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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » 2005 Paris-Nice & Milan-San Remo
2005 Paris-Nice & Milan-San Remo
World Cycling Productions // Unrated // July 1, 2005 // Region 0
List Price: $39.95 [Buy now and save at Worldcycling]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted July 18, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The movie

Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo are two important early-season bicycle races that don't always make it onto DVD, so it's nice to see the 2005 edition of both races for our viewing enjoyment. Both races are part of the new "Pro Tour" which has replaced the traditional World Cup series of races, but it's too early to tell how much influence the Pro Tour will have on the season as a whole.

Paris-Nice is an eight-day stage race, traditionally known as the "Race to the Sun" from its start in chilly March weather in Paris leading to its finish in sunny, warm Nice. Bad weather often interferes with the early days of the race, and 2005 was no exception, as severe weather conditions forced the race organizers to shorten Stage 2 to a mere 46 kilometers. Apart from that, though, Paris-Nice went off without a snag.

After a short prologue time trial, the race includes both mountain stages and more flat stages. US viewers will be interested to know that the start list includes Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie from the new Discovery Channel team (now that US Postal is no longer sponsoring a team) and Bobby Julich from the strong CSC team. Armstrong doesn't put in much of an appearance, as this is just an early-season warmup for him, but there are plenty of other big stars who really are looking for the win. T-Mobile's two-time winner Alexander Vinokourov is a star of the peloton here, as is last year's winner Jorg Jaksche from Liberty Seguros and Iles Baleares' Alejandro Valverde.

The approximately two-hour coverage of Paris-Nice's prologue and seven road stages is well handled overall, with the editing nicely done for the most part. The one exception is Stage 6, which has long stretches of uneventful racing and should have been cut down. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen deliver their usual interesting and enthusiastic commentary, and the coverage does a good job of displaying stage profiles, stage results, and the general classification after each stage. As a race, it's reasonably interesting, but not totally gripping. There are several quite interesting stages, but in the end I felt the win was not as exciting as it could have been.

Milan-San Remo gets just about the perfect amount of coverage here: 55 minutes. It's long enough to capture all the exciting moments of the race, while also being short enough to stick to just those exciting parts. Milan-San Remo holds a special place in the hearts of many cyclists and racing fans, as one of the most beloved (and longest-running) Italian Classics, as a challenge for the sprinters, and as an introduction to the spring racing season. At almost 300 kilometers, it's also the longest of the modern Classics. It's mainly flat, making it a favorite of the "fast men," but the essential nature of Milan-San Remo is captured in its famous climbs: the Cipressa and the Poggio.

The 2005 edition of Milan-San Remo is quite interesting, and is probably one of the more interesting ones that I've seen. There's a lot of action and reaction, with aggressive riding and plenty of attacks, and the win is contested all the way to the bitter end. The editing of the race footage is excellent, but unfortunately I can't say the same of the commentary. Replacing Phil Liggett as Paul Sherwen's co-commentator here is Bob Roll. Bad idea. Really, really bad idea. Roll's commentary is awkward and stilted to the point that he sounds like he's reading off of a card; he's so far from having a conversation with Sherwen that for a while I wondered if their two commentaries were recorded separately and spliced together. Worse than that, Roll's comments are uninteresting, and his enthusiasm sounds forced. Paul Sherwen is a fantastic commentator, and I'd much rather see him do the commentary alone than have to split it with Roll.

The DVD

The 2005 Paris-Nice & Milan-San Remo is a two-disc set, packaged in a nicely compact single-wide keepcase. Paris-Nice occupies all of the first disc and some of the second, with Milan-San Remo on the second. The DVD set is Region 0 (NTSC format).

Video

The image quality for Paris-Nice is excellent. The middle- and long-distance shots are fairly soft, as they usually are, but the close-ups are beautifully crisp and detailed. Colors look very good across the board, appearing rich and vibrant while also having a pleasingly natural appearance. A few instances of picture break-up occur, but these are from the original broadcast rather than from the transfer. Milan-San Remo also looks very good, with some softness but an overall attractive appearance. Both races are presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio of their original television broadcast.

Audio

Paris-Nice sounds very good; the Dolby 2.0 track does a great job of capturing the commentary, with both Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen coming across clearly and cleanly. Their voiceover always sounds natural and crisp, and is nicely balanced with the incidental "race ambiance" sounds. It's a nice clean track overall.

Milan-San Remo doesn't come out as well; the commentary from both Paul Sherwen and Bob Roll is stuck in the left front speaker, a rather annoying quality-control issue that seems to happen fairly regularly on WCP discs. The remainder of the soundtrack is normally distributed among the speakers, at least, and it sounds clean and clear.

Extras

There are no special features here, except for a printed start list on the inside DVD cover for both races. The menu is rather awkward; on Disc 1 (Paris-Nice alone) it's fine, but on Disc 2, the menu defaults to just Paris-Nice. In order to access Milan-San Remo, you have to press "top menu." The cover art and disc art is nicely done, though, as they are (essentially) spoiler-free.

Final thoughts

Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo don't make it onto DVD nearly as often as cycling fans would like, so it's nice to see this set offered by World Cycling Productions. Paris-Nice is interesting, though not as much as the 2004 edition; Milan-San Remo is the treat here, though it's marred by the fact that Paul Sherwen is matched up with the weak commentating skills of Bob Roll. Overall, it's hard to beat two races in one nice package, and the 2005 Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo certainly deserves a "recommended" rating for cycling fans.

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