--Today I was totally dumbfounded watching the stage. There's Cav, he's made it through the melee, he's going, he's...what? Chapeau to Hutarovich for the win. Apparently the stage was SUPER hot and Cav puked a few times during the stage.
--I totally forgot the Schlecks were going to be at the Vuelta. On that note, I say Menchov gets 3rd, and the Schlecks split 2nd and 1st. However, I think it'll be Frank who gets the top step this year. He'll be well rested and ready to rock after having crashed out of the Tour early.
--I finally got around to posting my buddy Lucas Binder's race reports. He raced at Cal and has now taken some time off to train and race. He's a fantastic writer and his race reports are some of my favorite to read.
I put them up on Posterous and so far I really like it. You can blog by email so I just forward his emails to Posterous and then get a confirmation email that they've posted.
-I didn't know this but I guess Garmin crashed during their warmup the other night. Didn't look like it affected Julian Dean too much though as I think it was him doing the leadout today.
--Speaking of Garmin, Garmin and Cervelo are merging! This has me really psyched. I've wanted to see Garmin on good bikes for a while now. It'll be cool to see Cervelos in Garmin colors.
What isn't clear is why Cervelo is leaving the sport as a title sponsor. Initially they seemed to be doing really well but I guess that changed. A statement by Vroomen mentioned something about changes to UCI requirements for teams but he didn't give specifics.
Also, hopefully they'll pick up Theo Bos in addition to the other Cervelo guys.
--In other news, Brooke Miller has retired from cycling. For those of you who don't know about her, she was one of the best women cyclists out there. She didn't start riding until grad school but still made it to the top of the sport.
--My mom (@diehardokie) made some killer peanut butter oat bars.
Here's the recipe. I already put in an order for more!
--Universal Sports rocks. Period. Their Veulta coverage is a perfect example of how to cover long-tail sporting events (non-mainstream) and Versus could learn a lot from them.
First, a summary of why Versus's coverage of the Tour was so awful. I blogged about this after the Tour was over but wanted to expand a bit.
The major issue with the Versus Tour coverage was the amount of ads. Not only did they stack commercials beyond 10k to go, the programming itself was filled with ads. There were the repeated Specialized, RoadID, Clean Bottle--you name it--ads packed into the programming.
Why did they put so many ads? Well, tweets by Versus Cycling producer Joel Felicio (@joelfelicio) repeatedly stated Verus had to pay its bills. Of course, this is understandable. All stations must pay their bills, or it must be worth taking a loss on a certain program for some other benefit. The real question is why its bills were so high.
It looks like most of the money they spent was on commentary. They had Bob and the gang doing pre-games and Franky and Robbie doing on the ground interviews. I could go into how good/bad the actual commentary was, how Lance-y it was, et cetera but that wasn't it. The problem is: for football, or other events, the pre-game is fine, even enjoyable, but only because you get to see the entire game. With the Tour, every minute of Bob roll and his crew chatting and flashing their RoadID bracelets was a minute of the race missed. So, between mediocre, even outstanding commentary/interviews and watching the race, I will always choose the race. Always.
So you're sitting there watching ads instead of the race to pay for commentary that's also there instead of the race.
Additional monies were spent on their 30 second Tour clips advertising the "Toughest Race on Earth" but again, at the expense of showing the actual race. I think these were done in an effort to grab the interest of non-die hard cyclofans like myself, which brings up the other problem.
Let's think of cycling--an obscure sport where guant men shave their legs, wear spandex, and attempt to pedal the fastest--as analgous to an equally obscure sport known as curling. Although entertaining to some, no amount of graphics and production will make this interesting to others. Even if you have really good pieces about how tough curling is, you're not going to gain new fans that way.
For whatever reason, Versus did a football-esque overproduction of the event. Interviews, cut to the race, show 10 seconds, cut to Bob Roll, cut to graphic, cut to... It made me crazy and judging by the blogosphere during the Tour, I wasn't the only one.
Basically, less is more. Just show the race, have a little commentary, but show the race. Versus did this to a tee online. Their Tour Tracker was awesome. It had the French video feed and commentary. It had video on demand. I can still log in and watch stages. It's perfect.
This is what Universal Sports is doing and it's great. Although the Versus feed is better quality, the nice thing about the Universal Sports player is while it's live--if you wake up late--you don't have to wait until the stage is over to watch it on demand. While it's live you can scroll back and see ten minutes before.
Okay, I'm tired of ranting.
--Now that Devolder is gone Lefevere has found a new scapegoat. File this under "guys you don't want to work for."
--I'll leave you with these little Vino's...