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Lance Armstrong not happy with Versus

May 18, 2010 |  6:19 pm

There were only about 35 seconds left in Tuesday's Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California and a television viewer couldn't ask for much more:

Three of the top cyclists in the world, three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer, two-time runnerup Dave Zabriskie and Australian star and leader of California-based HTC-Columbia Michael Rogers were wheel-to-wheel racing for the finish line in Santa Cruz.

The Versus network had offered up stunning high definition pictures as the trio, the three favorites to win the overall title when the race finishes Sunday, sprinted towards the end of the 113-mile stage. Until the most important part -- the finish line.

Not that you weren't warned -- Versus did run a crawl along the bottom of its broadcast warning viewers to go to the Amgen Tour of California web site for the finish -- but, sure enough, right at 4 p.m. Versus switched to hockey. Well, actually, to a pre-game interview. 

So you didn't see Zabriskie edge out Rogers at the finish with Leipheimer a few meters behind. You saw some pre-game hockey interviews.

Race spokesman Michael Roth said Monday's rainy stage brought fatigue to the riders and so Tuesday's pace was slower than predicted and the stage finished a few minutes later than predicted.

An angry Lance Armstrong has taken to Twitter wondering how such a bad decision was made. We can't use the language Armstrong did in his Twitter however.

Versus hasn't responded to requests for comment yet. However Versus is owned by Comcast. Comcast-Spectacor is a part-owner of the Flyers. And it was the Flyers-Montreal game that was on Tuesday's schedule. Though some are wondering what Versus would have done had Armstrong been one of the final three riders flying into Santa Cruz.

Anyway, Versus is scheduled to rebroadcast the race stage tonight at 9:30 p.m. All the way to the finish. Though what happens if the hockey game runs long? 

-- Diane Pucin

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