Friday, August 22, 2008

2008 Tour de France Love/Hate

What I love: The excitement of the biggest most tradition-drenched race in the world.
What I hate: The defending Champ, Alberto Contador, and his team were not competing.

What I love: Phil Ligget’s one of a kind commentary: “the fox is in the hen house now!”
What I hate: Phil got a lot of calls wrong this time around, “and here goes another break!
These riders are off the front now!” Paul Sherwin, “actually, Phil, we’re looking at the back of the peleton just now.”

What I love: Christian Vande Velde’s genuine love of the sport shining through as he talks to reporters about the day’s stage.
What I hate: George Hincapie’s lack of any sort of personality whatsoever, “mumble, mumble, thank the sponsors, mumble, mumble, good team, mumble, mumble, I couldn’t be interesting if a martian landed on my head right now.”

What I hate: Ricardo “the Cobra” Ricco and 3 of his teammates beating my favorites up the climbs of the Pyrenees without even breaking a sweat.
What I love: The headlines 3 days later: “Ricco Fails Doping Control as Saunier Duval Withdraws from the Tour.” C'est la vie.

What I love: “Nobody’s” like Will Frishkorn and Danny Pate came to their first Tour and had the guts to get in the breakaway’s, making the stages super fun to watch and getting the results that make us Americans tear up as they cross the line.
What I hate: “Somebody’s” like Cadel Evans throwing temper tantrums with the Press after the stages. Telling a reporter you’ll kill him if he steps on your little 8 pound dog lacks class. Seriously, what the fuck is your dog doing walking with you after a race when you KNOW you’re going to be swamped by people. You’re wearing the yellow jersey for cryin’ out loud! Leave your dog at home.

What I love: Lucky with unlucky. Barloworld’s John-Lee Augustyn is the first to the top of the Tour’s hardest stage and as he’s being celebrated by the commentator’s about his abilities, misjudges a right hand turn on the descent, goes over the barrier and slides 50 meters (unhurt) as his bike continues down the steep grade into the valley below.
What I hate: Unlucky with no luck. Roughly 50 km into the first stage at the very first feed zone of this year’s Tour, Cofidis rider Herve Duclos-LaSalle fell, broke his wrist and became the first rider to drop out. All that preparation gone in 50 km. My heart breaks for him.

What I love: The helicopter shots of the beautiful landscapes of France.
What I hate: When French TV is showing beauty shots from the helicopter while the riders are within 5 km of the finish. I don’t care about the 500 year old Chateau right now! I’ve been watching for 4 hours, I’ve seen enough Chateaus! Show me the riders dammit!

What I love: I’m a Broadcast Engineer so I love the TV technology used to bring incredible shots to the viewing public.
What I hate: Phil’s constant need to point out the picture glitches. “Sorry ‘bout the little bit of picture break up there. These pictures are being beamed up to the helicopter…blah, blah.” Yes, Phil, Microwave technology is exactly like Star Trek.

What I love: Silence Lotto actually thought they were going to put Cadel Evans in yellow despite having one of the weakest support teams in the Tour.
What I hate: People blasting Cadel because he didn’t end the Tour in yellow despite having one of the weakest support teams in the Tour.

What I love: Mark Cavendish schooling all the sprinters…4 times over. His uncanny ability to be blocked in at 200m and then cross the line first is just stunning to me.
What I hate: Hey, Mark, just because George Hincapie is on your team, doesn’t mean you need to give boring interviews like him. You just became the only Briton in history to win 4 stages in one Tour de France. It’s ok to show some emotion. I mean, you have to be at least a little excited, right?

What I hate: Robbie McEwen’s team left him out in the cold, opting to build itself around Cadel Evans for the overall. In the process, the team wasn’t strong enough to support Cadel and Robbie had no domestiques or lead out men to aid in his normally spectacular stage wins.
What I Love: Robbie McEwen’s poise in dealing with the situation and still being gracious to his clueless sponsors in the face of adversity. I won’t be surprised if he switches teams for next year.

What I hate: Schumacher falling on his way to the finish at Super Besse causing him to lose his yellow jersey and blaming Kim Kirchen (who ended taking the yellow that day) for it.
What I love: Kharma. In 2006, Schumacher took the overall victory at the Benelux Tour when he bumped into George Hincapie (who was leading the race at that point) causing him to crash. In this year’s Tour de France, Schumacher lost the yellow to George’s teammate, Kirchen.

What I love: All of the strong emotions surrounding the Tour.
What I hate: Writers who express their opinion and presume to know EVERYTHING about the Tour. Myself included.

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