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July 13, 2007

Dumbest TV crew line: Prologue-Stage 6

We're one-third of the way through the Tour coverage. To be totally honest, it's been pretty good. With no clear American favorite, the commentators have been free to cover anyone in the field. Al Trautwig still grates on me, but at least he now knows a few rider names.

But it's not all roses. So I wanted to start an open thread on the dumbest thing you've heard from a TV commentator so far. I'll open the thread with a nomination: Robbie Ventura, during one of Sylvain Chavanel's long breakaways, on Stages 4 and 5, Ventura said, “He's not only a climber; he's been mixing it up in some of the sprints.” Chavanel's best sprint finish so far was 46th, but his brother, Sébastien Chavanel of Française des Jeux has four (after today) Top 10 finishes so far.

So what's your nomination?

Posted by Frank Steele on July 13, 2007 in Television | Permalink


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Phil Liggett when commenting on a rider's live wattage data - "233 watts might seem like a lot, but you need to realize the big sprinters like Tom Boonen can hit 600-900 watts in a sprint."

How about 1600 watts - I mean, I can put out 700 watts.

Posted by: Ken Norton at Jul 13, 2007 2:17:43 PM

I nominate any time Al Trautwig compares cycling to baseball and/or the Yankees. Oh brother!

Posted by: Avonelle Lovhaug at Jul 13, 2007 2:29:13 PM

Did Phil Liggett have a cold the first couple of days? He sounded like it. Plus he was missing the calls on riders now and then. He was harshly criticized for that on one of my email lists, which wounded me deeply because I adore Phil.

Posted by: Nancy Toby at Jul 13, 2007 2:56:20 PM

Pshaw, there's just too much material for Al Trautwig to even be eligible in this discussion! I can't bear to even listen to him talk about cycling. Without a script in front of him, he's worse than useless.

Posted by: Nancy Toby at Jul 13, 2007 2:57:57 PM

How about anytime Bob (whom I think is entertaining and I'm glad he's on there) says "Tour Day France" like he's from deep woods Alabama. And why do they ever let him pronounce the starting or ending city names?

Posted by: Holger at Jul 13, 2007 3:26:03 PM

bob's said before that he intentionally pronounces things incorrectly because he's been to france and been treated poorly for being an american foreigner. he does it to make a pot shot and humorously try to get under anyone's skin i think; personally i think it's hilarious

Posted by: kaelen at Jul 13, 2007 3:37:06 PM

I am so glad to learn I am not alone in finding Al Trautwig very annoying. why do they need someone that knows nothing about the sport?

Posted by: kat at Jul 13, 2007 3:56:28 PM

Has Ventura ridden a Tour? That's what I kept wondering when he was talking about feed zones and keeping up on the bike after a crash. While Roll's ramblings can be tedious, at least he's got the cred having been there. Whereas Robbie, started commentating last year as Floyd's coach and it seems odd that he's not taking that tact again this year, focusing on prep and fitness topics. I actually liked Kristen Gumm, as she did the culture.

Frankie is the most annoying with his Larry King-like obvious questions and this morning's interview with Astana was uncomfortable.

Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 13, 2007 4:47:47 PM

Any riders name as pronounced by Bob Roll. And if Holger is correct about him doing it on purpose then it only makes it worse - he wants respect but certainly doesn't show any - all he is doing is fueling the negative image that Americans have in the global community.

Posted by: Mike at Jul 13, 2007 5:10:32 PM

I do believe Robbie Ventura rode the TDF in the past, but that doesn't excuse some of the remarks he makes. Or is he "dumbing down" what he says for the newbies watching the TDF for the first time???

Posted by: Mick at Jul 13, 2007 7:50:20 PM

Would somebody PLEASE expalin to that IDIOT Al Trout-Wig the difference between a forward-slash (/) and a back-slash (\)? EVERY day when he announces the Saab Fly To The Finish daily code, & the constest URL, he says "back-slash"! Can't he READ!!! My Gawd!!!

This guy is beyond stupid. He's so stupid, he doesn't even realize HOW stupid he is! His only redeeming quality (and I'm sure the ONLY reason he's in broadcasting) is his voice. I've heard him do narration and voice-over work on other programs & commercials, and as long as he's reading a script, and you don't have to see him or hear him ad-lib, he's tollerable.

Oh yeah, and what's up with those bumps on his forehead??? When I first saw him a few years ago when he started on the TdF, I thought he was attacked by a swarm of anti-american french mosquitoes. But those bumps are still there! Don't they have make-up for TV personalities? He gives me the creeps just looking at him. He looks like a leper!

Posted by: Paul at Jul 13, 2007 9:03:13 PM

Bob is one of my husband's favorites but I find his inability to pronounce Tour de France correctly says a lot more about him than it does about the French. In general, I find the French to be very kind and warm and helpful. If he found them insulting, I would imagine it was due to something he did or said. And to continue to mispronounce the French year after year is a black mark on his name. His kind of behavior is one reason why Americans have such a poor image abroad.

Posted by: joni at Jul 13, 2007 9:48:58 PM

Re: Robbie V. Nope, my WI homeboy didn't ever race the Tour. I'd be surprised to hear that he ever even raced in Europe on the road, as he was primarily a crit and track rider here in the States for his career. He was a great crit rider. First with Saturn, then Navigators, then Saturn again, and finally US Postal.

He is kind of an odd choice for TdF coverage, and seems pretty unpolished. I dunno if he's intentionally dumbing anything down.

Posted by: The Mayor of Sheboygan at Jul 13, 2007 11:08:04 PM

Please learn English D.L. Byron. Talking of Ventura as a commentator your remark that he should "take that tact" is incorrect. It should be "that tack"!!!

Posted by: David at Jul 13, 2007 11:50:40 PM

My favourite dumb question so far (Eurosport's commentators are actually pretty good) was at the team presentation -

Presenter - "So, Tom Boonen, what would it mean to you to be able to wear the yellow jersey into Belgium?"

Boonen - "Well, I already did that last year."

Posted by: Mike at Jul 14, 2007 6:59:06 AM

just a question---Why hasn't anyone designed a jersey, with extra pockets to carry several bottles?

Posted by: don p at Jul 14, 2007 8:39:16 AM

this is to david for your post about Tom Boonen...

I personally don't find that question that bad at all. It shouldn't matter if he had wore it last year or not it should mean something every year.

Then again I personally think that Tom Boonen is the biggest d*ck in the world. I think I like him better than trautwig. At least trautwig isn't a cocky son of a b*tch

Posted by: Christopher at Jul 14, 2007 11:15:32 AM

Bob Roll is hilarious! They need to get someone other than Trautwig to join Bob. Some of the posters on this site are a little hyper sensative...Roll is just having fun.

Posted by: jb at Jul 14, 2007 6:48:26 PM


There's always a spelling and grammar corrector lurking and you win the TDF blog's prize for doing it here, especially when your wrong. Check a dictionary, or just Google the term, "taking that tact."

Back on topic, seeing Ventura on a zip line in Today's stage about says it all . . .

Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 14, 2007 10:04:34 PM

dumbest of the day? either frankie andreu or maybe robbie ventura: after bob r. commented on the role of the tour in rejuvenating the european economy after WWII, and about european fans, etc. either frankie or robbie said something like "and not only Europeans---Scandinavians and Americans also come to see the tour." last i heard, Scandinavia was considered part of Europe.
Also, i've finally gotten used to bob's mangling of tour "day" france--but why does he pick on the beautiful little town of le grand bornand, which he pronounces like "Bernard"? if he's such a francophobe, why is he there? if it's an act, it's getting very tired!

Posted by: Carol Winitsky at Jul 15, 2007 2:06:52 AM