In the wake of news (next post) that the Versus Channel has re-upped for another five years' worth of live coverage of the Tour de France, I want to publicly say how much I appreciate this. In the past, we've had a few fora here where the reviews of their coverage hasn't been completely kind, and I'm sure we all clamor for live race coverage of other events, instead of the edited, overdue afternoon pieces. But I for one am no longer inclined to complain. They're sticking with Cycling, and I think it's great.
[UPDATE] I have confirmed with Versus: the deal is sealed!
I've had a few people email me about the network over the years, including some descriptions of the place where a small minority of executives have had to argue strenuously with the higher-ups to show Cycling at all. Well, apparently those parties have prevailed. And their latest campaign, dubbed "Take Back the Tour," shows some real marketing savvy. Not only does it make a defiant stand against the same forces that disgust committed fans, it also says to those more casual fans that the sport is worthy of another chance. I wish I could embed their promo video; if anyone has contacts there and can help with this, please email me offline.
Versus can show as little or as much live Cycling as it wants, as long as the Tour comes on my teevee every day when the feed fires up in the morning. More would be better, and as the world starts to trust Cycing again maybe the economics will be there for some of the monuments, or the worlds, to be shown live. Regardless, this is a long commitment on top of their Lance years, and I think it's time to recognize that Versus is a real partner in the sport.