July 05, 2008
"Christmas in July for U.S. Tour fans"
Posted by Gordon Smith

That's how TDF Blog describes Versus television coverage this year: "Gone is Al Trautwig, who combined bombast and ignorance in staggering proportions." With at least one exception, that would most certainly be the consensus view. Here is a funny post from La Parisienne:

I love waking up at 6 am on a Sunday morning to watch the race go through the mountains. I love the constant commentary of Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen. I love watching the primetime coverage in the evenings when I've already seen the morning live coverage. I love correcting Bob Roll and Al Trautwig during the primetime coverage when they get the name of a rider or location wrong. I love yelling at the TV before anyone is awake. I love complaining about the riders I hate when they do well, and boasting when my favorites win. I love the dumb look on everyones face when I tell them that I like to watch the Tour de France, and then proceed to not shut up about it for at least an hour. I love that I am the only person I know that I can talk to about this sport at the level that I love and understand it. I love walking into bike shops and asking what race they are showing on their TV in the winter, and then when I proceed to detail what happens throughout the race, who wins, who crashes, who tried hard, who didn't try hard enough, only to have the staff at the bike shop look at me with the sort of admiration I have when I look at Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen.

I love the month of July like you wouldn't believe.

I love the Tour de France.

I love that it starts in less than 12 hours.

And another from Bike Dummy:

I love the Tour de France for the same reason I love lots of sports.

The thrill of victory!  The agony of defeat!  The rivalries, the scandals, the awesome athletic achievement!

But mostly, I love watching the Tour because I love the live commentary.
I think Paul Sherwin, Bob Roll and Phil Liggett make the best team in sports.  (Thank goodness they finally ditched Al Trautwig)

Bobke is the most colorful - "It'll be a virtual schmegelfest of subhumanoids." Sherwin is the set up man - "the peleton is nervous today, trying to avoid the fracas at the rear."

But personally, I love Phil Liggett.

No prologue this year, and that's another bit of good news for Tour watchers. The first stage was more exciting than usual.

As you can see in the following video, Craig Hummer has replaced Trautwig. He made a longshot call on the first day (Riccardo Ricco), and the other announcers were incredulous. But Ricco finished fifth -- higher than any of the other picks! Nice start for Hummer.

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