Tour de France coverage by Versus

Jul 22, 2009
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How would you rate it?

From 1 to 10 I'd give them a 7 on technical and tactical knowledge and a 0 this year on commentary for dragging their faces through the mud of thar Contador vs. (no pun intended) Armstrong argument.

Conventional unbiased (balanced) reporting/commentary means exposing both sides of the story. If you can't do it, DO NOT CARRY IT. Contador's opinion was noticeably absent all along. What a disgrace that tv channel has become.

Cheers.
 
Jul 20, 2009
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Señor_Contador said:
How would you rate it?

From 1 to 10 I'd give them a 7 on technical and tactical knowledge and a 0 this year on commentary for dragging their faces through the mud of thar Contador vs. (no pun intended) Armstrong argument.

Conventional unbiased (balanced) reporting/commentary means exposing both sides of the story. If you can't do it, DO NOT CARRY IT. Contador's opinion was noticeably absent all along. What a disgrace that tv channel has become.

Cheers.

I followed vs coverage online and i must say they lacked objectively in their coverage. Though i understand as an American Station they would focus on the american riders the Contador bashing continued unabated with little balance from the otherside. How many times did they interview Lance, Levi and Bruyneel as opposed to contador? Those guys had their own agenda and thats not cycling fans want. What is needed is fair and balanced coverage and it was surely absent in this tour
 
Jul 23, 2009
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They are concerned with advertisers and their audience. Personally - even if I did not appreciate their commentary (although I did not find it that bad) I would be grateful that I am watching daily cycling instead of 30 minutes to an hour on Sundays the way it was in the past. If they are presenting such a bad product another station will be able to present it to the public. I did watch the Giro in the internet this year because it was not on VS but it was not the same quality and I was unable to understand the commentary (also their clearly were not as many cameras available for what I was watching.

So - I would rate them a 10 for footage - 8 for tech news (I would like more, particularly about bike set up and maintenance) - and an 8 for commentary (I do think they could have someone link to a feed on Contador's statements and then translate).
 
Jun 25, 2009
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I thought that the commentary was horrible. Bob Roll was a disaster. He really needs to go. He brings nothing to the show. I understand the focus on Armstrong, but they never even tried to look at the Astana drama from Contador's perspective. Yes, Lance is great and all that, but at least try to be credible.

The fact that the winner of stage 17 was let go by Armstrong was never mentioned -- yet, Contador and Kloden was the story for days.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Contador's interview on Versus was always bland and brief. Why give that sort of nonsense airtime? The kid has a lot to learn.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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jamfra67 said:
I followed vs coverage online and i must say they lacked objectively in their coverage. Though i understand as an American Station they would focus on the american riders the Contador bashing continued unabated with little balance from the otherside. How many times did they interview Lance, Levi and Bruyneel as opposed to contador? Those guys had their own agenda and thats not cycling fans want. What is needed is fair and balanced coverage and it was surely absent in this tour

Contador bashing? :rolleyes:

The story about his aneurysm. Repeatedly calling him the best climber in the world. Saying that he has the class to take time on all his rivals as he wants?

Maybe there's a different version of VS. where I am.

I hope you don't mean their reporting on Contador not following the plan with his attacks. He made tactical errors. Period. It's not bashing. It's the truth. The Arcalis attack was a little questionable. The attack on the final climb of the Queen Stage... was not tactically sound.

Yes, they were annoyingly fixated on Armstrong. However, I don't think they were anti-Contador. They just realized - as most people who don't consider Contador the messiah - that Contador has to hone his tactical knowledge. He's the best bike racer in the world based on physical ability, but he isn't the best in terms of tactics.

Who has been watching the crosswinds? Where have splits been made? Do you really think Contador was the one who sent Astana to the front to split the group going into the base of Mont Ventoux? If he hones his tactical mind, he could win 10 (or more?!) Grand Tours (with perhaps a few Giro-Tour and Tour-Vuelta doubles!) before he retires.

Of course the Contador fanboys will jump on and say "CONTADOR DOES NOT NEED TO LEARN ANYTHING! HE IS PERFECT; HE WINS!"
 
Jul 22, 2009
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dienekes88 said:
Contador bashing?

The story about his aneurysm. Repeatedly calling him the best climber in the world. Saying that he has the class to take time on all his rivals as he wants?

Maybe there's a different version of VS. where I am.

I hope you don't mean their reporting on Contador not following the plan with his attacks. He made tactical errors. Period. It's not bashing. It's the truth. The Arcalis attack was a little questionable. The attack on the final climb of the Queen Stage... was not tactically sound.

Yes, they were annoyingly fixated on Armstrong. However, I don't think they were anti-Contador. They just realized - as most people who don't consider Contador the messiah - that Contador has to hone his tactical knowledge. He's the best bike racer in the world based on physical ability, but he isn't the best in terms of tactics.

Who has been watching the crosswinds? Where have splits been made? Do you really think Contador was the one who sent Astana to the front to split the group going into the base of Mont Ventoux? If he hones his tactical mind, he could win 10 (or more?!) Grand Tours (with perhaps a few Giro-Tour and Tour-Vuelta doubles!) before he retires.

Of course the Contador fanboys will jump on and say "CONTADOR DOES NOT NEED TO LEARN ANYTHING! HE IS PERFECT; HE WINS!"

This has nothing to do with Contador's fan base buddy-o. It has to do with Versus' coverage of the TdF and sensionalizing something that was of very little importance race-wise.

I'm not going to dig up things that have already been said and need to further debate. Aww! Freak it, I'll add to it. Take the stage where Lance put 41 seconds on Alberto. The Texan is not seen at the front up to the very end, when he was tapped on the shoulder by someone at Columbia. I suspect that Hincapie talking to him earlier during that stage, and warning him of Columbia trying to split the field at the end, or that George is going to Livestrong in 2010 had nothing to do with it. Wait, nooooo! The two events are entirely unrelated. :rolleyes:

The way I see it, and I am American by the way, is that Alberto smelled what Armstrong and Johan were cooking even before the Tour began. The more I think about this Tour, Versus' coverage of the entire event and everyone's reaction at Contador winning, the more I come to realise this was supposed to be Armstrong's 8th. He did come in form, there's no question about that. The only problem was that on the prologue Alberto sent them a message that he was also ready for battle.

JB tried to hold him back on various occasions (based on rider's commentary), even after Lance inexplicably put 41 seconds on him (team tactics sure didn't matter then). They figured that if LA was in front by the time the TT rolled around then it'd be a toss up. Verbier rolls around and Johan tries to hold him back again, even though Alberto tells him he is good to go (see Marca on his commentary). Johan is not happy because it screws up team tactics. The new goal now is to put 3 people on the podium, whereas Johan's goal all along was to win the TdF. ;) You connect the dots.

Grand Bornand comes around and both JB and LA realise the later just doesn't have the chops. Plain and simple. So... from that point on it all became a game of critizicing the (supposed) team leader. When and where did you ever see that happening??? And the Versus propaganda machine followed suit too. No questioning the other side, other cyclists, nothing. Whatever Lance and Johan say is The Truth, and since Contador is not contesting it, which he did by the way, all you have to do is check out his responses to Marca or Diario As' post-race interviews, he is somehow conceding that he broke the team's "tactical" rules (A.K.A. let Lance win becase he has lots of money and some of it may trickle down to us). If only Versus had put a microphone in front of Alberto more often we would've known more and be in a position to criticize his actions, and we do, just in the wrong language. Hence that brings me to the last point: How can you be that easily deceived into thinking rider A is at fault when you havent even heard his side of the story?

In any case, just so that you know, all of Contador's attacks, according to him, as said in Marca, and this was not dispeled by Johan, were "OKd by Bruyneel". Alberto also says that his attack on the Colombiére was also cleared with Klöden, who, by the looks of it, couldn't hold the pace.

And going back to the subject at hand, namely Versus' coverage of the TdF, just today, looking at Lance talking to the other riders, something he does often, everyone knows each other in the peloton (more or less), Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin say stuff like "he's probably offering them contracts" :eek::eek:. I'm friggin speechless. I tell you I have NEVER seen such impartial commentary. They started off well a few years ago but they have gotten considerably worst every year. This year the Lance mania was at horrific levels. Vandevelde, coming off a crash and still finishing 8th! LeMevel, the Schleks, et cetera... so many potential good stories and all these hypocrites do is show rerun after rerun of Lance's 7 TdF wins?

They sound like cycling nazis with a microphone. And they're not even American for peace sake! What the hell is wrong with them?!

Cheers.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Se&#241 said:
In any case, just so that you know, all of Contador's attacks, according to him, as said in Marca, and this was not dispeled by Johan, were "OKd by Bruyneel". Alberto also says that his attack on the Colombiére was also cleared with Klöden, who, by the looks of it, couldn't hold the pace.

Here is the team director's comments on that same situation......

"John Bruyneel, who was told by his Kazakh sponsors before the race started that he was no longer required after this season, said: "I speak perfect Spanish (he lives in Madrid and has a Spanish wife) and I told Alberto not to attack on the Colombiere.""

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25831314-16143,00.html
 
Jul 22, 2009
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CentralCaliBike said:
They are concerned with advertisers and their audience. Personally - even if I did not appreciate their commentary (although I did not find it that bad) I would be grateful that I am watching daily cycling instead of 30 minutes to an hour on Sundays the way it was in the past. If they are presenting such a bad product another station will be able to present it to the public. I did watch the Giro in the internet this year because it was not on VS but it was not the same quality and I was unable to understand the commentary (also their clearly were not as many cameras available for what I was watching.

So - I would rate them a 10 for footage - 8 for tech news (I would like more, particularly about bike set up and maintenance) - and an 8 for commentary (I do think they could have someone link to a feed on Contador's statements and then translate).

Well, Universal, a US cable channel, carried the Giro this year. Live and free of cost too. RAI also carried the Giro. As far as the Tour goes... Next year I'm getting that French channel for a couple of months and watch the French version. With a little luck I'll even learn some French.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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scribe said:
Here is the team director's comments on that same situation......

"John Bruyneel, who was told by his Kazakh sponsors before the race started that he was no longer required after this season, said: "I speak perfect Spanish (he lives in Madrid and has a Spanish wife) and I told Alberto not to attack on the Colombiere.""

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25831314-16143,00.html

And you know what? I don't dispel that, all I'm saying is that Contador said otherwise. This is what he said to Marca in regards to his pre-race conversation with Bruyneel: "Era la táctica que habíamos comentado antes de la etapa, atacar para distanciar a los Schleck. Lo habíamos hablado con Johan (Bruyneel, director del Astana). En la Colombiere he hablado con Kloden para decirle que iba a atacar y me ha dicho que lo hiciera sin problemas".

Translation: "That was the tactic we had discussed prior to the stage, to attack in order to put some more time on the Schlecks. We did talk about this with Johan. On the Colombiére I talked to Klöden and I told him I was going to attack and he told me to go ahead". Source.

Now, you've got two opposing opinions. Why on earth would you agree with one if you haven't heard the other side?
 
Jul 22, 2009
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I have heard both sides. I happen to think there is a reason the team is blowing apart. Some blame Armstrong for everything. hahahaha! I think Contador marches to the beat of his own drum, pi$$ on his mates and directors.

As far as Versus' impartiality? Armstrong has the most titles of any rider compared to Contador's single title (now 2). His presence this year in conjunction with a clean tour :fingers crossed:, have led what everyone believes to be a renaissance in interest. The announcers know how to play to the audience.
 
Jun 14, 2009
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scribe said:
I have heard both sides. I happen to think there is a reason the team is blowing apart. Some blame Armstrong for everything. hahahaha! I think Contador marches to the beat of his own drum, pi$$ on his mates and directors.

As far as Versus' impartiality? Armstrong has the most titles of any rider compared to Contador's single title (now 2). His presence this year in conjunction with a clean tour :fingers crossed:, have led what everyone believes to be a renaissance in interest. The announcers know how to play to the audience.

The problem with the coverage is they are just riding the Lance train. There is really no effort to widen the audience beyond Lance fans. Sure, they should be thrilled that his return has boosted their ratings but if they had a little forethought they'd try to educate the audience and keep them around after 2010.
This isn't a lot different than Olympics coverage. If there isn't a US medal winner (or human interest story) we don't see the event.
We don't develop sports fans here, we develop athlete fans. Its really quite sad.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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I don't think the channel or commentators are anti-Contador, but there is an undercurrent of lack of objectivity. The only side that seems to matter is the LA/JB side. I admire LA and don't have a raging hate on for him. I would just appreciate if they made more of an effort to see the other side of things.

Speaking of hearing both sides of a story, Vaughters and Stapleton will be on the Vs evening show. That should be interesting.
 
Jul 24, 2009
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Señor_Contador said:
How would you rate it?

From 1 to 10 I'd give them a 7 on technical and tactical knowledge and a 0 this year on commentary for dragging their faces through the mud of thar Contador vs. (no pun intended) Armstrong argument.

Conventional unbiased (balanced) reporting/commentary means exposing both sides of the story. If you can't do it, DO NOT CARRY IT. Contador's opinion was noticeably absent all along. What a disgrace that tv channel has become.

Cheers.

It is such a shame that Phil Ligget (and his whole team) is so one sided. Saying Contador does not have the brains of Lance Armstrong??? He has proven that he is the strongest both physically and mentally. He was able to break through the pressure put on him by Armstrong for three weeks. He ignored the criticism that he "hurt" the team. Why was that never mentioned when Armstrong dropped Levi, Landis or Hamilton when he was riding for himself. Saying that Contador doesn't have the intelligence to build a strong team??? Bruyneel builds/built the team not Armstrong. Shame on the commentators for being so one sided (and frequently not recognizing the riders during stages). I wish I don't have the listen to the same next year.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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RigelKent said:
This isn't a lot different than Olympics coverage. If there isn't a US medal winner (or human interest story) we don't see the event.
We don't develop sports fans here, we develop athlete fans. Its really quite sad.
As if it is different in every other country. Or are you suggesting Jamaicans really followed Bobsleding before 1988?
 
scribe said:
I have heard both sides. I happen to think there is a reason the team is blowing apart. Some blame Armstrong for everything. hahahaha! I think Contador marches to the beat of his own drum, pi$$ on his mates and directors.

As far as Versus' impartiality? Armstrong has the most titles of any rider compared to Contador's single title (now 2). His presence this year in conjunction with a clean tour :fingers crossed:, have led what everyone believes to be a renaissance in interest. The announcers know how to play to the audience.

That is just ***. The whole problem with this fanboy vs hater polemic is that unless I'm ready to viciously hate LA (which I'm not) then I get lumped in with your point of view. Which in this case is spot-off. LA came back to a team which had a clear leader and proven winner already in place, started out saying all the right things, and then as the time drew closer started back pedaling faster than a linebacker. I guess long term loyalty is worth something, but one of these days JB is gonna smack himself in the head and say "I'm such a moron, I could have won another 7 tours with that Contador kid"
 
Jun 29, 2009
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I like that they repeat the tour throughout the day so working people like me can catch bits and pieces when convenient. Finally presenting it in HD was also quite satisfying.However, commercial free coverage at the end didn't make up for the egregious number of interruptions earlier in given stage. I don't know how anyone could have followed it in real time. It was incredibly frustrating had it not been for other online outlets. The commentary was terribly biased. I understand that it’s hard for Middle America to root for non English speaking riders, but VS ought not to cater to such backward, xenophobic thinking. So all in all, Versus gets a 5.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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scribe said:
I have heard both sides. I happen to think there is a reason the team is blowing apart. Some blame Armstrong for everything. hahahaha! I think Contador marches to the beat of his own drum, pi$$ on his mates and directors.

So you're basically insinuating that it's Contador who is causing the breakup of the team. I guess Astana wanting Johan out has nothing to do with it. I guess the team not getting paid for months has nothing to do with it. I guess a "fossil" coming back to the team and demanding to be captain had nothing to do with it (I guess Lance could've brought Eddie Merkx as co-captain too).

As far as Versus' impartiality? Armstrong has the most titles of any rider compared to Contador's single title (now 2). His presence this year in conjunction with a clean tour :fingers crossed:, have led what everyone believes to be a renaissance in interest. The announcers know how to play to the audience.

So you're basically OK with the "Tour de France starring Lance Armstrong and those other 198 suckers" format? Talk about coming out of the closet! Look if you're into cycling because Lance is in it then maybe, just maybe, you're in it for the wrong reasons. It's like picking up reading because Shaq wrote a book. Maybe it's not reading that you're after... maybe, just maybe you like basketball and Shaq more. Doncha think?

As far as records go... Contador has now 4 major titles at the age of 26. He is now aiming at the Vuelta a España, which he will probably get too. That'll be his 5th so far. Lance won his 1st TdF at the age of 28. You do the math.

But it's not about the titles and it's not about the bike gumbah. It's about cycling and ALL those who take part in it. It has gotten to the point that we pretty much know what hand Lance wipes his *** with. It's that bad.

Oh, one last thing... did you catch Phil Ligget saying "look at the beautiful legs of Lance Armstrong"? I'm not an expert... but the dude is gay.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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saphblue said:
Speaking of hearing both sides of a story, Vaughters and Stapleton will be on the Vs evening show. That should be interesting.

I thought Stapleton really wanted to talk to Ellis. Pity Dad won't be there.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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It looked like some tissues needed to be passed out on the post race show.

That damn Contador, doesn't he know who LA is?
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Catharsis - THANK YOU!!!

Señor_Contador said:
This has nothing to do with Contador's fan base buddy-o. It has to do with Versus' coverage of the TdF and sensionalizing something that was of very little importance race-wise.

I'm not going to dig up things that have already been said and need to further debate. Aww! Freak it, I'll add to it. Take the stage where Lance put 41 seconds on Alberto. The Texan is not seen at the front up to the very end, when he was tapped on the shoulder by someone at Columbia. I suspect that Hincapie talking to him earlier during that stage, and warning him of Columbia trying to split the field at the end, or that George is going to Livestrong in 2010 had nothing to do with it. Wait, nooooo! The two events are entirely unrelated. :rolleyes:

The way I see it, and I am American by the way, is that Alberto smelled what Armstrong and Johan were cooking even before the Tour began. The more I think about this Tour, Versus' coverage of the entire event and everyone's reaction at Contador winning, the more I come to realise this was supposed to be Armstrong's 8th. He did come in form, there's no question about that. The only problem was that on the prologue Alberto sent them a message that he was also ready for battle.

JB tried to hold him back on various occasions (based on rider's commentary), even after Lance inexplicably put 41 seconds on him (team tactics sure didn't matter then). They figured that if LA was in front by the time the TT rolled around then it'd be a toss up. Verbier rolls around and Johan tries to hold him back again, even though Alberto tells him he is good to go (see Marca on his commentary). Johan is not happy because it screws up team tactics. The new goal now is to put 3 people on the podium, whereas Johan's goal all along was to win the TdF. ;) You connect the dots.

Grand Bornand comes around and both JB and LA realise the later just doesn't have the chops. Plain and simple. So... from that point on it all became a game of critizicing the (supposed) team leader. When and where did you ever see that happening??? And the Versus propaganda machine followed suit too. No questioning the other side, other cyclists, nothing. Whatever Lance and Johan say is The Truth, and since Contador is not contesting it, which he did by the way, all you have to do is check out his responses to Marca or Diario As' post-race interviews, he is somehow conceding that he broke the team's "tactical" rules (A.K.A. let Lance win becase he has lots of money and some of it may trickle down to us). If only Versus had put a microphone in front of Alberto more often we would've known more and be in a position to criticize his actions, and we do, just in the wrong language. Hence that brings me to the last point: How can you be that easily deceived into thinking rider A is at fault when you havent even heard his side of the story?

In any case, just so that you know, all of Contador's attacks, according to him, as said in Marca, and this was not dispeled by Johan, were "OKd by Bruyneel". Alberto also says that his attack on the Colombiére was also cleared with Klöden, who, by the looks of it, couldn't hold the pace.

And going back to the subject at hand, namely Versus' coverage of the TdF, just today, looking at Lance talking to the other riders, something he does often, everyone knows each other in the peloton (more or less), Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin say stuff like "he's probably offering them contracts" :eek::eek:. I'm friggin speechless. I tell you I have NEVER seen such impartial commentary. They started off well a few years ago but they have gotten considerably worst every year. This year the Lance mania was at horrific levels. Vandevelde, coming off a crash and still finishing 8th! LeMevel, the Schleks, et cetera... so many potential good stories and all these hypocrites do is show rerun after rerun of Lance's 7 TdF wins?

They sound like cycling nazis with a microphone. And they're not even American for peace sake! What the hell is wrong with them?!

Cheers.

Thank you so much!! You have just said everything that I have been thinking through out the VERSUS coverage as well - to a 'T'. I felt like I was tuning in each day to the "Lance Armstrong Show" instead of TdF coverage!! I love cycling, I follow it all season and I live for the Tour, but I must say this one goes down as the worst coverage ever as per all that you typed above.

Cheers from Canada!
 
Jul 21, 2009
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richwagmn said:
It looked like some tissues needed to be passed out on the post race show.

That damn Contador, doesn't he know who LA is?

Here are some of my favorite moments in VS:

1- Bob telling us how next year, Contador is going to fade aways because he is not going to have a team like Astana and a DS like Bruyneel. And he said all of it with a big fake smile in his face and hatred in his eyes.

2- Commentators saying that "Lance might not have to wait until 2010 to win the Tour" right before the ascent to Ventoux, when Saxo Bank was starting to pick up the tempo in the flat right before the climb began. Also Bob wrote an article saying there was a small chance Lance might get yellow in Ventoux and that Andy's second place was threatened. Right after the stage, in a 180 degree turn a squizophrenic would be proud of, Bob made no mention as to why Lance didn't attack Andy or Contador and proceeded to praise his great ride.

3- Andreu asking Andy whether he was concerned about Lance breathing down his neck and taking away 2nd place ahead of Ventoux. Andy's face really summed up what I think about VS. You could see him going through this line of thought: "are you freaking serious? This guy has no fucking idea of cycling. oh, he is AMERICAN tv. Ok, ok, what do I say so I don't sound like I'm dismissing this asshole..." after a long pause and a deep breath he says... "I think Lance should be worried about me, not the other way around."

4- Liggett blaming Contador for Astana's failure to get 1-2-3 in Paris.
 
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fulcrum said:
... 3- Andreu asking Andy whether he was concerned about Lance breathing down his neck and taking away 2nd place ahead of Ventoux. Andy's face really summed up what I think about VS. You could see him going through this line of thought: "are you freaking serious? This guy has no fucking idea of cycling. oh, he is AMERICAN tv. Ok, ok, what do I say so I don't sound like I'm dismissing this asshole..." after a long pause and a deep breath he says... "I think Lance should be worried about me, not the other way around."

YES! I was laughing out loud at that one. :p
 
Reading all this makes me feel better as a French being stuck with French broadcasting, although I must admit the TdF is actually one of the better sports broadcast here, if you avoid the pre and post stage talk (Hosted by Gerard Holtz, this guy make me cringe).

They are still a tad too self-complacent (TdF is great, more and more people watching us, yadda yadda), but Fignon and Jalabert (on the bike) hindsight is pretty good. They had some strange gripes this year (they went on at least once every day on how Haussler is not very well liked in the peloton), but are good natured and sympathetic. Stance on doping is a tad forced off but better than nothing I guess.
If you except the sad part today where Fignon cried after the other commentators spoke 15mn about cancer, I would say their coverage was good.

Only annoying thing is the habit to cut off end of stages to go straight to post-stage show and not seeing the grupetto (autobus) or Van Hummel cross the line (they could show it in the post show BTW, that's how they used to). Worst was when President Sarkozy was on tour and that they interviewed him (at the same spot they use for riders) for 7 or 10mn around meaningless chat ("you love cyclism" "yeah I do", etc...) on stage 16 or 17. We didn't get to see who arrived beyond the 10-15 first riders and what were the gaps.

Sorry for the digression, but maybe some will appreciate the perspective.