Buffoons on the OLN (Only Lance Network)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

While there are many things I can adore my current apartment for, the one thing I do reproach is the lack of cable television. Not that I am a cable junkie... but it's hard to be a sports junkie without cable television. Last month I was fortunate to catch Wimbledon, in all its Federator majesty. This month, I was reserved for the Tour... but the Tour de France is only visible live in North America on one network, the OLN. Usually that stands for Outdoor Living Network, but due to its coverage, I think we can safely call it the Only Lance Network.

Maybe I'm spoiled by France 2 ou 3, ridiculous as that may sound. My summers in France have been coloured in July by afternoons riddled with non-stop non-commercialed coverage of the race. I miss my Jaja commentary, the inevitable screams of "horrible chute," and "grosse défaillance," and "il craque," lighting up the audio track. One gets mesmerized and haunted by the endless repetitions of time differentials, slow-mo's of attacks, and the general spirit of the tour. There is something about the non-stop coverage that stays true to the temerity and perserverance of the riders themselves. We don't stray far from the north. We follow the riders, not sports drinks.

So, to my big "déception," I caught todays re-broadcast of the stage today on the OLN channel. This is the first time I'm seeing the Tour from overseas, the first time I'm getting a taste of the 2005 edition, and let me tell you folks, those commentators are cheese-heads with all the passion and love for the sport as a boy who eats pizza everyday talking about great Italian food.


  1. the number of commercial breaks outnumbers the minutes of actual coverage in the first two hours.
  2. whatever coverage I do get is speckled by reports showing what a team car is, who Lance is, and tech specs on the Discovery bikes. All which can be gleaned by watching the Tour itself, watching TV and googling the Discovery team... respectively. I find this dumbing down of the Tour lazy and frustrating.
  3. all the buffoons seem to talk about is Lance. Lance is really quite boring... especially since we know all there is to know about him already.

Think about it, his career can roughly be cut down to this:
Great promising sprinter wins world championship, gets cancer, bounces back and wins 6 Tour de France, dates Sheryl Crow, starts mad craze for tacky yellow wrist bands, makes recovering cancer aunties love him (despite the fact he's a drug addict), and dreams of running for President.

He's not complicated either: "I like to win, at all costs."

Boring. I prefer Ullrich...
German prodigy from DDR Cycling Camp takes Tour de France by storm winning La Boucle in his second year. Consequent fame makes him a lazy bugger and endless streams of stories spew about mad oyster and choucroute orgies, crazy Ecstasy taking, and it's still possible to find red-faced puffy pictures of Jan from techno parties. He likes to stop training for a good hot chocolate and continues to be disrespectful to his stomach, despite having the shits so bad one time he actually crapped in his shorts climbing up a mountain. Possible future as a sports bar-owner in Rostock.

His motto: "I want to beat Lance...ooooh, is that ecstasy in my sausage?"


Happy that Rasmussen has the polka-dot jersey. He likes to attack mountains alone, and that's gutsy, not to mention sado-masochistic.

Karpets with the white jersey: no surprise. I like him... it will be interesting how he manages his climb tomorrow. We know he can do the time trials. Now I wonder why Telecom didn't try and steal him this year? Maybe he'll finish second...

Boonen won't be keeping that green on him much longer. Thor can climb. But I liked looking at Boonen's bum all torn up...

Lance might give up the yellow deliberately. It's more strategic for him to hold off it for a moment and let some unknown, who'll kill the mountain tomorrow, hold if for him.


*I think this post has it's dubious origins in the fact my mother said the only cyclist she knows on the Tour is..... proving once again that ignorance is the result of poor media coverage, and how only having one dominant media language on a continent makes research limited.