Tour de France ratings sink in the US, recover in France

Forget drug allegations, the reason OLN's Tour de France coverage has slumped in the viewing figures is because of the lack of Lance. Not even another American in yellow - Floyd Landis regained the golden fleece today and could keep it all the way to Paris - is helping. However, in France TV ratings "show signs of recovery," says
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The first week of this year's race was not a Tour de Force for cable broadcaster OLN. The channel lost almost 50 per cent of its US viewers compared to the same week last year.

The Only Lance Network is not making a smooth transition to the Only Landis Network even though the former Mennonite rider has a medical problem to talk about: but a dodgy hip doesn't - yet - have the same backstory potential as a successful recovery from testicular cancer.

It's likely ratings in the US will improve over the final two weeks of the Tour, especially now that Landis is back in yellow.

However, Landis is playing a conservative game, not making any decisive, dramatic climbs in the Alp stages so far. US audiences don't want chess on wheels, they want blood, guts and glory.

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