I Went to The Tour And All I Got Was This Lousy Computer

trs80b.gifI’ve been trying to bring myself to write a post about the upcoming glory and spectacle of the Tour de France, but so far I’ve got bubkis. Nothing. Zero. Why? Well because this year I just don’t give a shit.

It all started last year when Versus went back to saying the name Lance every third word. It’s not that I don’t like Lance, I thought he was dandy back when it was his Tour de france and it wasn’t a big comeback story. Actually maybe that’s part of the problem. It’s not really a comeback story in the sense that a comeback story usually has the returning champion return to glory. Each stage of last year’s Tour Phil and Paul would comment about how it looked like Lance was just about to strike. Only he never did.

Then it was doping. And more doping. And so much more doping that now even bicycles are doing it. Floyd pulled a Greg and now we’re waiting to see if the FBI arrests everyone ever involved in US Cycling for fraud. Ugh.

Then Bicycling magazine came yesterday with a photo of Lance and Alberto on the cover. And a photo of Lance on page 3. And page 5. And in some ads between pages. And in the Tour highlight coverage. And in the bound-in booklet for the Nissan. And in the classified. And in the product reviews. I’m surprised he wasn’t listed on the masthead.

Hey, how about a photo of Alberto in there somewhere guys? You know Alberto, the guy who won the tour recently? The guy who will probably win it again? Should win it again?

I’m so media weary already that I can’t stand to watch the Tour this year. Really, I can’t stand the thought of the Versus intros and outros doing profiles on Radio Shack. I can’t stand the thought of every climb being compared to the one with The Look. I can’t stand the thought of seeing a ton of Radio Shack and Nissan ads.

Really it’s not about Lance for me. It’s about battle fatigue. My sport has been besieged by more marketing campaigns than I can stand. More doping than I can stomach and more potential for the possibility of future cataclysmic fallout from alleged doping I care to think about it.



10 Comments

Ok, tell the truth, now - depsite protests otherwise, it is about Lance.

Bicycle racing (at least in modern times) has always been about selling and marketing, from the corporate named teams to the detailed “reviews” of the latest bike tech.  And this year is no different, no more, no less, marketing-wise.

Doping has been there as well, and for good reason.  In recent history, most (all?) pro riders were (are?) doped up, at least for a long period of time.  When you talk cycling (racing) with a non-fan, it’s all about doping.  Doesn’t matter that MLB, NFL and countless other pro sports are neck deep in pharmaceuticals, cycling = doping, and this year is no different.

So, really, it comes down to too much Lance for your tastes.  Absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I understand it, but honestly, Lance sells it.  Whatever “it” is, he sells it and he sells it damn well.

Look, if you’re so media weary, then just switch media.

You’re a columnist in a dynamic media but are complaining about US print and US TV. You can’t be that set in your ways,can you?

Certainly, there’s got to be someone else broadcasting it. If you don’t want to stream it, then you can at least find it in another language on TV.

Yeah, vote with your feet so Versus gets the point and changes things.

Versus has the license—so you get that Cyclism graphics non stop and Craig Hummer et al. That being said, we’ve got more coverage then the old days when it was second hand VCR tapes recorded from pirate satellite. Streams will get locked down too, but Steephill or Cyclingfans tracks all that.

It’s a lament from us and others that the sport is more marketed than ever and that happens in other sports I’m sure. It’s all hyper marketed now with and then hyperlocal with social networks. The sport is thriving at the local level where we enjoy it the most.

Versus sucks. I’d still love to have it in HD, but can’t get it on *Comcast*, of all cable companies. Lance, Lance, Lance…

For some dumb reason (named boredom), I watched their TdF pre-coverage. Little did I know that the Tour de France is a man-on-man matchup. One man wins, one man loses: the American (Armstrong/Farrar), or the foreign guy who’s clearly better (Contador/Cavendish). Of course, the party could be spoiled by one or two outliers, but that’s *highly* unlikely.

We call that the Lance Bokeh, all focus is on Lance.

@grenred - It’s not all about Lance for me, no. I also withdrew from the sport when previous doping scandals came up in the middle of the Tour. I remember listening to Phil’s despondent voice and I just got sick of it then and stopped watching.

When Lance was going for tours six and seven the marketing machines were in effect even more than they are now. And while the marketing was wearing thin, what was really aggravating was the methodical (some call it boring) control of the race.

It’s not any one thing. It’s partially now that the marketing is blown out of proportion to the “cause celebre”. None of Lance’s competitors think he’s going to be #1 on the podium and even he’s said it. If there were a big Contador marketing blitz I’d likely be all over it, just like I was all over it when Versus (then God’s Fishing Channel) did the road to the tour specials.

@ Mark - I’m not saying I can’t find an alternative media stream. I’m saying the the existing media stream has *decreased* my desire to watch *any* form of the tour. Instead of making me want to watch the Tour and buy a Leaf, I just want to go ride as far and as fast in the opposite direction of pro racing as I can.

The [Landis WSJ](http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704911704575326753200584006.html?KEYWORDS=floyd+landis) just broke with more allegations of blood transfusions, doping, cocaine and strippers. Denials across the sport in response so far. Oh and [Ball’s apartment](http://links.bikehugger.com/2010/07/michael-ball-rock-racing-team-named-in-search-warrant-for-peds-on-heels-of-floyd-landis-confession.html) got searched.

And [Michael Ball’s apartment](http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/) got searched.

I like the “Old School” fixed-gear computer in the illustration.  Running BASIC programs from cassette is very zen.

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