July 08, 2005
McEwen sneaks by for Stage 7 win
Robbie McEwen, who has terrific positional awareness on the bike, once again picked the right place to be, and sprinted for the 7th Tour stage win of his career.
TdFblog favorite Magnus Backstedt, trailing McEwen up the right side of the field, couldn't match the Aussie champion's finishing kick, and took 2nd on the day. Backstedt, winner at Paris-Roubaix in 2004, was the first Swede to win a Tour stage back in 1998.
McEwen moves up to third in the green-jersey race, but says he's already out of the overall points competition after race judges relegated him for rough riding in Stage 3. On the road today, points leader Tom Boonen mixed it up with Thor Hushovd, sitting in 2nd in the competition, and beat Hushovd over 2 intermediate sprint lines and the finish line, to increase his lead in the competition to 11 points, 133 to 122, with McEwen at 96.
Fabian Wegmann's long breakaway earns him the polka-dot jersey -- the last cheap climber's jersey of the race. Tomorrow, there are four 3rd category climbs and a 2nd category climb in a 231.5-km stage from Pforzheim to Gérardmer.
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Unbelievable that Dumoulin hit the deck *again*. Thus retaking the lead in the 2005 TdF Red Stripe Jersey competition (souvenir René Haselbacher, for the rider who tastes the most road) from Christophe Mengin, who briefly held it after crashing hard at the end of yesterday's stage 6, where he had gone on a long flyer and managed to stay away until the very last kilometer. (Mengin took the RSJ from Dave Zabriskie, who had taken it from Dumoulin, who had held it after his crash in the final few kms of stage 2).
Some more gems from Locutus' stage 7 live report:
"As we start today's stage, the French TV people don't seem to realize that Lance is being surrounded and held up by his men so that he can take a leak while on the fly. So Lance is taking a leak in front of the world right now... great! Really giving the Yellow Jersey new meaning. Viva la France!"
"1524 CEST - 82 km left...The sprinters teams still haven't come to the front to help with the chase. The rest of today's stage is as flat as a Paris runway model, so it is perfect for the sprinters."
Posted by: EWM at Jul 8, 2005 3:11:23 PM
the lack of true sport on espn is intolerable. The seventh stage of the Tour just finished, lance is still in first place and there was the crash near the finish line again.
Right now on ESPN2 is dockdog and bowling on ESPN, not even true bowlers. These guys aren't even professionals. Where is the tour coverage? I don't have OLN so I check yahoo UK and get the updates daily. Maybe if the guys on bikes had better sponsors like... Cabella instead of Discovery channel. The coverage might be better if.....they wore more pads? Disappointed with the terrible support from the so-called sports world.
Posted by: john at Jul 8, 2005 3:54:38 PM
It's my opinion that the Tour would get TV coverage in the USA if they could sell beer and pickup trucks. Maybe some of the teams could hire Hooters girls for, um, mechanics or something. Face it, sports journalism is not populated with Mensa members.
Posted by: steve at Jul 8, 2005 4:22:18 PM
ESPN only likes to cover sports that can be condensed into one or two slam-bang highlights for the testosterone junkies of the world - why do you think the X Games are so big on ESPN? Even when that condition is satisfied on a given stage of the TdF (e.g. an exciting sprint finish), it's only interesting to them if the highlight involves an American. Basically, their conception of world sport is limited to the baseball "world" series. The only somewhat-exceptions I can think of are golf (but even when Tiger Woods places 89th on a particular day he's the focus of ESPN's attention) and tennis (where they had no choice but to spend some time covering the "foreigners" because the Americans haven't been doing very well there lately, at least up to Venus Williams' surprise Wimbledon win.)
The only other reliable way to make the ESPN highlights is by way of bad behavior. Maybe one of the TdF riders should shove a cameraman, spit on a race referee, or sexually assault a podium girl - I guarantee you *that* would make the Sportscenter highlights. Heck, they'd probably devote an entire half-hour "Outside the Lines" show to it assuming it were egregious enough.
But it's not just ESPN - this addiction to highlights, sound bites and generally showcasing only the sensational and the worst of human behavior has spread to virtually all the TV outlets geared toward the mass market. All we hear out of Iraq is the latest roadside bombing (and admittedly there are a lot of them - the insurgents know all too well how to play to the media - but there is also a larger picture worthy of attention), here in the U.S. it's the sex-pervert-of-the-day (to paraphrase Ted Turner), and the relentless peddling of "reality" TV shows, a showcase for bad behavior if ever there was one.
Getting back to the Tour, OLN's coverage does suffer from American-itis (OK, we *get* it already that Lance is the man to beat), but at least the actual race coverage is pretty decent, and they don't terribly butcher the day's live coverage in putting it together for the evening rebroadcast. To those of you who don't get OLN on your cable menu, 3 recommendations:
1) If you have fast internet broadband, try the OLN feed (haven't tried it myself, but that's because I get in on TV);
2) Find a friend who gets OLN via a premium cable package (some cable providers have it, but only as part of a premium package) or gets their cable via satellite and who can tape/Tivo the daily coverage for you;
3) Complain to your cable company - not a short-term solution, but hey, it might at least make you feel better. ;)
Posted by: EWM at Jul 8, 2005 5:42:42 PM
For those who lack OLN yet want to hear the race, a very interesting listen is http://www.eurosport.com/home/pages/v4/l0/s18/playermultimedia_lng0_rub9_spo18_ven20792.shtml. It is a European live audio feed, so you won't hear Lance mentioned every 3 minutes. It's pretty interesting.
Posted by: Jim (a Mensan btw) at Jul 8, 2005 8:54:42 PM