I can't go without mentioning all the unintentional Matt (Wilson) coverage. I am saddened because Brad looked like shit (and Phil, I believe, even described Brad as being broken). But, so much Matt! I know I'm horrible, really. But I enjoy seeing my favorite cyclist on national TV.
The word of the day is not Lance (okay -- it is OLN-wise, but not me-wise), but instead, it's "ouch." Tyler, Mario, Bernhard and others. All the different peloton breaks were really interesting to watch. Granted, though, at the end there were only two: the main peloton and Brad and Matt. This is the first time I've seen a tour from the beginning. Before last year, I'd only watched highlights. And then, last year, I started watching on Stage 12.
I do have some complaints about OLN's coverage. With tennis, even ESPN can tell you all the completed matches. But OLN? Apparently they find no need to tell me where all the riders are after each stage. The only way I knew Matt was 181st was because they showed a little (two lines) summary of him while he was helping Brad. Although I know that Matt is probably 187th of 188. And, sadly, Brad is 188th (EDIT: I learned when I finally got home, that Matt was actually 186th and Brad 187th, because poor Nick Gates didn't make the cut.)
Although my TV watching has been split between the Wimbledon finals (Gah. Roger. I wanted Andy to win) and the stage, I fully enjoyed and appreciated the rain-filled racing.
Also, if Al complains one more time about the lack of Lance coverage, I'm going to write an email (EDIT: Oddly enough, he never did). I wish they would show a little more respect for the other 187 riders.
Enough complaining. I truly enjoyed the final sprint. I must admit that I kind of expected Petacchi to win, but it was almost clear that the Fassa Bortolo train was not completely in control and thus didn't allow enough of a leadout for Petacchi.
(Quotes: The virus of cycling - Al. Ride to live, live to ride - Bob)
Other things I liked? The Thor-Tom-Fabian points fight. Jaan Kirsipuu (if only because his name is so much fun to say out loud). All the Matt (sorry Brad). Getting to see April's boys: Hondo and Baden. Fighting-Erik (don't give up, Erik!) Robbie losing (I am evil, I know). And, well, the rain. I'm a sucker for bad weather. I totally enjoy the excitement. Though, after Benhard's crash, I spent a lot of time praying that Matt wouldn't crash.