Tour de Drama

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 7.4.2017

During the final sprint in stage 4 of the Tour de France, world champion Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish were driving to the finish line when Cavendish went into the barrier and was run over by cyclists behind him after it appeared that Sagan nudged Cavendish causing him to fall. At least that is the way the Tour sees it and now both riders are out of the race but for different reasons.

First Cavendish. He took a hard line with no room for error and it didn’t work out. He has a fractured shoulder blade and a nasty cut on his hand. He is out of the race due to injury.

Sagan, the five time Green jersey winner, was initially relegated to 115th place among other penalties but then the Tour changed it’s mind and disqualified him from the race entirely. Sagan denied the claim that he elbowed/nudged/winged Cavendish into the barrier but the race organizers see it differently and have made their decision in the name or ‘rider safety’.

Social media is a buzz about this. While some see a clear elbow by Sagan others point out that Sagan does not need to give a rider behind him a clear path and that Cavendish took a very dangerous if not reckless line.

The bottom line is this, Sagan and Cavendish are out. Two popular cyclists out of cycling’s biggest event of the year. It also means that the race for the Green jersey is wide open. This will either make the 2017 edition of the Tour de France incredible interesting or it will forever have yet another asterisk next to the results.

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The Sunday: Leaps, Bounds, Explosions & Crashes

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Whatever It Takes

Well the fact of the matter is that it was stupid move but no one ever became a legend by playing it safe. On Friday night a SF Giants fan (we presume) leaped over the railing and into McCovey Cove for a Joe Panik home run ball. While not the smartest move, it was still awesome.

 

Rumblin’

Ottawa defensive lineman Zack Evans intercepted a pass and went 65 yards for a touchdown (or as they say in the CFL, a ‘major score’). Best part, he held the ball high and tight with three points of pressure. Dr. Lou would be proud.

 

No More Fireworks For NFL Players

During the next round of contract negotiations you can bet that there will be a ‘no handling fireworks’ provision. This is because two NFL players lost finger(s) this past 4th of July setting off fireworks. Tampa Bay cornerback CJ Wilson lost two fingers while NY Giants star Jason Pierre-Paul had one amputated. Pierre-Paul may suffer a little more because after the incident, the Giants pulled a contract offer worth $60 million.

 

Crash

Last week saw two spectacular crashes. The first happened late Sunday night at the finish of the Coke Zero 400. Fans were hurt but amazingly driver Austin Dillion walked away from the crash.

The next day in Stage 3 of the Tour de France, a massive pile up occurred which ended the race for six riders including contender Fabian Cancellara

What To Watch Fri. 7/10 – Sun. 7/12

All times are Pacific.

Friday July 10th

Montreal Alouettes at Winnipeg Blue Bombers – 4pm ESPN2: Football on a Friday night. Check out the Al’s new QB, former Marshall record setter Rakeem Cato. He only went 20-25 for 241 yards and three TD’s. And that was his first ever CFL game!

Gold Cup: USMNT vs Haiti – 5:30pm FS1: The US were ok  in their 2-1 win over Honduras. Haiti could present some different problems.

 

Saturday July 11th

Tour de France – 5am NBC: Stage 8 is 181.5km of cycling joy.

Wimbledon Women’s Final – 6am ESPN: Serena Williams looks for her 21st Grand Slam title.

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox – 4pm FOX: While the Red Sox are not in the best shape it is still one of the best rivalries in all of sports.

UFC 189 – 7pm PPV: Conor McGregor takes on Chad Mendes for the interim Featherweight belt and Robbie Lawler takes on Rory MacDonald for the Welterweight title. Two title fights are usually worth the price of admission or a ppv.

 

Sunday July 12th

Tour de France – 5am NBCSN: It’s stage 9 and that means team time trials.

Wimbledon Mens’ Final – 5am ESPN: Roger Federer takes on Novak Djokovic face off….again. This will be the 40th time they have faced off with Federer leading the matchups 20-19.

St Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates – 5pm ESPN: Pirates have a chance to get a little closer to the division leading Cards.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Sporting KC – 6pm MLS Live: Vancouver is coming off a tough loss in Colorado but SKC is shorthanded due to the Gold Cup.

NBC Sports Fails Again

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

We’ve been critical of NBC Sports on this site but we feel for good reason. They put themselves before the fans which is a problem. From the pre game shows they sneak in when the TV listings state that the game should be starting to NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus suggesting that NHL players shouldn’t grow beards during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Well let’s add the Tour De France to this list of how NBC Sports and their parent company Comcast stick it to the fans.

NBC SPORT TOUR DE FRANCE

It’s the 102nd running of the Tour De France and while cycling is a niche sport in the United States and lacks a Lance Armstrong-esq personality, the event is still one of sports most grueling physical and mental tests. It’s niche classification apparently makes it ok for NBC Sports (owned by cable giant Comcast) to charge fans for online access. While it’s only $30 for the entire tour – which runs until July 26th – it’s still something that sets a bad precedent.

Previously NBC Sports and other networks like ESPN have allowed fans to watch broadcasts online after authenticating a cable/satellite subscription. NBC Sports is now putting that aside and saying ‘nope, that’s not enough. You fans need to pay more.’

This hurts cycling fans and in the end hurts the sport. While the backlash will be minimal due to the small cycling fanbase, one can only image what would happen if NBC Sports pulled the same move during the Stanley Cup Final citing lack of interest due to one of the teams being a ‘small market’ team.

Is the $100 plus cable/Internet bill not enough for NBC Sports parent Comcast to cover the costs of broadcasting the Tour De France? Does the extra $30 from from say 10,000 fans put them over the top? We really doubt it. Especially since Comcast had revenue of $68 billion in 2014. It’s just another case of NBC Sports (and Comcast) sticking it to their customers.

Make no mistake, we would be complementing NBC Sports right now if they sold online access to the ‘cord-cutters’ but allowed paying cable/satellite subscribers free access….but they’re not. It’s feast or famine and at the end of the day it’s bad business. You would generate more revenue by going this route. The passive or new cycling fan who has a cable/satellite subscription could watch. The hard-core cycling fan could watch too even if they are a dreaded ‘cord-cutter’.

NBC Sports approach is short term thinking to a long term issue. It only proves once again that NBC Sports (and Comcast) puts profits in front of the fans/customers and they are still too naive to realize that without the fans/customers there would be no profits.