Can a sports radio host win a TdF stage?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Dave Shields, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. Dave Shields

    Dave Shields New Member

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    Two weeks ago I had a surprising interview with Sporting News Radio host Scott Wetzel. On his nationally syndicated show he told me that, if he wanted to, he could win stage 13 of this year's Tour de France. You can see more about that here:
    http://www.dailypeloton.com/displayarticle.asp?pk=8239

    We just completed the follow up call. Sporting News Radio led into it with a song they must have composed themselves (which was actually quite good) about how boring the Tour de France and bicycles are. Obviously, they were very well prepared.

    The interview (not including the song) has been posted to my Web site if your interested. I have no idea why I erroniously said that McEwen crossed the line at "70 KPH which is 35 MPH." It's actually about 43 MPH. Whoops. The correct speed would have made my point much better.

    Another question he asked which I wish I'd answered differently was, "Will it be embarassing to the Tour de France if the guy who wins the yellow jersey doesn't win a stage along the way?" If I'd though quickly enough I would have said, "Would it be embarassing to the Masters if the guy who wins the Green Jacket doesn't have the lowest round on one of the days?"

    Amazingly, though, he seemed to start to get it (at least a little bit) about halfway through the interview. You can listen to the audio by going to this page:
    http://www.ReadTheRace.com
    and clicking on the 7/16/05 Sporting News Radio link partway down the page on the left hand side.

    Doing all of these interviews has been fun, and I'll keep promoting cycling as hard as I can. Hopefully, eventually somebody will take a serious look into turning "The Race" into a movie. Once they do I believe it will find a wide audience. Lots of people will be kicking themselves for letting the Lance Armstrong era slide by without ever having watched anything other than a couple sports center highlights that they didn't have the background to understand.
    Tailwinds,
    Dave Shields
    http://www.ReadTheRace.com
     
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  2. blowin mud

    blowin mud New Member

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    I don't know Wenzel, but if he's not a very experienced cyclist I'm certain he couldn't keep a 25-28mph pace on flats for very long. It looks so easy on TV to these fools, but they have no idea what it actually takes. cycling 100 miles and sprinting the last few hundred meters looks simple to the inexperienced. I bet, Wenzel would never claim to be able to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory like Bradshaw, Aikman, or Brady because he understands that sport. Pretty sad, and very ignorant if you ask me.
     
  3. PMThor

    PMThor New Member

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    The problem really is that the casual fan or observer of cycling just don't understand the effort actually involved. You could say that about any observer who doesn't know much about any particular sport though. If you take someone who knows basically nothing about baseball and they watch a game, they may come to the conclusion that anyone can hit a homerun and it is easy to do, since from their observations of the sport they see the professionals do it regularly and with what appears to be little effort.

    Same with cycling, it looks so easy to do when you watch the pros, but in actuality it is incredibly difficult, we all know this. Anyone who doesn't know much about a sport but then feels it necessary to make their opinions heard about said sport needs to realize that there is more to it than just what a casual fan may observe from a quick glance. Forget about winning a stage, heck I doubt he could even finish one stage.
     
  4. Dave Shields

    Dave Shields New Member

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    Well put. I was impressed that Wetzel listened and modified his opinions as the conversation went along, though. He started out as a shock jock, certain that he'd bowl me over with the power of his argument. When he started learning some things that went against his misconceptions he re-evaluated. I think he learned something about what cycling really involves, and I learned something about why some of the misperceptions exist.
    Dave Shields
    http://www.ReadTheRace.com
     
  5. baj32161

    baj32161 New Member

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    It amazes that people think professional cycling is that easy. I was watching ESPN's "Pardon The Interruption" last week when I heard Jason Whitlock say "Thses guys aren't athletes. All they do is ride a bicycle, even I can ride a bicycle." I suppose I would have rebuffed his statement by saying that Carl Lewis isn't an athlete either because all he does is run and even I can run.

    Even sportswriters are clueless when it somes to cycling.
     
  6. squidwranglr

    squidwranglr New Member

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    I think you may be giving "them" more credit than is due for just why the misconceptions exist. Last year, a different sports radio host (I'm afraid I can't remember who) decided to declare something along the lines of: "Lance Armstrong is not an athlete - he would be totally destroyed by a single tackle in the NFL." Wetzel himself was disrespectful enough to ask you if you were talking about lightbulbs when you were presenting him with power levels for the cyclists in the Tour de France. Maybe he would have been more impressed if you converted the watts to horsepower - it may have been easier for him to compare to NASCAR (I love car racing, by the way, just so the record reflects I'm not picking on NASCAR on cultural grounds).

    But seriously, sports like cycling and triathlon have no chance of moving beyond a niche following in the US. Why? Because they require educated people to appreciate them. Educated either by being involved in the sports themselves or by seeking out the information about those sports with an open mind as to what makes them uniquely challenging. My impression (I grew up outside the US) is that Americans don't want sports to be so complicated and multi-faceted. Heck, even the NHL is a fringe major league because "hockey has too many rules." Look at soccer - it had no chance in the US because it does not yield high-scoring games. The beauty of soccer is in the teamwork, the strategy and personal skills. The goals are secondary. But without goals, it becomes complicated to measure teams against each other. Who was better? Too much effort to decide.

    Look, even Wetzel is so stuck on the point that Lance may win the entire Tour de France without winning a single stage. It is totally lost on him that a) that doesn't change the fact that he will have completed the entire tour in the least amount of time, therefore the fastests average speed of all the other cyclists and b) when you are involved in a multi-week endurance event, being smart about your pacing and energy conservation is actually a reflection of being a good, mature and succesful athlete, (some of the things that Lance himself lacked in his earliest cycling years).

    I appreciate your efforts in trying to educate Wetzel or others, but really, education has to be a mutual process. If the person at the other end has no agenda other than to ridicule or poke fun at the information you're presenting him with, it's probably not worth your time.

    Take care,

    Berend
     
  7. mises

    mises New Member

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    Lance has a radio show so the answer is yes a sports radio host can win a stage and in fact 7 Tours in a row.

    Other than him the answer is no freaking way and in fact none of them could even stay on my 45 year old kidney transplanted diabetic wheel for 5 miles on a dead flat road, let alone even make the time limit on a Tour stage. I think every town has had the same comment made by a talking head on the radio at some point. A few places they have even accepted challenges from the locals to come out and try to prove it, with predicatable results. Though they always resort to the "if I trained for a year..." excuse afterward.

    I think most of the issue is Americans in particular all like to think they (and their children) are just a little above average and recoil at the thought that the top people are so much better than they are that them competing in a bike race (or whatever) is like a spider monkey trying to win a spelling bee.
     
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