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Tales from the Peloton, August 27, 2005

OLN to broadcast Vuelta a Espaņa to US audience...with a few small changes

Madrid, August 26 (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) - On the eve of the beginning of the Vuelta Espaņa, Outdoor Life Network (OLN) today stunned and delighted American cycling enthusiasts by announcing that it would provide live coverage of the final grand tour of the season...although with some unexpected twists.

"In recent weeks, some have said that OLN is only interested in professional cycling for three weeks a year, and that it is interested in one cyclist only - Lance Armstrong," said commentator/OLN spokesmodel Al Trautwig. "Today we silence these critics."

"That said," continued Trautwig, "OLN is a business, and we have sponsors to satisfy. Plus, as you've no doubt noticed if you've watched our Tour coverage to date, we don't actually believe that the average American is any more intelligent than a bar of soap. To please our viewing audience, we have customized our broadcast plans."

What's in a Name?

"First of all," said Trautwig, "We don't think the name 'Vuelta Espaņa' really resonates with TV watchers - I know I've never heard of it. We've tweaked the name to be just a smidgen catchier: 'Cyclism III: Tour de France: Spanish Edition. (TdF:SE)' Trust me, people are going to love it."

Addressing the "Armstrong Factor"

Many cycling enthusiasts in the US have contended for several years that OLN focuses too heavily on Lance Armstrong; some have even gone so far as to say that OLN could stand for "Only Lance Network." Confronted with this accusation, Trautwig shrugged. "Look, I'm sure there are other riders out there, too. Maybe someday I'll even learn some of their names. But one thing I do know is that people recognize the name 'Armstrong.'"

"And that's why I'm pleased to announce today," said Trautwig, "that while Lance Armstrong may not be actually riding the TdF:SE, he will be very much a part of our race broadcast."

Here the OLN spokesman paused for dramatic effect, then said, "I'm very pleased to announce that OLN has arranged for the Discovery Channel team to borrow the T-Mobile Pro Women Team member Kristin Armstrong as their race leader for the TdF:SE. We've stipulated in Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen's contracts that they are to reference "Armstrong" frequently, and make it sound like she's winning."

"Um," said Trautwig, momentarily flustered, "But they're never supposed to say 'she.' It kind of destroys the illusion. Sorry I let that slip."

"But I'm just getting started," said Trautwig, getting back into the spirit of the announcement. "We'll also be mixing footage of Lance Armstrong from this year's Tour de France with footage from the current stage of the TdF:SE. Unless you're paying very close attention - and we're betting most people aren't - you'll never even know that Lance isn't there!"

"Finally, I'm pleased to announce that I've brokered a deal with OLN to allow me more freedom in my commentary. I think audiences will really enjoy hearing my colorful baseball and football anecdotes, and how they relate to biking." Trautwig chuckled. "This is going to be the best Tour de France ever."

Trautwig paused, then said, "I mean, of course, Tour de France, Spanish Edition."

Read more fake news, ill-formed opinions, and bad training advice at Elden Nelson's 'Fat Cyclist' blog

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