The Cyclysm -- All Lance, All the Time

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Anonymous's picture


'Did I call it? The fact that this would be the summer of celebrity intervention in athletic games, I mean? Come August, like goddesses in a Greek epic, the blondes of Los Angeles will descend upon Athens to crown their heroes with the laurels of victory. Last winter, Lance Armstrong, five-time Tour de France champion, cancer survivor, and all-around personification of courage and excellence—a role he good-naturedly spoofs in a cameo in the new movie Dodgeball—split up with his wife of five years and began dating pop-country star Sheryl Crow. Now Crow's in France, standing by her man and giving interviews on the Outdoor Life Network (one recent question: ""Has the fluidity and savagery of the sport inspired you to write any music about it?""). If you have good cable and no job, you can spend the whole day following the Tour on OLN, which is in the midst of a bike-themed programming blitz the network promos have dubbed ""the Cyclysm"" (cycling cataclysm? cyclical orgasm?). The Cyclysm is essentially all Lance, all the time—interviews not only with intimates like Crow, but with the U.S. team's cook, their mechanic, the guy who drives their bus. At the end of each day's live coverage, there are installments of a half-hour series called ""The Lance Chronicles,"" which allow you to follow everything from Armstrong's topless Esquire cover shoot to his speech at a charity benefit in his native Austin, Texas.'"

Anonymous's picture
Christophe Jammet (not verified)

it seems to me that having a problem w/ lance being famous is about the same as having a problem with michael jordan being famous in basketball. how many people have come into the sport because of lance? he's famous for a reason, and i think it should be celebrated. granted, there are many other cyclists who deserve attention, but frankly, there are people who's job is to market the sport effectively, and by putting lance in front, its a sure fire hit.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
yeah, but...

"... it sure beats he// out of days past when we (Americans) were lucky to catch a whole 30 minutes (less commercials) a week of the TdF coverage on ""World Wide of Sports"". No less I seem to recall some American with a French sounding last name was wearing the yellow jersey quite often back then, too.

Until the local sports newsreaders stop referring to the Maillot Jaune as the ""Yellow Jacket"", I say BULLY!! to ""All Lance, All the Time"".

If it's too much Lance time fer ya...that's what the stinkin' remote is for. ;-) There's always baseball to watch or LA Lakers offseason drama to watch. I find it quite refreshing to hear Lance, Tyler, Sheryl, Jan, Roberto, Frankie, Bob, Phil and Paul and the many other pro/former pro cyclists and fan enthusiasts (but not Al T.) speak and quite articulate at that than the current stock of pampered professional ball players whine, mope or monosyllabic-speak the usual canned tell-nothing, PR rehearsed phrases. <yawn&gt

Kudos for OLN's race coverage! Let the mountain stages begin! Wooohooo!!!


p.s. how's that for a rant? :-)"

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
More Lance doesn't mean more cycling coverage

The trend at OLN over the last few years has been more Lance, but less cycling. Last year they showed repeats of the Giro stages at night, and the year before, also of the Vuelta. This year, both are only shown live (perhaps repeated in the early afternoon). No World Championships, no Tour of Lombardy, no women's cycling, no track racing. (One of my favorite moments of watching OLN was seeing Sean Eadie beat Arnaud Tournant in the sprint championship in 2002.) Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and Amstel Gold are much truncated and on tape delay. Why? Because Lance isn't in these races. Instead we get Lance Chronicles ad nauseam.

I'm very glad we have OLN. But its cycling coverage is very unbalanced, because they try to cater to the man in the street, who knows nothing about cycling except the Tour and Lance. Hence the Lance obsession. When he retires, how much cycling will be left on OLN?

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
different corollary

More Lance doesn't mean more cycling coverage

That's correct - it means we have cycling coverage period.

Mordecai, while I miss evening rebroadcasts of the Giro and presumably the upcoming Vuelta, you need to look at this from a different perspective. Love 'em or hate 'em or some where in between, without LA most likely there would not be as much coverage as we still enjoy today.

The events you mentioned were not broadcasted before when Lemond was wearing yellow. I'm sure OLN's coverage is definitely a business driven decision - a gamble perhaps or last years revenue didn't cut it. Speculations abound! My cable broadcaster provides 8, 9, 10,.. hours of RAI programming a day. No Giro coverage, not even highlights the past 2 years - guess why??

Anonymous's picture
Pete Brevett (not verified)

With all of the emphasis OLN has placed on making the Tour coverage more mainstream and mass audience oriented, I am surprised that they relegated Kirsten Gum (outdoorsy eye candy) to the stupid segment she is doing and replaced her with Al Trautwig. Every time I see him, I feel like I am watching a Rangers game! I also hate it when Al and Bob Roll call so much of the race and when they do have Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen announcing, they give distance and speed in miles in addition to kilometers. The European charm that the Tour coverage used to have is being destroyed!

Anonymous's picture
RD (not verified)

OLN = Only Lance Network

Anonymous's picture
rocket (not verified)
cutters - OLN

I drank the kool-aid on the cyclism, but the cutters? This insufferable group epitomizes american tourist jackass. I cringe every segment they have, whether it is sticking USPS stickers on people's faces or being loud and obnoxious drunks.

End the cutters, yeah I saw the movie, it could be very clever, but they suck.

Anonymous's picture
Chris T (not verified)
I been waiting for this thread...

"...and wanted someone else to start it. This is what have noticed about the OLN coverage

1. OLN, or any for-profit network is not about providing us with the best coverage of a sporting event. It is, like so much else in life, about making money.

OLN has a lot more sponsors this year than in previous years. Remember when all you saw was """" ?? Well, now it's not just Lance pitching for Subaru, but also FORD and INFINITI. It would be bigger if there was a beer sponsor. But this is a cable channel that many people don't have access to -- so how many viewers will see these ads??

Like it or not, THE STORY IS LANCE ARMSTRONG. He's going for 6 in a row. If the TDF story was Jean Patrick Nazon, you wouldn't have this wall to wall coverage. It's displaced all their hunting and fishing shows. And the sponsors want Lance coverage, and they are getting it -- But also, Lance IS in the lead amongst the favourites, so he has obliged us in providing the story for the network to sell their spots.

2. Trautwig & Roll vs. Phil and Paul --- this is not the issue. Phil and Paul call the Live coverage in the Morning -- if you perfer this I would recommend taping the morning show and watching that as opposed to watching the evening show. I prefer Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, it just doesn't get any better. That said, Bob and Al are not horrible. I have noticed that Phil & Paul haven't used some of their favourite phrases so far, e.g.
""That's a very cheeky move by Robbie McEwen""
""There's a bit of argybargy at the front of the peleton""
""Well, that will put the cat amongst the chickens""

and maybe that's because they've had to say
""And there's another crash""
more than they'd like

It would seem that Kirsten is still cutting her teeth in this business, while Al Trautwig is a seasoned sports announcer. Agreed, he hasn't done the tour (to my knowledge) but I wouldn't be surprised if you see him covering cycling in the coming Olympics for NBC -- and maybe he is getting some on-the-job training. With a lockout looming in the NHL, Al isn't going to be calling any Ranger games soon. So he was probably available, and perhaps cheaper to structure the broadcasts in the manner OLN has set up. Why did OLN take this direction? It would be great to ask them.

3. The Cutters. Harmless drivel. Maybe aimed for younger viewers given the 5:00 pm - 7:00pm time slot. If this is the only time you can watch the action, well then this could be a painful way to watch the TDF. Hey, somebody sold them the idea, and four guys from Philly are having a blast on someone else's Euros. Too bad Kirsten has been placed on this show. But if there were similar shows in other countries, would you be surprised?

Peter, I remember the TDF coverage by ABC in the early 90's, and no way could you get an idea about what the event was about. It's better this way, even if you are allergic to Lance

Overall, the action has been compelling, and the coverage excellent"

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
TdF coverage

Peter, I remember the TDF coverage by ABC in the early 90's, and no way could you get an idea about what the event was about. It's better this way, even if you are allergic to Lance

I fully agree. I think my comments were misread.

Anonymous's picture
Peter (not verified)

C'mon Chris-I think most people are smart enough to realize that the coverage changes are about making money. I actually have been taping the show on the mornings of the stages that I want to watch. Let the traditionalists lament the increased commercialism!

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Don't mix your cliches

"Chris, I think you mean, ""Well that will put the cat among the pigeons.""

Sorry, I'm splitting hairs and I'm capable of talking and writing in cliches until the cows come home, unless I'm being paid for my words. When the meter is running, my cliches disappear.

I'm just grateful for the live coverage every morning, no matter what form it comes in. On Saturday, there is no less than four hours of live coverage with Phil and Paul, who I think are the best English language commentators of cycling. Before I moved here from England, the only live coverage was on Eurosport with the truly awful commentary of David Duffield who couldn't call his way out of a paper bag. The viewers are thankfully rescued by some more intelligent remarks from Sean Kelly.

Otherwise, ITV2 in Britain shows highlights with the same commentary we have from Phil and Paul at about 4am the following morning.

I think Al Trautwig brings absolutely nothing to OLN's coverage of the TdF. I agree that it's a shame Kirsten Gum has been banished to the sidelines. I'd quite like to see Bob Roll join Phil and Paul in the commentary box on the live coverage, which he did two years ago.

There is no question that Lance going for six has brought all the sponsors in, but we also have a good showing from US riders, who will probably have their best tour ever this year.

I think that as long as there is a good field of US riders in the TdF, OLN will keep covering it, even after LA has retired."

Anonymous's picture
George Arcarola (not verified)

"Love him, or hate him, I feel that without Lance we would be seeing even less of Tyler, Jan, or Roberto. And to paraphrase Phil and Paul, ""that's a cheeky move by OLN""."

Anonymous's picture
banana guy (not verified)
Bobke Rocks!!!

"Troutwig was banished from Baseball and Figure Skating. I think this may be his last stand. At least Gummi-Bear wasn't smarmy, and she never would have referred to the TdeF as ""boring"".

Bob Roll brings a fresh breath to the tour, he first rode it with the 7-11 team. and his answers to 'ask Bob Roll' emails are the best!
Liggett and Sherwen? Very competent play-by-play commentators. Liggett brings to mind Gordon Murray of BBC Formula 1 fame. And the accent makes him soound intelligent.

But Roll is one of us: laid-back, smarta55ed, having a good time.

Go Bobke, go!

Anonymous's picture
Chris T. (not verified)
Bob Roll, Team Leader

Todays' Stage 12 triva question:

When Greg Lemond won the TDF in 1986, who was the highest placed finisher for the 7-11 team?

Answer: Bob Roll, finishing in 63rd place (and they show a photo of him on a decent with a full head of hair).

Go Bobke!

FYI, it looks like the Cutters have been cut. Wither Kristen Gum?

Anonymous's picture
Basil (not verified)
Murray Walker

"Presumably that's Murray Walker (Formula 1 - originally BBC and later ITV commentator).....quite a but more excitable than Phil, I'd have said!
Murray was widely known for his commentating ""bloopers"" but represented the voice of Formula 1 for many years up to his recent retirement at 70+(???) years. His best years were in combination with James Hunt.


Anonymous's picture
Steven Marks (not verified)

With all the increased Lance coverage, I miss the Running of the Bulls and RV Today after the live broadcast. Sigh.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
you didn't miss much...


Forty-nine runners, including 15 who were gored
and the rest with injuries due to falls or stampeding,
have been taken to hospitals since the event began
July 7. The 49 include eight Americans, an Australian,
a Frenchman, a South African, someone from Portugal
and numerous Spaniards.

The American, a 26-year-old from New York who
provided the initials M.S., but no name, was gored
in the left thigh on the section of the course at city
hall plaza on Monday.

Among them an American identified in a
government statement as 50-year-old New Yorker
Brian White, who suffered a shoulder injury. He was
treated and released from the hospital, a Navarra
government statement said.

On Friday, an American from Louisiana was
gored in the left knee on Mercaderes Street.

Another American, from Georgia, was gored in the
scrotum, in the bullring, in what the government
spokesman said was a ""slight injury.""



Anonymous's picture
anon (not verified)
I miss RUNAWAY !!!! (nm)
cycling trips