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SI View The Week in TV Sports

Saturday 7/11
Tour de France

The world comes to France for soccer, so France escapes to
Ireland for cycling. Today's prologue--a 5.6-kilometer training
trek--travels through the streets of Dublin. How does the Irish
toast go? "May the road rise up to meet you."... Then, before
the Tour returns to the coast of Brittany on Bastille Day, the
first two stages of this 23-day, 2,392-mile race (highlights of
which will be telecast nightly on ESPN and ESPN2) will traipse
the emerald Irish countryside, drawing curious onlookers the way
John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara did in The Quiet Man. Defending
champion Jan Ullrich (left) of Germany, not known for his
climbing, should have the advantage on this year's relatively
flat course.

Padres at Dodgers

With apologies to the Madres and the Padres, er, Mamas and the

All-Star backstop's gone
He's catching games at Shea
Hideo, Claire and Russell
Have all been sent away
If I were Lasorda
I'd sorta 'void the fray
California Schemin'
Is not a winner's way

What do you get when you cross a billionaire baseball ignoramus
with the National League's proudest franchise? A Foxhole. At
week's end Fox-owned Los Angeles was stuck in third place in the
National League West while division rival San Diego, relishing
the big bat (30 home runs, 74 RBIs) of Greg Vaughn (right) and
closer Trevor Hoffman's 25 saves in 25 chances, was comfortably
in first. Our advice to Glenn Hoffman, Trevor's brother and
L.A.'s new skipper, comes straight from The X-Files: Trust no one.
FX, 10 PM

Sunday 7/12

World Cup Final

Cards best left unseen: Yellow card, warning. Red card,
ejection. Green Card, Gerard Depardieu. The Frenchman, who
overacts not half as badly as any fallen striker in this
tournament, may well be cheering on his countrymen (who were to
face the Croatian sensations in the July 7 semifinal) as they
bid to become the first hosts to hoist the trophy since
Argentina in 1978. The other half of the draw features the
winner of what promises to be the most expertly played match of
the Cup thus far: the July 8 semifinal pitting defending
champion Brazil against the Princetonesque passers from the
Netherlands, who are bidding to make this the first all-European
final since 1982. The surprise team is Croatia, which did not
even exist two Cups ago. Should the Croats advance, keep an eye
on the leviathan leg of Croatian striker Davor Suker.

Ironman Triathlon 20th Anniversary

The thinking man's reply to "No pain, no gain" is "No pain, no
pain." You'll burn 3,000 calories just watching this one-hour
retrospective on the granddaddy of triathlons. Eight-time
champion Paula Newby-Fraser and six-time champions (and rivals)
Mark Allen and Dave Scott provide candid interviews. Allen was
so inspired by Julie Moss's courage during her failed attempt to
finish the '82 Ironman--a denouement that is relived here--that
he picked up the sport and later Moss herself (they wed in
1989). Ironman commentators, whose work is also shown, include
Arthur Ashe and Arte Johnson. Arte Johnson? Verrry interesting.

Thursday 7/16
British Open

Spice Girls math: Two Become One and five become four. Tiger
Woods could sure use that method of calculation on his
scorecard. As befits his name, one of the game's longest hitters
is the goods with woods, but this season he sputters with
putters. Tiger might rank even higher than No. 5 on the Tour
money list ($1,152,292 at week's end) if he was not No. 101 on
the greens. Fellow youngsters David Duval, defending champ
Justin Leonard (left) and Phil Mickelson are favorites this week
on the wind-hewn Royal Birkdale course. Tom Watson, 48, is the
dark horse--if you can so label a five-time British Open winner.
Watson won the last of his eight majors at Royal Birkdale in '83.


COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH [Greg Vaughn batting]

COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK [Justin Leonard golfing]


World Cup rocks. We love golden goals, stoppage time and
stretchers. Most of all we love Budweiser, Canon, Nike, etc. for
sponsoring blocks of time so that the games are aired
commercial-free. Now, why can't this be done for NBA and NFL
telecasts?... Just before the penalty-kick phase of France's win
against Italy last Friday, ESPN2 showed a full-moon shot of
Italian goalie Gianluca Pagliuca (he was adjusting his jock) as
commentator J.P. Dellacamera remarked that the keeper would be
"putting on a different game face."