Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tour of California - Stage 1

Clare and I are in Northern California for the start of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California bike race. This by far the most prestigious professional bike race to occur in the US and this year's field is one of the best ever assembled for the race. Many of the biggest names in professional cycling are here and we got a chance to see all of them up close and personal.
Lance Armstrong is here, along with his entire Radio Shack team, including last year's champion Levi Leipheimer. I was more excited though to see the guys from Team Saxo Bank, including the champion of Luxembourg, Andy Schleck, and the champion of Switzerland, Fabian Cancellera. This race is gonna be epic!!!! Todays stage began in the little town of Nevada City, California. The streets were packed with people and it was exciting to be there. After a ceremonial two laps around town, the peleton headed out of town, on their way to Sacramento.
But the day belonged to Mark Cavendish, of the HTC Columbia team. He is regarded by many to be the fastest sprinter in the world, and today he proved it by easily out-sprinting the field for the win. He was celebrating well before he hit the line! That is him above being led to the finish by his teammate Mark Renshaw.
The day didn't end so well for everyone though. Tom Boonen, the champion of Belgium and one of my favorite riders crashed hard on the second to last lap around downtown Sacramento. He needed to be helped into the finish line by one of his teammates. Several top riders went down in the chaos including Stuart O'Grady from the Saxo Bank squad. Let's hope Tomke and O'Grady are able to start the second stage tomorrow!

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