there is actually pretty stinkin’ nifty …

Hey, I really wouldn’t mind if Georg or Iban or Levi or Popo or George actually won … I’m not a huge Floyd fan just yet, but I could be … given some further exposure … maybe after Sally Jenkins helps him write his bio …

… back to the subject at hand. I’m all for the underdogs, even (gasp, can I write this on the Fourth of July?) the non-American underdogs. What the heck? Why not mix it up a little? Everybody’s so obsessed with finding the next Lance–why not find the next Tour winner period? Even if that winner doesn’t win the next six Tours too, it ought to be an exciting race …

ahem, pardon the interruption.

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11 thoughts on “Pardon the Interruption …

  1. Dodger

    Man, I caught the same show today.  It really pissed me off that they said that.  Then I remembered that those 2 jackasses aren\’t the usual hosts.  They can\’t get a regular gig on tv, I mean look at them, they have faces for print! 

  2. Unknown

    I used to watch PTI, when I realized that it was just some idiots screaming at each other about sports.  I quit watching for the same reason I quit watching the political talkers.  If I wanted to spend my time watching people scream at each other, I\’d be a marriage counselor.  I get enough bitter disagreements at work, basically.
     
    As for the Tour – yeah, I\’m thrilled it\’s wide open.  I think the lack of a General of the Peleton means that you will see a lot of racing.  In some way, every day will be like a classics race.  A couple of the big dogs that are holding back quite a bit – Leipheimer, Evans, Floyd – they may move to take control in the Pyrenees or even wait to the Alps to do so.  But until there\’s a clear G.C. leader, I\’m looking forward to more dogfighting.  That, and rooting for Jens Voigt to win a stage. 

  3. uncadan8

    I\’ve beenreading a lot about the Tour (history) and the key riders that are left, and I predict Landis for the win. Besides he\’s from Pennsylvania. I may have been by his house once. Anyway, I think he has the work ethic and sheer determination to get the job done. He is pretty unorthodox, and I really like that. Go Floyd! I think they will be calling it the Tour de Floyd by July 23.

  4. Jay

    In case you haven\’t noticed sports television and radio is dominated by the same "jock" mentality that thought it ran your high school.  The majority of them are fat, out of shape, beer shloggin, testosterone pumped, chest thumpers who never saw a plate of ribs they didn\’t like.  They are typically reliving a certain moment they thought they had or wished they had and never will again.  As far as the sports are concerned, if they can\’t hit someone, scream at a ref, bloody the guy next to them, or score  it in less than 15 seconds then the sport is not worth their collective American bravado and thus is undeserving of their manhood.  I am sad to say that it is "mainstream" to smash anything that does not fit this description. 
     
    Sports like cycling, running, and triathlon are not the greatest spectator sports and thus the collective attention span of the US sports public will not exaclty be locked on to the TDF any time soon.  What fat man Wilbon and so many colunists and talking heads like him can\’t see is the 50% increase in roadies out every Saturday around here because of Lance.  Truth be told cyling is one of the fastest growing sports in America…it ain\’t just eurotrash anymore.

  5. Unknown

    Funny, these guys also think only Nascar is car racing.  Oh well.  The Tour is wide open in a manner of speaking.  I feel there are several who have the power and teams to control it, but why bother?  Personally, I think George, Bobby or Levi could take it.  They also have the strongest teams right now. But to see Paolo up there makes me wonder what he\’s up to.  He can do some damage, no doubt about it.  Bottom line is we have no way of predicting it.  It\’s shaping up more like the Giro seems to where the lead changes constantly for the first half, then the big guys slug it out. 

  6. Unknown

    I dunno, ACoug.  Your average group of gin-swilling Flemish CX fans or Northern Italian Tifosi are pretty badly behaved too. 
     
    Mikey\’s comments are pretty fair, and to some extent, that\’s what usually happens in the Tour, however –
    – The top sprinting team, i.e. *the* team built around a sprinter (Milram) is without Ale-jet, so the sprints are occuring without any of the usual discipline or attempted 7 man leadout train. 
     
    – The organizers have packed hills into the tail end of the first week\’s stages, putting a hurt on the pure sprinters (McEwen, Hushovd) while helping the classics riders who have a good or great sprint (Boonen, Hincapie). 
     
    – None of the riders with really strong GC chances want to jeopardize the larger race in favor of winning sprinter points at the start – with the exception of Boonen, who may have a chance in the overall. 
     
    My verdict – the Giro is generally controlled by the top couple riders, the recognized alpha dogs.  While a couple alpha dogs may emerge from the TdF peleton, there are no "top riders" in this race, so it\’s every man and team for himself, until the terrain gets nasty enough to punish incoherent teams and teams that lack sthe obligatory two or three strong climbers.  The are only three truly tough climbing days on this Tour, so unless an eight man train rolls out and takes control on a flatter stage, with a "Team TT" approach, we will probably have to wait until the tough stages to permit the alphas to get meaningful separation from the pack.

  7. BIg Mike In Oz

    Ya gotta love impartial journalism.
     
    Personally, I enjoyed watching Lance win.  It was fascinating to know who to watch, with the only unknown being when he would stamp on his enemies heads.  That said, the whole "wide open" GC thing is exciting.
     
    I\’ve got 2 Australians vying for yellow once the race turns into an actual race on the weekend (Michael Rogers and Cadel Evans, but you already knew that).  But I\’ll take credit for being distantly related to any english speaker who is experiencing success.

  8. Unknown

    MIKE, McEwen is amazing. I love that guy. He\’s the only cyclist in the tour that would have made a good boxer also. I think he\’s actually the most talented sprinter I\’ve ever watched, including Cipo, Zabel, Boonen, et al. Yes, those guys beat Robbie when they\’re racing on a half-mile wide, dead flat course, but when it comes to real racing, when there\’s a corner, or it\’s slightly uphill, or there\’s a crash, Robbie is unbeatable.
     
    Botched

  9. Unknown

    Go to OLNTV.com and check out the daily TDF videos. Look at the one of McEwan\’s win today, when Julian Dean crashes.  Robbie was right behind Dean, and 0.000025 seconds before Dean goes down, McEwan moves out of the way, like he knew it was coming.
     
    Anyway, and further, Robbie is the only sprinter I\’ve ever seen that doesn\’t need a train of his own. All he really needs from his team is to chase down the breakaway.
     
    Botched

  10. Zed

    Botched, I\’ve got to go with you on that one–the Aussie Pocket Rocket rocks! If the organization of the sprints fall apart, you know who\’ll end up coming out of nowhere to take the win. But I admit I really like his habit of using other people\’s trains to lead himself out as well, like at this year\’s Giro. The guy\’s awesome, not to mention being a pretty interesting and humble interviewee when he\’s in the limelight.
    I was worried the sprints would all be dominated by Tom Boonen this year. Glad that wasn\’t the case.

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