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July 10, 2008

Tour 08 Snark -- Week One

  • What is Saab going for with that “turbo” commercial? Annoying to get attention like those HeadOn ads? “apply directly to the forehead. apply directly to the forehead. apply directly to the forehead. apply directly to the forehead.”

  • Phil’s been despising the use of race radios for like 100 years now.

  • Bobke and Hummer don’t got the spark like Trautwig and Bobke did.

  • It’s one thing to make a statement with your coverage and another entirely to run a “backwards” ad that shows a champion who’s not been found to dope and is still racing. Zabel should not be in that ad.

  • Why no women reporters covering the tour, the towns, the human interest? Is Le Tour a boys club?

  • I’d like to see “Tapout” get on bikes and ride up a climb in their clothes line.

Other notes:

  • New iTV podcast
  • The cameras and Tour coverage gets better every year
  • I’d like to see unabridged ask Bobke thread and I’d ask:

Bobke: How do you reconcile the fact that Lance turned his back on the sport after not finding a sponsor for his team and 9 months later, we’ve got two American squads with big sponsors?

Note: Cross-posted from Bike Hugger.

Posted by Byron on July 10, 2008 in 2008 Tour de France | Permalink


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I'll take that for Bob. It is easy, Lance can focus on one thing at a time, now it is his life after cycling I doubt that he wanted the team to "live under his shadow".

I will not mention the new emphasis on "transparency" and Unaided sport. (well I guess I did) Somehow I can not see LA and JV in a team car, or even a team meeting together.

Posted by: Black Pearl at Jul 10, 2008 11:09:15 AM

Great comments. I don't watch Versus anymore. I hate their backwards ad, I can't stand the cage fighting commercials, they take too many commercial breaks, and I don't like the new addition to the commentating team. I really miss Phil and Paul though.

On the other hand, the Eurosport UK coverage is quite good. Few commercials on their coverage. So few that you hardly even notice.

David Harmon does a good job of commentating and rarely mis-identifies a rider, and Sean Kelly has some interesting comments.

Eurosport does have a woman covering the event, pro racer Emma Davies Jones. Honestly, I haven't been very impressed with her so far. They ask her to go out and check people's bikes and gear, but she herself admits relative ignorance for all things tech.

All in all, I'll take Eurosport over Versus anyday, but a team of David, Phil and Paul would be like a dream team of TdeF commentators.

Posted by: David Bernstein at Jul 10, 2008 12:00:12 PM

I really don't think I can take 17 more days of that Bacardi commercial, myself.

Posted by: noelle at Jul 10, 2008 12:25:39 PM

I'm glad you mention the Hummer/Bobke team - while Trautwig may not have been the smartest of the commentary team when it comes to cycling, he was much better than Hummer.

..maybe just more comfortable.

Posted by: Jason at Jul 10, 2008 12:32:27 PM

Trauwig's talent, as I've learned, was keeping the conversation going for 3 hours when not much action is going on. Bobke should have a zapper under his desk and every time he says, "oh absolutely." He gets a little shock, then maybe he'll not start every sentence with that line. He did stop saying Tour Day France.

Also, we're lucky to have the coverage: the snark is here for fun and commentary. I do wonder about the presumed sexism of either the demographic studies Versus did, their marketing team, and the ad buyers. It's ridiculous that they're not adding a women's voice to the coverage. So a women tunes into the "man" channel and gets blasted with Tapout, Bull Riding, hunting, etc -- another voice, I think would help mainstream this sport. Cheryl Crow did that just by being there. And, coming from the BIke Hugger side of this, we're all for more people watching bike racing.

Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 10, 2008 12:46:33 PM

They had Kirsten Gump (?) a couple of years back and I can't say she added that much. I can't say I'm a fan of Hummer. Trautwig was okay.
The commercials are just way too repetitive...they could be the best commercials ever and you'd still tire of them after a stage or two.
It would be nice to see Lance as a commentator for a stage or two. He always seemed to resent the press a bit though...perhaps rightfully so...but...pro cycling in the US could really use a boost now.
Maybe a couple of years from now we'll have George Hincapie and Bobke in the booth.

Posted by: Ken S at Jul 10, 2008 2:34:39 PM

i'm realy enjoying the itv coverage.
enthusiastic and knowledgeable
they show a lot about the french areas they drive through too,for that all important atmosphere...
good i found your blog,
i linked you up
hope you don't mind

Posted by: rob ijbema at Jul 11, 2008 6:29:42 PM

Hope these doping stories stop. Let the real game begin!
Marc Loriau

Posted by: marc loriau at Jul 11, 2008 10:27:53 PM

I love the concern for female viewers. I have been obsessively watching the Tour since 2004 and have never worried about female coverage. However, I think it's great that you are discussing it. I'm sure Craig is a great guy, but I much prefer Al. Hopefully he'll be back next year.

Posted by: d at Jul 12, 2008 1:25:58 AM

Um, didn't Zabel admit to doping? Am I missing something?

Posted by: Bud at Jul 12, 2008 2:30:25 PM

Zabel admitted trying it yes, but did not have any jersey taken away, nor was ever found guilty of doping.

Posted by: DL Byron at Jul 12, 2008 2:58:15 PM

I don't know what all this love for Al is about. I like Craig better and he seems to be able to get the winners right more of the time than the old pro's. He brings a different approach to the commentary. I also like the Expanded coverage better than the live coverage. The shared commentary between the four of them is interesting. I don't think that the ITV coverage is as good as in past years. I don't know what it is, but it just doesn't do it for me.

Posted by: drtom at Jul 12, 2008 7:18:08 PM