Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Tour So Far

courtesy Roberto Bettini

Dave Zabriskie's run in the yellow jersey came to a violent end yesterday, as he crashed out during team CSC's second place team time trial effort, with less than two kilometers to go. Discovery Channel beat CSC by just two seconds while setting a new record for average speed in the event. The Boss now takes over as race leader.

It's really a shame about Zabriskie, and not just because it's a shame any time someone loses the yellow jersey. It's a shame because---for once---an American other than Lance Armstrong got some press coverage. In fact, the media, especially OLN, took quite a liking to young Mr. Zabriskie, with tons of glowing praise for him on TV and on the Internet.

I have a theory as to why this is: Zabriskie comes across as normal. He's quiet, witty and generally easy-going. He's shy in front of the cameras and chooses his words carefully when asked questions by reporters. He's humble and heaps tons of praise on his teammates even when the focus should be on himself. In general, he's the polar opposite of AMERICAN HERO CYCLING LEGEND LANCE ARMSTRONG. Zabriskie, more than other Americans like Floyd Landis, George Hincapie and even Bobby Julich, comes across as an honest-to-god "regular guy", even if his sense of humor is a little over most people's heads. You couldn't ask for a better race leader.

And on a related note, I'm growing more and more disgusted by OLN's coverage of the Tour this year. Last year was pretty bad, with Lanceophilia at an all-time high. This year, it's become gratuitous. It's unbelievable to me that as Discovery Channel crossed the finish line at the end of the TTT, OLN cut to a split screen of Sheryl Crow's face---I assume to catch her reaction to the finish. This makes sense considering that she's the only girlfriend in the entire peloton. Only Lance Armstrong has a mate that cares about how he does in the race.

Dear OLN: Quit pandering to an audience that you don't have. The only people watching every single day of Tour coverage are the usual suspects: actual cycling fans. No one is watching the race to keep up with Sheryl Crow's exploits, that's for sure. In fact, nobody even remembered that she was alive until she started dating Lance Armstrong---so spare us the Sheryl's Reaction Split Screen and focus on the FUCKING BIKE RACE. Thanks.