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For the eighth consecutive year, OLN will be the exclusive Canadian broadcaster the Tour de France bringing viewers live coverage of the competition each day from Saturday, July 5 to Sunday, July 27.

Each race stage will be hosted by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen in addition to competition analysis from Craig Hummer and Bob Roll.

For the duration of the Tour, OLN will bring viewers full coverage of the race each morning. In prime time, OLN will offer enhanced coverage that will include interviews, travel features, historical features and training tips.

Now in its 95th year, the 2008 Tour de France consists of 21 stages covering a total distance of 3,500 kilometres. With 10 flat stages, five mountain stages, four medium mountain stages and two individual time-trial stages, this year's race will include four mountain finishes, 82 kilometres of individual time-trials and two rest days. The Tour route will run from Brest in the north western region of Bretagne through central France to the southern coast and then north again for the last stage ending on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Additionally, this year's competition will include 10 new town stops, two of which are in Italy – Prato Nevoso and Cuneo.
 

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I'm not really into watching professional cycling on TV, but what really makes the OLN broadcast compelling to watch is Phil and Paul's commentary. I wouldn't watch a minute of it if they weren't involved.

I always get a kick out of Paul Sherwin's Trek-like "bridge to engine room - I need more power!" phrase he throws in as the riders struggle through the more difficult climbs on the mountain stages. :D
 

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Not for us, although it's probably shot in HD again
Shame. I've watched most of the racing from Europe so far this year over various feeds available over the internet, and all but the races in Spain are now shot in at least widescreen.

The Belgian broadcasters are absolute masters at covering bike racing, the Italians like to do loopy stuff like turning the cameras upside down or switching to black & white, and the Swiss are technical innovators; they mount miniature cameras on some bikes in the peloton and they're shooting this year's Tour de Suisse with a remote-controlled gyro camera mounted on the back of a trike.
 

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Each race stage will be hosted by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen in addition to competition analysis from Craig Hummer and Bob Roll.


Is Bob Roll that awful commentator that they seem to have on the weekends on OLN who makes a point of saying "Tour dey France"....he really is an insufferable american.
 

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Yeah, OLN's coverage of the Tour de France is pretty good...except for Bob Roll.

The "Tour dey France" thing is bad, but what's worse is his pluralization of it to "Tour dey Frances", as in "Lance Armstrong won 7 Tour Dey Frances."
 

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I like Roll. He revels in his role as the yokel, but some of his stories from his days in the peloton are priceless. It's Hummer I could do without.

At least Versus ditched Kirsten Gum and those idiotic "cutter" guys they hired a few years back to do irreverent features about the local color; they were embarrassing.
 

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The thing with Bob Roll is that he's doing that "Tour DAY France" thing on purpose; when he's speaking of the mountain peaks or towns that the race is passing through, he has pretty good French enunciation. He just does that "DAY France" thing to jerk with people and play the "ugly American".

With that said, though, his over-the-top, random, pointless, hand gestures are the thing that makes me wish he found a different sport to broadcast....like maybe lawn bowling, or something else I'll never watch.
 

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Damn it! I'm gonna miss the first couple of stages. The stupid Rogers have to send a technician to my house to remove the damn "filter" physically in person. And they couldn't schedule that appointment until Tuesday afternoon, which means I'll have to start with stage 5 this year.

And, Yes, it's a shame it's not in HD. Otherwise, I'll be able to see more riders in the peleton in any moment.
 

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IMHO, this year's tour is one of the most exciting I have seen... tomorrow's 17th stage with the finish to L'Alpe d'Huez could be pivotal to the contenders, the top 3 which are separated by less than 10 seconds with the 4th less than a minute behind the leaders.

Speaking of cycling, me and my buddies have a "competetive ride" going amongst ourselves every Thursday night (starts at 6:15 PM) at the Pickering-Stouffville-Uxbridge area. Anybody interested is welcome to join. We meet up at the small park just NE of Highway 7 and Reesor Road (10th line). You can drive up there and leave the vehicle in the park. I just ride my bike to the starting line.

Here is the route we take: Pickering - Stouffville - Uxbridge - Pickering (48 kms)
 

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Today's stage was, indeed, spectacular! Too bad we don't have Versus/OLN HD. Some of those switchbacks on the Cols de la Lombarde and Bonette were insane, let alone the hair-raising descents; my heart was in my throat when Augustyn pitched over the edge on that right-hander. Thank goodness he wasn't injured; too bad the helicopter didn't show how much further his bike went!

Got my alarm set for 3:30 AM PDT for Alpe d'Huez!
 

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Going over the cliff was crazy. I didn't realize how steep it was until they switched angles and he had to climb up on all fours. Yes, it would have been cool to see where that bike ended up...
 

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Got my alarm set for 3:30 AM PDT for Alpe d'Huez!
It's do or die for CSC in tomorrows L'Alpe d'Huez stage as they know they will get beat by Cadel Evans in the time trials on Saturday. They have to put as much time on him in the last mountain stage... 8 seconds is definitely not enough cushion over Evans heading to the TT.

I am rooting for Evans though as he appears to be the underdog with 3 or 4 CSC guys (Sastre, the Schleck brothers, and Voigt) ganging up on him at every opportunity on the climbs. CSC did seem to run out of gas on the highest peak today though plus Evans was able to put his mountain biking skills to good use on the downhill trek to the finish line.
 

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Looks like CSC did well today... they manage to put Sastre on yellow with a 1 min 34 sec advantage on Evans. Now it remains to be seen whether that lead will be big enough to prevent Evans from re-capturing yellow in the TT on Saturday.
 

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CSC executed a tactically perfect race today. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this was their strategy all along, get a Schleck in yellow to divert the attention of the other contenders, then let Frank and Andy team up to wear them down in the mountains, opening the door for Sastre. After all, Sastre is their number one guy, and he focussed his entire season on the Tour. I think he may have enough of a cushion to just hang on; Evans didn't particularly impress me today, his attacks on the lower slopes of the Alpe d'Huez weren't overly emphatic, he seemed to struggle at times to hang with the Schlecks and he had no real response to Sastre's acceleration. Without the team support around him that Sastre has, he's had to work a lot harder these past couple of weeks and I think his legs are starting to feel it. Sastre, on the other hand, rode with the confidence and determination of a champion. Awesome stage!
 
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