If anyone has tuned in on Versus, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Let me start by saying that I'm grateful as hell that bicycle racing is even being broadcast here in the U.S. In a country dominated by "The Big Three" (football, basketball, baseball), it's a small victory that a sport like cycling gets any air time at all.
My gratitude stops there...
Let's start with the commentating. You've got two of the best cycling announcers of all time in Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen and for some unknown reason, you feel the necessity to throw Craig Hummer into the mix. Not good. His comparisons of cycling to (gulp) American football... Well, it makes my blood boil. He's probably just trying to relate it to something he knows. Maybe he can go commentate for the NFL and leave cycling alone.
It can't get any worse with the on-screen talent. Or can it? Enter Rasika Mathur. A comedian (self proclaimed?) who conducts some filler interviews on bike-tech and other miscellaneous cycling-interest stories. Comedian?? I'm not sure if she was just searching for some arbitrary title for her self but "Entertainment Executioner" would have been more appropriate. She utterly murdered any shred of entertainment value her segments could hope to possess. Even my wife, who's not nearly as critical as I am, visibly cringed when she came on. If you missed it, here's a clip with her talking to some guy from Shimano (poor fellow).
As for the actual race coverage. Cameras not working in the rain, coverage being cut short for bull riding, missed finishes, WAY too much coverage of Lance and his team "Astanastrong". All I can say is damn.
Let me be optimistic for a moment. Maybe this was a test run so all the bugs get ironed out before the Spring Classics. I don't know about you, but any cycling fan worth his weight lives for the Spring Classics and if Versus screws them up... Liggett bar the door.
We as cyclists need a channel dedicated to the sport, and run by someone who actually knows the sport and understands it. Versus doesn't get it. The people that watch cycling (with maybe the exception of the Tour de France) are pretty passionate and well versed in the sport. We don't need some dingbat "comedian" cracking jokes while soft pedaling on a stationary trainer. Just good coverage and good commentary.
We cyclists need a channel that understands cycling and its uniqueness. Maybe it would help if cycling didn't share airtime with hockey, bull riding and hunting...