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Tour de France?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by James307, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. James307

    James307 Member

    Upfront, I've been covering cycling since 1981. I've witnessed way too many bike races. But it's like any other beat. It's all meaningless, really. But if you're into it, you're into it.

    That said, the Tour de France begins July 5. Armstrong is gone, Landis is gone. Leipheimer's team got booted out of the race. About a half-dozen Americans will compete, that's it.

    The sport has big-time problems, and I don't have rose-colored glasses on. It's not for everyone.

    But after attending the Tour de France 10 straight years, start to finish, it's the best experience I've ever had as a sportswriter -- three weeks on the road in several countries, small cities, big cities, mountains, open roads at high speeds, epic slices of life, pretty women, great food, late-night pubs -- and pretty good deadlines back to the U.S.

    More to the point: Should U.S. newspapers care more than of they do? Or, should the event be relegated to a graph in the digest or round-up each day?
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Fair or unfair, Lance Armstrong was the only reason anyone here cared.

    When he retired, my boss joked that the next time cycling would be on the cover of our section would be when Armstrong died.
  3. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    American newspapers began to stop caring when Lance Armstrong won his last Tour. We really stopped caring when Landis was kicked for doping.
  4. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    We hit it hard when Lemond first won and with his subsequent victories. We played him not winning. Indurain's 4th and 5th got some space. Riis, Ullrich, Pantani, maybe a graph or two when it was over. When Armstrong started looking like the winner in 99, we picked it back up. Through 05 it was solid. Floyd's run/fall was well played.

    I was fortunate enough to to a one-on-one sit down with Armstrong in late June of last year that got picked up by AP (yeah, I guess I'm stoked about that) that was obviously played big for us.

    07 start got the front. When Levi did well is was played up, and the finish went inside I think with a photo of the podium.

    This year, because I'm the one that gets asked "hey, what do we need to do with this Tour stuff?" and me knowing how screwed the whole mess will be with the way ASO has handled it, I honestly don't know.

    I don't know not from an American paper standpoint, but from a legitimacy standpoint of the whole deal. Me knowing that drugs have fucked cycling but the drug police have fucked it even more makes me not want to bother. :'(
  5. beefncheddar

    beefncheddar Guest

    U.S. newspapers should care about what their readers care about.

    Which is most decidedly NOT cycling.
  6. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    I dunno. We got an angry e-mail a few weeks ago about our lack of Tour of Georgia coverage.
  7. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I like cycling. But I think it's in the realm of sports where fans don't much give a shit if it's in the paper or not.

    I'm a fan of some pretty esoteric sports. As an F1 fan I'll record every race, and by noon Sunday I've watched it and read about it on 4 or 5 different international websites. I really don't give a damn if it gets the customary 4 inches on the full page of NASCAR coverage in Monday's paper. There's not going to be a thing there I didn't know 24 hours earlier.

    I suspect the hardcore cycling fans are the same. They'll get their coverage elsewhere and don't really expect anything from the paper.
  8. MartinEnigmatica

    MartinEnigmatica Active Member

    PCL, you pretty much nailed it. Unless there's a prevailing personal interest like Armstrong or it's a local race -- Tour de Georgia or California -- then there's not going to be that much detailed content in newspapers about a sport like that. I'd be interested to hear how much play the Champions League got in US newspapers when it came down to the final matches. But even if there is some content, it's not enough to truly satisfy a fan. I love cycling, but get my fix from cyclingnews and velonews.
  9. Brooklyn Bridge

    Brooklyn Bridge Active Member

    As PCL pointed out, it should get as much play as any other niche sport here. Open wheel racing and soccer have big followings overseas but here not so much. I follow the racing season on velonews and other websites. Me and a buddy have wanted to go to the Tour de France, get some tents and follow the race around for like two years now. I'll do it eventually ..
  10. James307

    James307 Member

    That's the great thing about attending the Tour de France. The racing is OK. Everything else around it is great, and it all makes for keen notebook, sidebars and postcard-type content. The gamers get boring to write, everything else gets more interesting. I keep a lot of it on my site, just for good memories of fun experiences through the years.

    ---- James Raia
  11. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    That's a relief. I thought you were going to out yourself as Sal Ruibal.

    I am familiar with your work. You are good people. Carry on.
  12. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    Bingo. You and Martin are spot on.

    Unless it's a local racer or event, cycling is a minor blip on the sportscape. It, like rodeo and track and field, have devoted but small audiences. They know and accept this fact gladly in most cases. We get our news fix in large doses from the internet. It would be foolish for Metro Morning Gazette to devote much space to cycling in anything more than a rare feature.

    And I'm a bicycle racer.
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