GIRO AND THE TUBE

GIRO AND THE TUBE

By Mike Cushionbury

How sweet is it that the Outdoor Life Network is broadcasting two hours of live coverage of the Giro d?Italia every morning. It used to be that cycling was the ugly stepchild of TV sports as meaty sportscasters occasionally laughed through Tour de France results in July. Now, we got the real thing. Sure, it ain?t the five to six hours of complete coverage that EuroSport beams to millions of households across the pond but it’s still pretty darn good. Last Saturday, OLN showed every starting rider at sometime in his prologue run, and each stage since then has had great coverage.
I know I might be blasted for this but what the hey, I?m a cycling fan, so even if Marco Pantani has blood as thick as hound spit, I was giddy with delight when The Pirate announced he would be starting the Giro. I counted the seconds ?till his prologue run so I could get a good look at him and was stoked to see him hangin? in the main field thus far.
This brings me to a point of less praise: How tragic is the World Cup mountain bike coverage? I know, it’s all fine and dandy that OLN covers mountain biking at all, but still, it’s pretty sorry coverage. I?m not criticizing the camera work as much as the shoddy announcing. After hearing the totally pro commentary of the Giro, the lameness of the commentary in the mountain bike coverage shines through all too clear. So much so that I can barely watch it!
Example? A few days ago I was watching round three of the cross-country World Cup from Houffalize, Belgium. Eventual winner Filip Meirhaeghe was racing in his home country and the key moment came near the end of the race. Filip was in a lead group with such notables as Miguel Martinez, Christophe Dupouey and Thomas Frischknecht (never mind the fact that Frischy made a super bridge up to the leaders and it was never even mentioned). As the group went up the short paved climb, Filip caught the group sleeping and attacked hard. There was a slight pause as the group tried to organize a chase, and that was enough to let Filip get away. Commentary? Nothing. I was yelling at the TV while the announcer (who overlays the commentary after the race) rambled on with meaningless facts about the land or something. The best he could do was say something like ?And there goes Filip.?
If mountain bike racing coverage continues to bombard the viewer with such riveting commentary as ?There goes so-and-so? and ?What a ride he’s having? it will lose all viewers. I can barely watch it. A story needs to be told, drama needs to be created and the viewer needs to be informed about what is happening and why. We need split times, chase group updates and top five breakdowns. Try watching the pros who announce road racing and you?ll see how it’s done. More than two weeks of Giro coverage is left, catch it today on OLN.

 

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