Discovery Channel Fraud

Discovery Channel HD Theater had a special called "Riding the Tour de France: Livin the Dream" where two contestants get to get kitted up with trek bikes and train a bit with the discovery team and to ride "Stage 16" of the Tour De France. One of the guy was way out of shape about 6 foot 1 235-240. The other guy was in decent shape. Stage 16 was long. This was a nice little show about how two lucky guys get to live their dream and ride "the toughest" stage in the 2007 tour. Luckily for them, the nice producers had a trick up their sleeves to make their job not as difficult as advertised.

Stage 16 was long. In the world of the pathetic and desperate producers at Discovery, they magically turned the stage into approx 128 km, magically cutting off the 25 miles of flats plus the Category 1 Col De Larrau.

Discovery must have decided it would good tv to show how a schlub they pulled off the street could compete with the Pro's and Michael Rasmussen's time. This would be Suspension of Disbelief at its most grotesque. As I was watching this silly docudrama and these guys look like average double century guys at the back of the pack (I have no issue with that as I am middle of the pack at best double century rider). At this point, I had no criticism and was thinking it would be great to have been one of these guys. But near the end, they start saying the skinnier guy was only 45 minutes slower than the fastest pro's. as he climbed up the A'ubisque. I was thinking WTF are they smoking? Knowing how hard core ex professional winners of the L'Etape du Tour are often 45 minutes slower on the same stage as the Pro's, I had to look into this. Turns out that the Discovery Channel guys magically cut Stage 16 down from 218.5 KM to 123 KM to make their docudrama more interesting. A complete fraud and they lied through their teeth to make it "interesting". They did not just lie, they did it with relish pumping up their sad-sack amateur into something he clearly was not.

"The Professional Winner of stage 16 finished the stage in 6:23. If Joe can continue this pace, he will finish just a half hour behind the pro time. An impressive time for an amateur rider".. the Discovery voice over says in the middle. At the end, they say how awesome it is that he finished stage 16 in 7 hrs and 17 minutes. Just 54 minutes off of the fastest time in the Tour De France.

99% of the people who watch this would think, that wow... If I just work out a bit more than my 12 mile ride into work and back and get my VO2 max evaluated by Chris Carmichael I too, can almost compete with the Pros. The audacity to lie to everybody and make it seem that anybody could ever come with 45 minutes of Rasmussen's time on Stage 16!! There are probably 300 people in the US that could dream of doing that. But in the magical world of Discovery, anybody can handle a 130 mile stage with 14,000 feet of climbing in less than 8 hours!

I watched this moron show fully expecting it to be full of stupidity, but to downright lie makes me sick. I wonder who on that team decided nobody would know if we cut close to 100K from the stage length. I mean... who would know? Who would care?

This is docudrama gone very bad. I expect these shows to be somewhat cheesy, but they should never lie. People need to know just how good the Pros are during this the toughest ride in the world. To lie about this is nothing less than pathetic. Being one who always marvels at the ability of the Tour Pros, and really wanting to know how tough a tour stage is, I found this cheat to be irksome. Most likely it would have taken these guys 10-12 hours to finish this stage. That would not have made the TV show they wanted. The editors of this show deserve an emmy.


Spinning Plate said…
As one of the riders on the show, (the out of shape rider you mention), I feel compeled to comment on your blog.
As you can imagine, being selected for this show was a dream come true for a fan of the sport. Being a fan, I knew going in how hard these guys work and what it takes to be an elite athlete in the sport of cycling.
Our stage 16 ride was exagareted by the editors of the show. Which is really too bad, because there was so much more to the experience than made the final cut. Both the other rider and I were disapointed to see how the editors chose to use a fabricated time. The other rider on the show however is a very good rider and if he made it a full time effort with a lot of hard work could ride for a continental team.
I was really hoping the show would highlight more of our fan experience and just how great all of the guys who work with the team really are. Every team mechanic, rider, and coach really went out of their way to make our experience a good one. I only wish this was highlighed more. Believe me, I am not complaining, it is an experience nobody can take from me. And I have a sweet bike.