While watching the Prologue of Paris Nice last night on OLN, I was struck by a number of things both good and bad:
Good - coverage of cycling at all. I'm not going to start the whole OLN war again, but I'm like a lot of you. At the end of the day I'm happy just to be taping a European race even if it means putting up with Bob Roll.
Bad - Bob Roll. Does he have to mispronounce so many rider's names or is this his schtick, as in "Tour Day France?" I'm relatively sure he's not this stupid and he's got Paul Sherwen sitting next to him correctly pronouncing the current stage leader's name ('Kashaykin'). Yet when it comes time to show off his italian pronunciation the names practically roll (sorry) off his tongue. It's maddening and more than once I yelled at the tv. Luckily only the cats and dog were home to stare at me.
Good - Paul Sherwen's call of any rider who made the final U turn within 20 seconds of the race leader as having a chance to take the lead, while subsequently noting that the finish was longer and tougher than it looked. He did it with Boonen, McGee, Wiggins and especially Julich when they all came into the corner at around 5:48ish, looking to crack 6:08.
Bad - the determination that any US rider was 'powering their way to a good time' no matter the result. David Zabriskie, Chris Horner and Floyd were all said to be scorching the pavement, yet one finishes 27th, one finishes 66th, and Floyd finishes 11th. Um....what? Subsequently Tom Boonen is declared not as smooth in style as the TT specialists yet rips off a 5th place finish. Let's have less hyperbole and hype towards the mother station's nationality and more accuracy on who's performing best.
Good - Bobby Julich winning the prologue as the defending champ. It's impossible not to like him as a person and a rider based on his results in 2004-2005 and so far this year, his almost retirement 3 years ago after 5 years of awful results, his always sunny attitude, and his total shock yesterday about the win, coupled with his 2nd overall in the TdC after an off season of not training hard (per Riis' orders).
Bad - anyone who doesn't like Bobby Julich.
Good - Boonen's chances of winning every race this year that either a) ends in a sprint b) is a short, technical, power favoring ITT or c) covers pave, muddy farm roads or 1-3Km climbs of 12% gradient or more. When he said in Qatar that he was only 80% and could get much stronger he was right on the money. Being another year older but still young, he may just keep growing in power and strength for the next 4 seasons. If I'm a classics rider, sprinter, or Green jersey contender I am now officially terrified.
Bad - McEwen's chances when going up against Boonen. Actually, I shouldn't say bad because Robbie is a hell of a sprinter himself. But Boonen has a lot going for him in that he's physically too big to move off his line, can go from a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng way out, can climb well for a sprinter, and is about 8 years younger. It will be very interesting to watch the Maillot Verte fight this year.