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The Tour de France is 2/3rds over, and I’m only just now getting a chance to post some of my thoughts.  These three weeks in July are the only time I watch sports all year.  But for these three weeks, its a nightly affair.  I may be a fairweather friend to bike racing in general, but I love the Tour de France.

First off, I’m going to get the ranting out of the way.  And there is a lot to rant about.  First, ENOUGH WITH THE LANCE COVERAGE!  I mean, he’s a great racer, and has done many great things.  But there are other guys out there racing.  I don’t need to see zoomed in video of his face every 30 seconds, I don’t need an interview after every stage, and I don’t want to hear Craig and Bob talk about him every second of every stage.

Which brings me to my second rant, the commentary.  The commentary by Bob and Craig during the extended nightly coverage is THE WORST!  I know that I could just get up early, stop working for 3 weeks, and watch the live coverage with Phil and Paul’s wonderful commentary every morning.  But I don’t have that luxury.  I have to watch the recorded replay at night, like most of America.  Please please please, Versus Channel and all the powers that be, put Phil and Paul on the nightly coverage for the entire time, not just the last 2km.

Ranting aside, I really enjoy watching this race.  I have a tendency to root for the underdog, whoever that might be.  At the moment, I’m rooting for my fellow Americans and Twitter friends, Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vandevelde.  Though it looks like Zabriskie might be out of the running, I think Vandevelde still has a chance.  And if only to see Cavendish lose a sprint, I’m hoping for Tyler Farrar to beat him out one of these days.

One great thing about this year’s Tour is that Versus is broadcasting it in high definition.  Part of the fun in watching this race is watching the scenery of where they are riding.  Every stage is beautiful in its own way.  And with every new stage, I discover a new area to visit.  Someday.  Though not that HD matters much to me and my reliable old 21″ box.  But someone, somewhere is enjoying some of the most spectacular scenery to behold, outside of the Travel Channel (and real life, of course).  And someday, maybe I too will be able to watch in HD real life also.

Photo courtesy of Graham Watson, check out his awesome photographic documentation of this race and others at http://grahamwatson.com/

Le Tour De France. Its probably easy to argue that this race is past its prime, with all the controversy and bad press. But its still the only cycling that gets decent TV coverage in the U.S.

So for three weeks every summer, we camp out in front of the TV every night to watch it. Its not live, and we have to bear the commentary of Bob Roll (the Roll-factor, as Bike Hugger calls it), but its great nonetheless.

Its also a chance to drink beer. Our Tour brew of choice last year was Sly Fox Royal Weisse, and we had some last night. But I’m thinking maybe we’ll take this year’s Tour and make it a chance to try something new. At the Foodery yesterday I saw so many new and interesting beers, many I had not even heard of. If I can manage the project, I’ll update here.

Regardless, the one thing that the Tour manages to do every year is renew my desire to move to France. Or at least visit it. The towns, the countryside, the cliffs and ocean, it always blows my mind.

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