2004 Race DVD’s
Everyone who’s ever spent time riding the rollers or a stationary trainer knows that the scenery indoors gets pretty boring. So a good DVD collection is the indoor cyclist’s best friend. World Cycling Productions has been making some great cycling movies for years, and fans of Lance Armstrong and The Race are sure to enjoy the chance to relive the 2004 race. The only catch: should you get the $40 4-hour version, or the $70 12-hour version?
In an act of selfless journalistic sacrifice, I spent 16 hours over the last couple months in front of my TV watching both versions of the 2004 Race, and I’m here to help you make the choice. Here’s what I found:
||Summary coverage of conditions, crashes, intermediate sprints & breakaways, followed by the final five minutes or so of positioning for the sprint, the finish itself, slo-mo and photo-finish analysis, and post-stage interviews with the stage winner.
||Surprisingly similar – very little additional content.
||Coverage begins with the rider who put in the fastest time before the GC leaders start, then shows top-ten finishers crossing the line, top-five finishers at time checks, and Lance & Jan in a little more depth. For both versions, the Alpe d’Huez stage includes a few moments when the ExperiencePlus! crowd is visible if you know what to look for!
||Again very similar. A little more coverage of the field. On the Alpe d’Huez stage, there’s more unbroken coverage of Lance, Jan, Ivan Basso and Andreas Kl¨den.
||Summary coverage of the major attacks, breakaways, polka dot jersey points, etc., followed by unbroken coverage of only the last five minutes or so of the stage finish.
||This is where the 12-hour version shines. On the important mountain stages, you get unbroken coverage of large swaths of the action, up to an hour or more. The camera shows interest in Lance and his main rivals, of course, but also in the King of the Mountains (KOM) competition, the plight of poor Thomas Voeckler as he struggles to maintain his grip on the yellow and white jerseys, Iban Mayo’s frustration with his performance, and how well the day’s breakaway is working together.
||If you’re primarily a fan of the sprinters, the 4-hour version is all you need. Otherwise, do the math: for 20 stages to fit into 240 minutes, you only have time for about twelve minutes per stage. That’s enough time for highlights coverage and not much more.
||If you really want to see how the race was won, who looked strong and who faltered, and what it’s like to climb the big climbs, the 12-hour version is a lot more for your money.
One final note: our 2004 Race Reference Guide makes a great companion to either DVD set if you’re on the couch instead of your bike.