cyclingtv saves U.S. Giro fans from zero TV coverage.

(update: I am watching live streaming video of the Giro at the Universal Sports web site. Cyclingtv was in fact unable to work out a deal with the greedy Italian broadcast company.)

We have our first winner in the Giro: North American cycling fans.  Thanks to last minute negotiations between cyclingtv and  RAI, it appears disaster has been averted. We award the ceremonial pink jersey to cyclingtv. They are the new heroes of pro cycling. “Chapeau,” as the French say.

We can only imagine the Italian-style bargaining that went on. Most likely this involved physical threats, insults, a few plates of pasta, a slap of the face, a dead body in the sewer, a bloody horses’ head in somebody’s bed. And of course a massive bribe. That’s just how things get done in the old country. Again, our deepest thanks to cyclingtv for taking care of business even if it went down to the final hour. Obviously, these guys brought in some muscle.

And while we’re at it, a round of appluse for the boys and girls at steephill for their comprehensive listing of all broadcast, internet and text Giro possibilities. It’s just proof that you need commited people to stay on top of the story and not worry about all the bloodstains.

The sad part in all this is that the Giro, the Giro organizers and Italy itself suffer from this short-sighted attitude about broadcast rights.  Guess what, folks? One reason why the Tour de France is bigger is that people actually get to see it on TV. Just the huge bump in tourism is worth the deal. If I were the president of Italy, I’d be on the phone screaming at RAI. (And yes, there would be a few dead bodies.) How many people watch three weeks of those helicopter shots of France, the mountains, pittoresque valleys and chateaus and say, “hey, let’s take a vacation to France next year.” Thousands at least.

Let the Giro begin. It’s going to be an incredible show. And we actually might get to see it.

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