Tour de France: Rest Day Notebook

Your Phil Liggett Quote of the Day: Uttered during Sunday evening’s recap show in an otherwise entertaining mini-segment on the Italian TdF champ Gino Bartali. Phil needed to explain why Bartali’s two Tour championships occurred 10 years apart. This is what came out: “It was done either side of World War Two. And of course World War Two spoilt many, many millions of people’s lives.”

Memo to Versus sound mixers: Here’s a trend. Versus is using that newfangled “rock and roll” music as soundtrack for some of its rider profiles. Sweet. But it’s mixing the music so loud in some of the segments that you can barely hear what the “actuality”–the person talking–is saying. I don’t think this is strictly a matter of having fogey ears.

Versus ratings: After three years of doping scandals, Lance-less pelotons, and sagging ratings, Versus is seeing a big bump in viewership this year. During the first 10 stages of this year’s Tour, the live morning telecasts have jumped from 270,400 viewers to 479,800 viewers. As MediaPost notes, the ratings are also substantially higher than they were during Armstrong’s last Tour, in 2005.

Enraha! After his show of strength on the Verbier climb that ended Stage 15, Garmin’s Bradley Wiggins got lots of attention. He talked almost manically about his “day by day” focus. The rhythm of “day by day,” the accent, the vehemence: it was all very familiar. It came to me: Wiggins was channeling Scott, the crazed driving instructor in “Happy Go Lucky.” Scott has nicknamed the rear-view mirror “Enraha” as an arcane mnemonic device. His reminders to use–“Enraha! Enraha! Enraha!–are grating in the extreme. (And for the record, here’s part of what Wiggins said: “I never think too far ahead. Eveyone keeps talking to me about what’s ahead, what’s ahead. That doesn’t help my concentration. No, I go day by day. i’ve trained myself mentally as well as physically, and i go day by day, that’s what we do. How can you think three days ahead when you’ve got two days before that? That’s how you crack. That’s how you cock things up. So, day by day.”