Tour de France fanatics

Anybody else live for watching le Tour every July? I got on the Lance bandwagon a few years ago, but I’m enjoying watching this year as much as any other. Looks like a wide-open race with lots of the favorites out due to doping allegations (Ullrich, Basso) or injury (Valverde).

The first week was quite fun, watching the teams of the sprinters reeling in breakaways and launching their men for runs up to the finish line. I was incredibly impressed with McEwen coming out of nowhere at the exact right moment and winning three stages.

With today’s time trial and the mountain stages coming up, the big boys looking for the yellow jersey are coming out to play. I’d love to see an American win, especially Hincapie. Landis did well in today’s time-trial, but Leipheimer really faded. I’ve been a Kloden fan since his podium finish a few years ago and am hoping he does well again this race.

I wish had bios of the riders. Anybody know where that info’s available?

(My sincerest apologies if this topic has already been done and/or is in the wrong forum. I looked for a Tour thread but couldn’t find one.)

Lance isn’t there, but there’s as much drama as there’s ever been. The top riders withdraw before the race even starts, the winner of the prologue laying in the street in a pool of blood, more contenders out with broken bones, Robbie McEwen’s amazing sprints, and Landis’ handlebar problems.

Today is the day when things really start to get sorted out. Go, big George!

Bobby Julich-- Owwwwwie owie owie.
I’ve liked seeing Boonen in yellow. I’m sort of liking this scramble-up with all the perennially-obvious names out of the race. It’s more fun, in some way. I wonder how George will do in the end?

This is only my second year of watching, and I’m really getting into it. Any tips for the newbie?

I’m watching, as always. Although I loved the Lance years, I’m actually relieved that now we’re going to be seeing some different great riders having their innings.

I also dearly love to see footage of the countryside of France. I wish the announcers would do a better job of telling us which village the riders are going through - I like to keep up with my Michelin map.

Go down to your news stand and pick up a copy of VeloNews’ guide to the tour. Other cycling magazines publish guides as well. Bob Roll’s Tour de France Companion isn’t current, but it gives you the basics in his own unique style.

Having the chance to see the coverage with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen when the race is ‘live’ in the morning sure makes me despise the ‘Enhanced coverage’ during the evening rebroadcast. I find the commentary far more compelling since it revolves around the cylclists and the actual race than the overdubs made by Bob Roll and Al (?). Their commentary seems too general and rife with dead air. I appreciate that they are trying to make it more accessible to viewers who may be unfamiliar with the sport, but it sure doesn’t come across that way.

My wife has merely a passing interest (mostly the fact that I am interested) in the tour, but her frustration as she listens to the broadcast as she is doing other things is apparent with comments like “Are they racing today, or are they just showing highlights and talking?” She would rather be forced to listen to Phil and Paul than Bob and Al. :smiley:

P.S. Bob, please stop saying Toor DEE frAnts. I know you’ve been there before, so try to say it with a little bit of flair…Tour duh Fronss.

That’s definitely a big draw for me. I studied for a semester in Paris, so watching the Tour makes me feel in a little way like I’m back. Plus, it’s gorgeous.

There’s also, which seems to have pretty thorough coverage. I’d still like to see some more thorough rider profiles somewhere, though. I mean, there were about a zillion Olympians, and seemed to have at least a little blurb about all of them - I wish OLN would do the same!

I totally agree. Fortunately, as an unemployed student and certified summer bum, I get to watch the live coverage in the mornings. I’ve been wondering where they got the British cycling experts, since my perception is that it’s not very popular over there. I’ve only heard of one UK rider in this year’s tour. Is this perception well-founded? Was cycling bigger in Britain a while ago?

Anyway, stage 8 was fairly hum-drum. It was exciting to see a breakaway finally pull off a stage win, and I was happy for Calzati. One more flat stage tomorrow before the climbing starts in the Pyrenees on Wednesday. Wonder who will win the King of the Mountains jersey?

Check out – I think it’s really the best internet source for alll bike racing coverage.

I got the impression last year that he does that on purpose. I never did figure out the whole story, but it seemed like he has some angst about the Tour (or France?) and that’s his way of showing it.

i admit to this guilty pleasure… bike racing is interesting and complex, but I understand why others view it as watching golf…

i only wish they could stream the video live on the web so i could view at work…

Phil and Paul are great, but don’t be so hard on Bob. He does OK when he isn’t paired with Al. Geez, but Al is an effing moron. I really don’t like Al; they could replace his segments with dead air and it’d be an improvement.

Rogue is right about Bob. Back in the day he was a pro rider himself, and IIRC most of the French he ran across gave him a very hard time about his accent and pronunciation no matter how hard he worked at it. So he’s basically taken a “F. Them” attitude and deliberately pronounces it “very American”.

Frankly, I don’t see the problem. None of the English speakers really “get it right”; anyone fluent in French would find something to complain about in the whole lot of them.

Case in point, as it happens there is a very minor rider in the tour who shares a very French name with my IRL name. Phil consistently pronounced the name wrong on the one day this guy was doing something worth mentioning. If he would have simply pronounced it as it “should be” in English, I’d’ve never noticed. But he was attempting a French pronunciation and got it wrong and just grated on my nerves the whole day.

Fortunately, this rider hasn’t done anything worth mentioning since then so I don’t have to listen to Phil butcher the name any more. :slight_smile:

I was just reading today’s stats and they averaged 29mph over 105 miles. Damn, but those guys are amazing. The only way I’d ever average 29mph is if it were downhill all the way. :slight_smile:

Completely flat stage, with only 3 Cat 5 climbs. If they were just trying to get a fast time on one stage, I bet they could average 33 on that route.

You can find recreational bike riders who – AS A GROUP – could average 20 mph over that much distance. Doing a sub-5 hour century is not a rare feat. I know (good) triathletes who have averaged around 22 mph for 112 miles BY THEMSELVES.

With decent organization, amateur racers could average 26 over that kind of distance if it was flat.

It’s not a number that amazess me, but still, that’s a pretty big increase over what guys I know could accomplish and those are guys who are – by most measures – incredible atheletes.

Another story comes to light today: Floyd Landis announced that he will be having hip replacement surgery after the race. This could possibly be his last Tour.

McEwen almost pulled it off again today…that guy is amazing.

Hey I’ve been watching the Tour since the Greg LeMond years… and I watch golf, too! :slight_smile:

This has been pretty exciting since their isn’t an obvious winner like there has been for most of the last 15 years or so. I tend to not watch the flat stages, though, so I was glad to see the TT on Saturday, and look forward to the mountain stages. Lots of local favorites for us Americans to cheer for, but the stages comeing up and the ones in the Alps are where we separate the men from the boys!

Big Shake up today.

Rasmussen didn’t go early but attacked late. Keep an eye on him. Last year he was one of the best climbers, and if I recall correctly, he was sitting about 5th going into the final individual time trial where he screwed up royally.

He hasn’t been mentioned much this year, but keep an eye out. He could be wearing the yellow when we come out of the mountains.

I think stage 9 may have been McEwen’s most impressive sprint yet, even though he lost by a tire-width. You see a green jersey bobbing around in the background, moving back and forth, not finding an opening and then BAM! Green blur shoots horizontally across the screen as he finds the hole and comes within a hairsbreadth of pulling off the victory. He must have magic legs.

I had been wondering why we’d heard nary a mention of Rasmussen until today, when he briefly broke from the peloton to earn some King of the Mountains points. I seem to remember him having a huge mountain stage last year in which he had a solo breakaway and finished light-years ahead of the pack.

On a related note, I’ve been wondering what separates contenders for the overall win from those whose main aim is the polka-dot jersey. Obviously, overall contenders have to be able to climb, because mountain stages are where breakaways suceed and precious minutes are won or lost. If Rasmussen and his ilk are such great “specialty” climbers, why are they almost never mentioned as possibilities to win the yellow jersey? The main explanation I can come up with is that overall contenders are basically climbers who can also excel at time-trials, like Lance did. Is this more or less correct?

I love watching breakaways consisting of cyclists whose professional careers have otherwise been spent as journeymen workers for the better-knowns on their team. The glory of a stage win or a chance to wear the yellow jersey (however briefly) in the Tour!

My God. Golf is about a zillion times more interesting than watching grown men riding bicycles. I just don’t get it. But then again, I golf, and I could watch golf for hours.