Friday, July 12, 2013

Tour Canadien de France

Gotta say it's a terrific tour this year. Great weather and fabulous locations every day. While they were in Corsica, my family kept saying, "Let's just GO." At a recent stage that finished beneath Mont St-Michel, once of the commentators said, "One thing about the Tour de France: of all the sports, they do have the most beautiful stadium to play in."

Good competition this year too: lots of changes in the leading categories, and lots of dramatic surprises: a young Colombian who goes up hills like he was born doing it, a young German sprinter who actually beat Mark Cavendish head to head.  Too many crashes for sure, because of too many teams, probably, but a lot less drugs, it seems.

And Canadians -- an actual contingent of Canadians, and getting noticed. Svein Tuft in his first tour, constantly doing lead-out work for Orica-Greenedge when it was leading the Tour, then placing 6th in the time trial at Mont St-Michel. David Veilleux, also in his first tour, not winning anything but doing a daily job of work for his Europcar team, and once spending a whole day in the camera's eye in a bold breakaway.  My boy Ryder Hesjedal crashed out in the first days and continues with a cracked rib. (Another was continuing with a cracked pelvis. Try that for a month.) Ryder's not going to win this year, but he's in there, carrying on to Paris -- and if the rib is healing he may yet come out to play in the Alps.

I go on a little because you will read none of this in your local sports pages.  And I have to say that TSN2, the Canadian broadcaster, is doing a perfectly disgraceful job. No added Canadian coverage, regular switches or curtailments of service, just in case you want to PVR.  And if the race runs one minute over the scheduled time, they abandon coverage always just at the climax, and usually to present a pre-scheduled press conference by the preening thugs who run the National Hockey League. A few years ago, when the Tour got popular, NBC in the US and TSN here elbowed Versus and OLN out of the coverage -- but do they really have to make the coverage worse than those shoestring services did?

Fortunately, you can follow the vital stuff online and free from a thing called that aggregates the highlights and all the best coverage, or from the tour's own website, (from whence the image above)

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