TDF: NBC's Coverage-My Wish List
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  1. #1
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    TDF: NBC's Coverage-My Wish List

    I'm inspired by all of the Tour's dedicated athletes. But I want more. NBC, this is what I want:

    More technical information about the bikes. Show why a time trial bike is different from a mountain stage bike. I want details on chain rings, pedals, brakes, saddles, frames, seat posts, tires, etc. During today's stage (9th) there was a brief segment on a Lemond trainer that one of the teams uses. I liked it, but the segment was so dry. I wanted to see them actually mount the bike on the trainer and explain how it worked. Again, more technical info about the bikes. I know what kind of bike I ride. I want to know what the pros ride and why.

    Behind the scenes. I want to see what it's like to travel from stage to stage. Where do the teams set up? Is there a team village? Where to the riders sleep, eat, hang out? Sometimes they show spectators gawking at team buses. What are they looking at? Also, I think it would be interesting to see the day-in-the-life of a crazy fan that follows each stage in their camper. What is traffic like between the stages? When you see the same group of fans on a certain mountain stage corner year after year, how do they do this? Does someone camp out for days? I want to "live" what the teams and spectators are living day to day.

    Scenery: Great as is, BUT how about some text under the awesome video of each cathedral, chateau, castle, garrison, fort, etc. When Phil or Paul mentions the name, it's too quick and it's too French for me to figure out what they said. I'd love to Google some of these places to learn more about them.

    Any type of virtual/computer simulation of what it's like to be the rider? I think this would add interest to NBC's audience to see what riding a bike around a 90 degree corner at 20 mph looks like or feels like. Or cornering a 45 degree angle at 29 mph. What I'd really like to know, but is probably impossible, is what it's like to be in the Peloton where you're shoulder-to-shoulder. I can dream, can't I . . .

    Pre-stage stuff and Team stuff. What happens before a stage? Do the riders actually ride it to practice it? Do the rider's only rehearse the TT stages? And when? How many non-rider employees does a team have? What do these employees do? Show me, because I really want to know!

    I've never raced, nor ever will. But I love watching the Tour and other pro races. I just always feel the coverage can be enhanced with more information--and not just rider profiles. Those are good, but I want to learn more about what the sport is all about: the equipment, training, team dynamics, day-in-the-life of racers, day-in-the-life of team employees, etc.

    p.s. Has anyone else noticed that there doesn't seem to be any sub-divison type housing developments in France? No aerial overviews of cul-de-sacs with 5 houses with pools around it or curvy streets with driveways and houses.

  2. #2
    Sooper Dooper Moderator!
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    I always like it when they go through what's in the feedbags.

  3. #3
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    I'd love it if the commentators just buttoned their lips for a while and we heard the ambient noises of the race -- the crowds, the buzz of the freewheels in the peloton, the give and take among the riders, and the crackle of race radio. It bothers me that the commentators feel compelled to fill every moment of time with talk, whether that talk is accurate or useful, or not.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    I'd love it if the commentators just buttoned their lips for a while and we heard the ambient noises of the race -- the crowds, the buzz of the freewheels in the peloton, the give and take among the riders, and the crackle of race radio. It bothers me that the commentators feel compelled to fill every moment of time with talk, whether that talk is accurate or useful, or not.
    But that's sort of what they're paid to do.
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  5. #5
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    Where do the teams set up?
    In the start town. They have what is known as the 'start village'. A section of street is barricaded and the team buses assemble there, set up trainers, roll out the bikes, fill up the support car. Team members, media, officials, and a few people associated with sponsors mill around.

    There is also a hospitality area where sponsors hand out trinkets and local vendors give away whatever the town or area is famous for. Wine almost always. Cheese, bread, crepes, etc etc. One so inclined can get a serious grub on.

    Is there a team village?
    The teams pick their own hotels wherever, and of there rather quickly after the stage ends and interviews are over and doping controls satisfied. The next morning they roll into the start village.

    Where to the riders sleep, eat, hang out?
    I've often seen riders out and about in whatever town their hotel is in, post stage. More so on rest days obviously, but when I've stayed in the same hotel or area as a team I've seen them in restaurants or cafes and such. Before the day's stage you don't see them out much because the team buses are rolling hotels and they have everything they need.

    Sometimes they show spectators gawking at team buses. What are they looking at?
    They will usually assemble some bikes in front of the bus and mechanics will be fooling with them. Or loading spares on to the support car. Sometimes a DS or other well known person will be at the bus, signing autographs or giving an interview or similar.

    What is traffic like between the stages?
    It isn't all that bad really. Slow until you can hit a main freeway but once there it isn't bad. Except summit finishes, those always take forever to get out of. Generally if you are associated with the race your window badge speeds up things, so I'm not sure how it is for everyone else. But it doesn't look that bad.

    When you see the same group of fans on a certain mountain stage corner year after year, how do they do this? Does someone camp out for days?
    Generally a day or two. Except the famous climbs and then maybe a week. Or they rent a room at the same hotel/inn every year and get the space that way. Or know someone who lives along the course.

    Something that always amazes me about the grand tours is that they pick up everything and move it every 24 hours for weeks at a time. You can drive along the course the day before and see a camper here or there but nothing else to tell you the race is coming. The morning before there are barricades up and banners and the start and finish villages go up and there is a gendarmerie at every intersection the whole way. And then after the riders pass by they pull the whole thing down and move it to the next town.

    Has anyone else noticed that there doesn't seem to be any sub-divison type housing developments in France?
    That sort of housing hasn't really caught on there, or in very many parts of Europe either.
    Last edited by grandprix; 07-10-2012 at 04:42 AM.

  6. #6
    AJL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    I'd love it if the commentators just buttoned their lips for a while and we heard the ambient noises of the race -- the crowds, the buzz of the freewheels in the peloton, the give and take among the riders, and the crackle of race radio. It bothers me that the commentators feel compelled to fill every moment of time with talk, whether that talk is accurate or useful, or not.
    Yeah, I get what you are saying here. Sometimes I wish there was a mic & camera on a couple of riders bikes so we could feel really immersed in the peleton. They could be low power transmitters to cut down weight and just transmit to a motorcycle or official's car.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandprix View Post
    (regarding "subdivisions")
    That sort of housing hasn't really caught on there, or in very many parts of Europe either.
    I'm pretty sure if you zoom in on Google Maps satellite view on the Paris suburbs, you'll find plenty of neighborhoods that look just like suburbs in the good 'ol "US and A." Here's a screenful:
    https://maps.google.com/?ll=48.95883...00149&t=h&z=20

  8. #8
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    I'm pretty sure I don't need Google Maps to tell me what is in the suburbs of Paris. There are a lot of compact housing tracts, but they share few characteristics with US style suburban sprawl.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    I'd love it if the commentators just buttoned their lips for a while and we heard the ambient noises of the race -- the crowds, the buzz of the freewheels in the peloton, the give and take among the riders, and the crackle of race radio. It bothers me that the commentators feel compelled to fill every moment of time with talk, whether that talk is accurate or useful, or not.
    I'll second this comment from Mr. Mapei.

    What annoys me more is they call a team director...ask leading questions, that then they always get non-informative answers in return....meanwhile the race goes on. Don't get me started about their TV broadcast, whenever they camera crews setup great scenic shots, NBC throws up big commercial banners right in the middle of them.
    "We are doomed to live in very interesting times"

  10. #10
    glider
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    I actually follow the cycling & service teams such as Velonews, lé Tour, Sky, Vittoria, & Mavic on their YouTube channels & websites for that type of interesting race information.

  11. #11
    The Dropped 1
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    Interestingly enough I recall that the TdF shows used to do this quite (re: tech info on bikes and behind the scenes), but now that you mention it not so much anymore. Though IIRC, many on here also complained about that and wanted to just see racing

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaba View Post
    I'm inspired by all of the Tour's dedicated athletes. But I want more. NBC, this is what I want:

    More technical information about the bikes. Show why a time trial bike is different from a mountain stage bike. I want details on chain rings, pedals, brakes, saddles, frames, seat posts, tires, etc. During today's stage (9th) there was a brief segment on a Lemond trainer that one of the teams uses. I liked it, but the segment was so dry. I wanted to see them actually mount the bike on the trainer and explain how it worked. Again, more technical info about the bikes. I know what kind of bike I ride. I want to know what the pros ride and why.
    I'm wondering if this has anything to do with sponsorship money. E.g., Cannondale pays money to be on a commercial. They wouldn't appreciate it if they do a segment on RSNT's Trek bike.

    But I'm wondering if this is changing. In the world of bowling, the question of what ball the bowlers are using was always important to bowlers, but never addressed in the telecast. You only saw the logo on the shirt, and maybe, if you're lucky, you get a glimpse of the ball. Nowadays, the color commentator notes which ball (brand and model) the bowlers are using and why.

    But I'm also wondering how useful the info would be. You'd know that, e.g., BMC and Liquigas are both Speedplay teams, but are they Speedplay teams because they tested a bunch of pedals and found Speedplay to be the best. Or are they a Speedplay team because Speedplay is paying them to be a Speedplay team?

  13. #13
    JSR
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    A bunch of great suggestions!
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaba View Post
    p.s. Has anyone else noticed that there doesn't seem to be any sub-divison type housing developments in France? No aerial overviews of cul-de-sacs with 5 houses with pools around it or curvy streets with driveways and houses.
    I have vacationed in the region where they are now. My sister lived there, renting a suburban-style house with a swimming pool in a neighborhood of similar houses on the edge of a small town.

    When I served with the army in Germany, back in the 70s, there were almost no houses outside the densely-built towns and cities. Now one can find quite a few. Laws and social custom limit the kinds of developments that would encroach on farm or forest lands.

    I'd say modern suburban housing development in Europe looks a lot like that of Northeas US. Small tracts of land are sub-divided into parcels for 10 or 20 homes. Where I live in California the Spanish Rancho legacy made huge estates available to aggressive builders, with the resulting housing tracts of 10,000 - 15,000homes in many areas. In my county we now have laws limiting that kind of development outside of towns. The sprawl in nearby LA County was just too much for us to contemplate.

    JSR

  14. #14
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    The technical/equipment spots, are usually nothing more than "infommercials" for a product, probably paid for by the manufacturer.

    As far as video/filming, it's my understanding that most of what we see (on NBC) is direct feed from official TdF race film crews.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoegazer View Post
    I actually follow the cycling & service teams such as Velonews, lé Tour, Sky, Vittoria, & Mavic on their YouTube channels & websites for that type of interesting race information.
    This!
    Tons of behind the scenes stuff on the Sky facebook site and the fi:zik facebook site.

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