For the first time in at least a dozen or more years, the first of the Grand Tours (cycling’s big three races) has came and nearly gone without my noticing. Usually, the Giro d’Italia is my warm-up to the Tour de France. Often the drama is more riveting and, at times, the performances are more impressive than those of “Le Tour.” The dramatic stage wins of “Super Mario” Cippolini and amazing mountain wins by “Il Pirata” Marco Pantani are part of cycling legend.

Stage 17 was underway today and until last night, I had no clue the thing had even started! What could possibly have distracted me from one of my favorite events of the year? Let’s just call it an “affair of the heart.” Yes, I have been so preoccupied with other things that I missed it entirely. The good news is that thanks to modern media, all is not lost.

Not only are each of the days television coverage available LIVE online, they are all archived. This means that I can watch them all in order, and since the Giro doesn’t really hit the news in the US, it won’t be ruined by spoilers. As of this afternoon, between letting the coverage run while I work and do other things, I am just finishing up the end of Stage 4. Thirteen more stages and I will be caught up – should be just in time for the conclusion of the tour.

I also have to give a big shoutout to Universal Sports for the great coverage of the event. This looks like another great move by NBC that, along with Hulu, continues to prove they get new media.

I am pleased to see Lance Armstrong’s new team, Astana, doing well as well as Team Columbia High Road – another team I like – turning in a good tour. I am wondering what happened to George Hincapie as the last time I saw him, he was on Team Columbia High Road, but doesn’t seem to be in Italy at all – perhaps they are saving him for the Tour de France.