Hold your hats, but the Giro D’Italia is coming to American TVs for first time in it’s 100 years. It’s going to be on Universal Sports.
So what’s the occasion? One word: Lance. Lance Armstrong is back and riding the Giro for the first time. Can he win? I wouldn’t put it past him. He has an iron will and you have to know that his training has been insanely intense. However, he’s coming off a broken collarbone, he hasn’t raced a grand tour in a couple of years and doesn’t have that many race miles under his belt. More likely, he’ll be helping his teammate Levi Leipheimer win the race. Only one American, Andy Hampsten in 1988, has won the Giro, so it’ll be good to get another yank in the winners circle.The competition is going to be fierce. This is the 100th version of the race, so the Italians will be extra-motivated to keep the title at home. Should be an incredibly exciting race. Defending champ Alberto Contador, Armstrong’s teammate on Team Astana, will not be riding. Instead his preparing for his return to the Tour de France in July.
The Universal Sports announcers are rather dull. I’ll take Phil, Paul or Bob any day, but it will be a pleasant change to have commentary in English. Last year, in order to watch the event live, I signed up for the Italian Sports Channel RAI. For three weeks I watched the cyclists suffer through the Italian peninsula while commentators babeled in Italian I couldn’t understand. I was happy to watch it, and the animation of the Italian announcers was impressive. It would have been nice to understand what they were saying.
The three week Giro kicks off with a team time trial on Saturday on Lido di Venezia. Coverage starts at 5:30am PST, so set your DVRs.
If you don’t have a TV (or don’t have cable) or just want to follow the event online, the best place to track news of the Giro, as always, is Steephilll.tv