This is our second in a series of reviews of the Tour de France previews. No VeloNews in hand yet; it was another busy weekend, and unlike VN Cycle Sport has the courtesy to send a copy right to my house (after I had the courtesy to give them $30 or so). Anyway, right now this is looking like a trilogy, with the VN review coming sometime in the next 24 hours in all likelihood. Unless I can find that Road Magazine Sui Juris was stumping for in the poll thread.
Cycle Sport USA 2007 Tour de France Guide
Pages: 188.. and proud enough of this fact to mention it on the cover.
Ad presence: completely tolerable. If anything, it's a bit light, especially when you consider what percentage of the ads are for WorldCyclingProductions, which is either related or the same company. Can they possibly be making any money? Well, I'm not, so who cares.
Parcours Review: Thorough and entertaining check on each stage, from profiles, to significance, to what to eat by the roadside. Heavy on brief comments, humor and graphics, sort of a cheekier USA Today with more substance. Lacking only stage winner predictions, Cycling's least exact science.
Guest starring: Dozens and dozens! Two different current or former riders review each stage, one based on a past success there and a second who's from the area, giving local knowledge.
Favorites Preview: Outstanding! Strengths, weaknesses, comments from the rider and his DS, and a ten-point rating system for ten different factors. Of course, when Valverde gains 12 points on Vino for his clothes and interviewability, you have to take this for what it is. But the important stuff is all there, and in an entertaining package. Are you getting the sense that maybe I like this magazine? Let's move on.
Other Jerseys: Like its British cousin, the white jersey is virtually ignored. Do they not value the next generation in England? Top favorites for green and polka dot get the same coverage as GC guys, though selection is questionable: Bradley Wiggins is in and Alessandro Petacchi isn't?
Team Breakdowns: OK, a bit too focused on stage wins. The strength of a team lies in its depth, which you won't read about here.
Props: They go all out to make this an entertaining read, and even managed to squeeze some podium and jersey predictions out of their panelists. Easily the best preview for the largest audience, right down to its explainer section. It's even well updated by CS's normally appalling standards (e.g., Honchar isn't listed for T-Mob).
Pans: Hm, not a lot to choose from. Some oversights, as listed above. Not much history or other original sidebar stuff (like Cycling Weekly's profile of French aspirants). Also, there's a picture of Robert Millar on p. 106 that's almost too frightening for words. He looks like a griffin.
Rating: Buy Buy Buy! And devour the whole thing.