View Full Version : Tour de France

July 15th, 2007, 10:44 PM
Does anyone else watch the Tour on Vs.? Man, today's race was awesome!!

Looks like the Disco Boys have a new leader. I am a HUGE Bob Roll fan. Yay Bobke!

The Fortress
July 15th, 2007, 11:03 PM
I do! Usually I'm glued to the TV, but too busy this summer to follow it too closely (plus, my guest don't like to watch cycling :eek:). Until tonight, the sprinters seemed to be dominating the last minute of coverage. But I see skinny little mountain dude is now the leader.

July 16th, 2007, 07:06 AM
Hoorah! There were a bunch of crashes and 1 of the biggest GC contenders had to abandon. Then the skinny little mountain dude (Michael Rasmussen) just took off and as Paul Sherwin said he rode "like a man possessed." But he can't sprint, so his lead isn't anything to be concerned with unless it continues to grow. (Gee - doesn't this sound like swimming?!?).

Iban Mayo, the guy that broke his hip and caused Lance Armstrong to go into a field to avoid a crash several years ago, had a great ride. He used to be really good, but since that crash, he is not the same rider, so it was great to see him do so well.

Oscar Ferrara (sp?) also had a great race - he's the one who finished 2nd last year to Floyd Landis (so actually he won since Floyd was doping).

Levi Leipheimer (sp?) didn't do as well as predicted, and another guy from the Discovery team took off and would have done quite well, but he had bike problems.

Today is a rest day and they say that is actually bad for the riders b/c they just finished a really tough mountain climb and they have another tough mountain climb tomorrow, so they have to have a hard workout today.

I have watched the Tour every year (what coverage there was) since Greg LeMond won. So sad that so many of the usual contenders are out, but then again at least 3 of them because of doping.

Today Vs. is having a "recap" so anyone interest will be able to catch up quickly and the good stuff only just started. The first week is usually boring unless there are some crashes.

July 16th, 2007, 07:34 AM
I have never really watched it before. I've followed it, but not watched it. BUT.... this year my dad volunteered at both the Tour of California and the Tour de Georgia so I taped and watched all coverage to look for my dad (he was on tv both races) and really got into watching bike racing in general. This TdF I've watched every day. My 2 year old sees it and says "bike racing" now. He says he'll ride in the Tour one year.

I would love to see someone from Discovery do well. Levi would be my choice but he didn't do that well yesterday. Geoge Hincapie could be a contender. Robbie McEwin is one of my favorites as well.


July 16th, 2007, 11:08 AM
I've been hooked on it for a few years now. Its become a summer get away when nothing else is on. I like that you can get daytime and evening coverage. I have Versus.com coverage going online at work. Bobke is great. He seems less animated every year though. I'll bet he was a hoot in his riding days as a domestique. In the days before radio communications between the riders and support crew, the the role of 'enforcer' was certainly a bigger job. It is a pretty unselfish job to know going into a 3 week race that you will never get the accolades but to race like there is no tomorrow anyhow.


The Fortress
July 16th, 2007, 01:06 PM
Levi's getting kind of old, isn't he? I dislike Vinokourov; not a team player at all. I thought Kloden and Valverde were big favorites. No way will Rasmussen hold on. He'll be destroyed in the next time trial. I'd like to catch some of the recap tonight.

Alison: I like EcEwin too! I love the way he comes out of nowhere for the final sprint.

July 16th, 2007, 01:15 PM
And McEwin is pretty good looking, too :)


July 16th, 2007, 10:56 PM
Good editorial about Bob Roll from Esquire magazine's web site. I loved the "Jan Ullrich trailer park" quote:

Anatomy of a Sportscaster

Meet Bob Roll, the worst color commentator on Earth and the best thing to happen to the Tour de France since Lance Armstrong.

By Arthur Ryel-Lindsey

With Lance Armstrong's retirement and a dark cloud hanging over Floyd Landis, some people might think there's no reason to watch this year's Tour de France, which kicked off in the very un-France-like location of London, England, on Saturday. Evidently, those people have never heard Bob Roll do color commentary.

Cycling fans and brave souls willing to venture into the triple-digit cable channel badlands already know about Roll, who has been teaming up with British cyclists-turned-commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, to cover the 22-day race for the Versus network since 2001. Of course, to call what Roll adds to the Versus broadcasts mere "color" is to undervalue the visible spectrum -- as you can see in the video below, he is a relentless presence, his words punctuated with wild hand gestures and loaded with clichés.

See, Roll's appeal can be distilled down to one singular trait: He is positively terrible, a man whose mouth has no filter and whose body showcases more physical tics than a bloodhound lost in the woods. But he is so terrible -- so unprofessional, so individual, so bewildering -- that he's become one of the funniest and most authentic color men working today.

In a world where heads talk and hands sit still, Roll -- whose nickname is "Bobke" -- is a man who has taken gesticulation to an epic extreme, regularly unleashing the kinds of two-handed double-clutches, power points, and fist pumps reserved for 30-foot putts. These moves aren't a calculated effort to draw attention to an obscure sport, however -- they're a happy accident, built from a lack of former training and a trip abroad.

"I didn't really use my hands to talk until I lived in Italy," Roll says. "There's no rhyme or reason to their expressiveness," he says, adding later, "I've used many clichés as a commentator, but I've gotten tired of them. So, I use my gestures to keep new clichés coming."

And those clichés certainly come. His hand gestures are an amuse bouche to Roll's signature dish -- the "Rollism," a witty mangling of the English language that would leave Yogi Berra scratching his head. Fansites like BobkeStrut.com and Cult of Bobke chronicle the better ones, like "Kilometers are passing like kidney stones," "Lance Armstrong is the eye of the hurricane and he's headed straight for the Jan Ullrich trailer park," and "It'll be a virtual schmegelfest of subhumanoids."

"That [last quote] is just another way of saying the fans are going crazy," Roll says. "Fans get a little carried away on the mountainsides. Especially Basque fans. Thank God they don't have anyone to root for or else there'd be real chaos."

But that explanation hardly gets to the real inspiration behind a good Rollism.

"I have always said them," Roll says. "My friends know them, the guys I ride with in the peleton. On TV, what seems to me like a conversation between a few people goes out to a broad group. It's a little disconcerting. It's odd to meet people on the street you've never met talking about things you've said."

Paired with two British cyclists, Roll believes his job in the booth is to provide the American story in the Tour, a role that he clearly relishes, purposely mangling French words and even the Tour's name. (Out of Roll's mouth, it's the "Tour Day Frants.") Consider it an act of rebellion against the tyranny of European restaurant staffers.

"On Tour," says Roll, a former professional cyclist and member of the original 7-Eleven cycling team, "no matter how perfectly you spoke French, [French waiters] pretended like they didn't understand you. That got old real fast. To get revenge, I decided to mispronounce as many French words as I could. Then I got to doing it all the time. The class system is still really prevalent here. And [the language] is a little pretentious..." Roll says a French phrase, which sounds dead-on. "That sounds pretentious -- it doesn't add to that American commentary idea."

With an American team that seems unlikely to carry on the winning legacy left by Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong, Bob Roll could be the only reason to watch the Tour de France for the next couple decades. "If another American wins the Tour in the next ten to twenty years, that'll be pretty surprising," Roll says. "I have my doubts for the sport. The sport is going to have a tough time flourishing. It'll need another superstar."

Or maybe it already has one, gesticulating wildly in the nether regions of your cable box, covering a sport few Americans understand and even fewer participate in. Perhaps Bob Roll is the American superstar the sport's been waiting for all along.

MAC swimmer
July 17th, 2007, 03:46 PM

What do Christoff Moreau, Eric Zabel, Vinikorov, David Millar, and long list of other tour riders have in common?

They have all tested positive to banned substances --usually EPO--sometime in their past. And yet, THEY ARE STILL RIDING AND COMPETING TODAY!!!

Do you think this would happen in swimming? No.

I'm guessing that 70-80% of professional riders in Europe are cheaters. Not a fair game in my book.

July 17th, 2007, 03:56 PM
Of course, the visibility (always bike-crazy Europeans and Americans
when Lance or Greg - or last year Floyd - is in the hunt for the TdF),
the venue (22-day stage race) and the money involved all increase the
temptation to cheat. If the conditions were similar I'm sure you'd
have that sort of problem in swimming as well. Heck, swimming did
have that problem back in the day when there was still an East

Skip Montanaro

July 18th, 2007, 12:50 PM
Hey Anna - thanks for the Bobke article. I admit it, I'm a Friend of Bobke wannabe. I have a fictitious list of those I would like to invite to a dinner party, and he is one the list.

Tree - I agree, I would have loved to have known more about Bob (and had coverage) when he was a domestique.

I'm sure that you are also aware that Bob was the guy who helped Lance get back on the road to training and get the right attitude. He accompanied him to Georgia or North Carolina (can't quite remember) and rode with Lance after Lance was ready to quit because his come back to racing after cancer was not going how he wanted it to. To me, that says it all right there. What a great friend and motivator and I love the way he talks about his daughter.

Anyway, yesterday's tour was exciting! I think Johann Burmeel (sp?) is saving Levi Leipheimer for the Pyranees and he sent Poppo and the other Discovery rider out to Chase the leader to wear down the other riders. Just my guess.

Did everyone catch that Robbie McEwen is out? He didn't make the time cut off in the last stage. Bummer! I always route for him to win the Green Jersey.

MAC - almost all of the great bikers have tested postive (except Lance), the list is long, Jan Ulrich, is on the list too and don't forget Marco Battani and Ivan Basso. Yes, it is certainly a shadow over the sport, but I still love watching this race!

July 18th, 2007, 02:20 PM
I would be willing to bet a large amount of money that Lance was on some sort of performance enhancers.

MAC, bike riders will typically have a much longer career at a high level than swimmers (Lance rode at a high level for 15 years and probably could've rode for a couple more) than swimmers (Popov had 8 strong years and then a lackluster Athens, and he's a sprinter). So even if the sanctions were equal, a cyclist could still come back and have a long career "post doping" than a swimmer.

And for the record, I think that if Mayo stays ahead of Liepheimmer at the time trials he wins the tour, because he can climb so well (he obliterated everyone, including Lance with his uber-team on Alpe' d' huez one year)

July 18th, 2007, 03:35 PM
I DVR the 8pm show so my wife and I can see Bob Roll. I'm a day behind so no spoiling!

July 18th, 2007, 07:39 PM
Quite frankly I think all of the riders are on some sort of performance enhancing substance, but at the time they take them it is probably not on the banned substance list. They get so many IVs and different medical treatments each night to battle dehydration, fatigue and muscle soreness that I'm sure there is something in them. Heck, caffeine is supposed to be a performance enhancing substance, but it is legal. Yet a gymnast cannot take cold medication prior to a competition because it will show up as testing positive.

With that being said, the only two times that I am aware of where Lance could have tested positive was once when he used some sort of creme to help with saddle sores in one of the Tours, but he got the officials permission to use it first. His drug test showed some elevation in something, but it was attributable to the creme he was taking. The second time was when he was recovering from his surgery and cancer and he was taking some sort of hormone that I think would have shown up as something (I think an EPO, but I'm not 100% sure on this), but he had a medical waiver and so it was legal.

Bob Roll's book about the Tour equates the stress of riding is like climbing Mount Everest 3 times in 3 weeks. The reason the riders look so gaunt and almost gray at the end of the race is from oxygen deprivation and over working of muscles. It is so incredibly hard on their bodies.

July 19th, 2007, 03:02 PM
Susan, I did catch the reports that Robbie McEwen was ut but didn't know why. How sad. He was doing so well early on.


July 19th, 2007, 03:22 PM
These two articles were cited in another thread a while back. They give a better understanding into doping and why it would be so tempting for a professional endurance athlete.

This one gives an interesting history of doping. Read it first because it will provide some technical knowledge that will be useful in the second article.


This one was written by an adult athlete who tried doping to see what it was like.



July 22nd, 2007, 09:46 PM
I usually cannot see the tour live because we don't get Versus. But I was able to see today's stage finish, live. First day in the Pyrennes. Great spectacle. These guys really suffer. The setting is beautiful. It didn't really look like Rasmussen was tested much today. I wonder if anyone other than Contador can push him in the remaining mountain stages.

July 23rd, 2007, 10:53 AM
I think Contador is trying to push him so he'll break for the non-climbing stages and make way for Levi. They keep saying that this is not Contador's year, but he is a star for the future. But he just seems so strong and Levi just doesn't have the explosive power in the mountains.

Oh the mystery and the drama. I love it!!!!

Did anyone catch that the riders aren't able to take anything for pain, swelling, etc except ibuprofen. Wow.

Don't you think from the way Contador climbs the mountains so easily he looks so much like Lance Armstrong from behind. It is really cool. He may not be an American, but at least he is with Team Discovery (which by the way they need a new sponsor for next year.....What about Team USMS?)

The Fortress
July 23rd, 2007, 11:01 AM
Did anyone catch that the riders aren't able to take anything for pain, swelling, etc except ibuprofen. Wow.

True, but they're worked over by massage specialists and ART guys every night. That gets the lactic acid out and reduces swelling and pain too.

July 23rd, 2007, 11:33 AM
Now you, too, can manage your own professional cycling team...



July 23rd, 2007, 08:26 PM
I think Contador is trying to push him so he'll break for the non-climbing stages and make way for Levi. They keep saying that this is not Contador's year, but he is a star for the future. But he just seems so strong and Levi just doesn't have the explosive power in the mountains.

It sure looks like a two person race. It looks like Contador is the real deal. Stage 16 is a monster, and it is going to tell most of the story in this year's tour. Rasmussen has enough of a lead now that unless someone breaks him, its going to be very hard to overtake him on the stage 19 time trial.

So what would you do if you were Levi or Kloden or Contador? Attack early and hope it holds up? Or hold of to the final HC climb of the day and see if you can get the 2+ minutes you'll need to have a chance on the TT?

This shouldn't come across as unpatriotic: I don't mind at all if there is a non-American vying for the lead. These guys are so talented, and its amazing watching them duel on the mountains.

July 25th, 2007, 05:17 PM
O man, the excitement continues. Without dwelling on the doping scandal that broke out yesterday and today....I won't spoil it for anyone, but today's race was really fun to watch. It was so good, I'm going to watch the replay and extended version tonight!

Viva La Tour!

July 25th, 2007, 05:40 PM
Tour de Steroide..what a joke.

July 25th, 2007, 07:22 PM
It's more fun watching pictures of an opium den. At least there are no pretenses there...

Karen Duggan
July 26th, 2007, 08:16 PM
My hubby's suggestion was that they fold up the whole thing, clean house, and then try again. Very few, I know, have any respect for this race anymore.

Mel, too funny!:rofl:

July 28th, 2007, 11:11 AM
Say what you want, I still love the competition, especially today as I am watching the time trial. Go Levi!!!!

July 28th, 2007, 03:53 PM
Say what you want, I still love the competition, especially today as I am watching the time trial. Go Levi!!!!

I agree, Susan. I loved today's time trial. I'm rooting for Levi, too. I even had my 2 year old yelling "go Levi, go, go"


July 28th, 2007, 09:39 PM
I was holding out hope that Levi would take it, but 31 seconds is just too much to make up, if it was him and Cadel Levi could've had a 1 in 100 shot

July 30th, 2007, 10:04 PM
Well, the Tour has finished with a trio of worthy cyclists on the podium. I may be sounding naive, but the guys still standing at the end at least were saying the right things, that is, wanting to compete without dope.

There may be a lesson or a moral in the contrast between cycling and swimming. I think there is a lot more money in cycling (at least in Europe) and it has clearly corrupted the whole culture of the sport. That isn't just the fault of the money, but those that control the purstrings. I'm talking about a lot of the team sponsors, and the event sponsors (yes, that includes the tour de france organizers). They have all been raking in the big bucks while looking the other way as hard core and pervasive doping went on right under their collective noses. And some of them had the gall to blame the UCI.

I'm not opposed to more money in sport. But those that are in control of the money have to be vigilant and not be afraid to gore a few sacred cows (that is, star athletes) if they want to keep the sport clean.

August 1st, 2007, 03:07 PM
Coming soon... The Tour of Missouri, September 11-16. Team Discovery Channel is participating! :cheerleader:


"The Tour of Missouri is a 600-mile, six-day world-class bicycle race patterned after the Tour de Georgia and Amgen Tour of California. It is a race that features point-to-point racing. The race starts in Kansas City, September 11 and concludes September 16 in St. Louis, including legs to Clinton, Springfield, Branson, Lebanon, Columbia, Jefferson City, and St. Charles. The race will feature teams of eight from 15 of the world’s top professional cycling teams.

The race is sanctioned by the UCI, the international governing body for cycling, and USA Cycling, the national governing body for cycling. It is ranked as a 2.1, second in ranking to only the Tour de Georgia and Amgen Tour of California in North American cycling. The event’s management group is Medalist Sports of Tyrone, Ga., the organizers of both the California and Georgia races. KOM Sports Marketing of Colorado Springs, Colo., is the event’s marketing agency."

September 11 – Kansas City to Kansas City, road race (out and back), 85 mi.
September 12 – Clinton to Springfield, road race, 125 mi.
September 13 – Branson, individual time trial, 18 mi.
September 14 – Lebanon to Columbia, road race, 133 mi.
September 15 – Jefferson City to St. Charles, road race, 123 mi.
September 16 – St. Louis, circuit race, 74 mi.

August 1st, 2007, 04:07 PM
"The Tour of Missouri is a 600-mile, six-day world-class bicycle race patterned after the Tour de Georgia and Amgen Tour of California.

Funny, my dad has worked both races. Even the first ever Tour de Georgia. I would love to go stand on the side and watch these races. One day I'm going to France with my sister and brother-in-law to watch.


MAC swimmer
August 2nd, 2007, 11:14 AM
Cycling nees to clean house.

Michigan, I love your optimism though. Caffeine is a banned substance in the Olympics because it most certainly is performance enhancing--more O2 uptake. I think the limit is the equivalent of 3-5 expressos. So you can power down 2.5 cups of stasrbucks 30 minutes before your event. I wish that it was that easy--maybe drinking coffee will shave 3 seconds of my 100 free time.:cane:

September 11th, 2007, 11:35 PM
The Tour of Missouri began today. Contador, Leipheimer, and Hincapie are all riding in it.


Stage 1 was here in Kansas City. I watched the last 30 minutes of the race, which was a 3-lap circuit.

I got an AWESOME souvenir from today's stage. The first time the riders came by, one of them tossed aside his used water bottle. I had to out-sprint a kid to pick it up. It was a DISCOVERY CHANNEL water bottle!!!!! It's got the Discovery logo and everything on it. And it has a black "X" written on the lid in magic marker.

Anna Lea

September 12th, 2007, 09:19 PM
Anna Lea,
The mountain stages must be killers.

September 12th, 2007, 10:30 PM
The mountain stages must be killers.

Ha, ha! Believe it or not, they have a "King of the Mountains" jersey in this race. They had KOM sections in both yesterday's and today's stages. Tomorrow they're doing an 18-mile time trial in Branson - I think they're going to hit 1,300 feet in elevation! :woot:

Anna Lea

September 13th, 2007, 01:41 PM
Too cool Anna! Congratulations - I'm jealous!!

Re: KOM - Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are actually some steep hills in KCMO, the one that comes to mind is Hospital Hill (I think that is the name).

OK, so its not the Alps, but I would imagine there will be some challenges in the Ozarks.

September 14th, 2007, 12:01 AM
Re: KOM - Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are actually some steep hills in KCMO, the one that comes to mind is Hospital Hill (I think that is the name).

OK, so its not the Alps, but I would imagine there will be some challenges in the Ozarks.

Yes, Susan, you are correct. There's a Hospital Hill 10K and half-marathon every June.

The riders have commented on the hills. Today's stage was an 18-mile time trial near Branson, Missouri. One of the riders said that it was "all uphill."

And during yesterday's stage (from Clinton to Springfield), there was a bizarre accident...

From live coverage on VeloNews.com:
"We just ran into BMC’s Dan Schmatz, the St. Louis native who crashed out of the race yesterday after running into an armadillo. He said he didn’t know if the critter was alive or dead when he hit it, but it was definitely dead when he was done with it. Schmatz estimated that it was as big as a “medium sized dog” and said he was told by some of the locals that armadillos are a regular roadside hazards in these parts. Schmatz was initially knocked unconscious after flying over the top of his handlebars and landing hard on his head. Initially he wanted to keep racing but when his team staff saw how badly his helmet was cracked, they persuaded him to get into the car. It was then that he realized that there was a problem with his collarbone, which was broken."

September 14th, 2007, 02:08 PM

Sorry about the guy getting injured, but that was hilarious. I didn't think armadillos were fast critters. Did the guy just not see it until it was too late or am I mistaken about armadillos?

Oh good, I can procrasinate some more at work today and I'll google armadillos. :banana:

three minutes later......

Found a website devoted entirely to the armadillo. http://www.msu.edu/~nixonjos/armadillo/

another three minutes later.....

Taken from the armadillo website......"Armadillos like to swim, and they are very good at it. They have a strong dog paddle, and can even go quite a distance underwater, walking along the bottom of streams and ponds. They can hold their breath for four to six minutes at a time. When they need to cross larger bodies of water, they swim across."

Fear the Dillo!