I may be missing something but I just checked the current prices of the 3 series Gitzo tripods at B&H and they were only a few dollars less than the TVC-34L thought the GT3542XLS does extend all the way up to 6'6" (78") vs. 68.25". The difference is only $50. I guess I don't consider $50 to be a huge premium.
I don't know much about Gitzo tripods so I don't know if the series 3 are the correct models to compare against the TVC-34L or if I should have looked at the series 4 or 5.
We don't have a brick and mortar camera store anywhere near us so I've never seen a Gitzo. I decided on the RRS though online research. I don't think buying a comparable Gitzo would have been a bad decision but I'm quite happy with the RRS setup I'm now using.
$50 isn't a huge premium especially when you're spending that much money on a tripod.