Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Paris-Nice and March Madness

The Unholy Rouleur watched the Paris-Nice opening ITT, as did I. I agree with his assessment:
Maybe I'm jaded, but watching the prologue TT of Paris-Nice yesterday on Versus was... boring as all hell

No one seemed to be trying too hard except maybe Lars Boom; it was only 8k, after all, and it was only Paris-Nice. Unholy Rouleur (I hope he will grant me, since I am a dedicated Rouleur-ite, the liberty of omitting his titular definite article) and I forfeited several hours of our lives to watching men roll along on what are essentially self propelled chairs. That was the essence of it.

Paris-Nice has since become a tornado of a minor Spring stage race. Nearly everyone has gone down, including Contador himself. Thankfully, the Rabobank car was there to motorpace him back to the peloton--which had been shattered by the wind and by constant attacks.

Stage 2 was just as eventfull, with a ridiculous crash involving several bodies flying through the air at plus +30mph but no one seriously injured:

What's going on here? Why the crashes, why the splintering, why the complete and sudden awesomeness?

(1) Organizes decided to allow 22 instead of 20 teams into the race.
(2) Those two teams, Skil-Shimano and Vaconsoleil, are competing for a Tour bid.

Wow. The end of the world must be near: France, of all places, decides to let the market decide. Well, not exactly. ASO puts out the suggestion that the market will decide, and the teams have to respond. This is France, though, and one wonders if ASO is simply having fun and will instead decide it all with a bribe-off, a lab-hacking-accusation-of-Landis off, a quick and hasty retreat, or [insert ridiculously unfair stereotype of your choice].

Perhaps playoffs or head to head team competitions should be in the works. Maybe the animators who invented the Fox jumping football robot can come up with something. I'd love to see two best senile sports commentators in the business, John Madden and Phil Liggett, together in one booth trying to keep tabs on 160 riders.

At least they both get the idea behind great sporting events, which is to provide viewers with a reason not to turn the TV off and go do something more productive...

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