The official team presentation for the 3rd annual Amgen Tour of California
(AToC) took place Friday night in Sausalito. The super-swank, black-tie,
$250/person affair saw Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen and Bob Roll doing the
call-up and Q&A for each of the 17 teams while yours truly hosted the always
entertaining fashion show. What a way to kick off America's best bike race.
There were two surprise guests, both of whom created a buzz of excitement as
they came up on stage. To close out the fashion show, cycling aficionado,
Oscar winner and all around funny guy Robin Williams took the stage doing a
very risque cat-walk to the sounds of James Brown's tune "Sex Machine".
Selecting a James Brown song was appropriate for the entertainer many feel has
inherited the legendary blues singer's moniker as the hardest working man in
Robin's schtick brought the house down. Look for some clips on the Versus
telecast of the Amgen Tour of California on Sunday.
Just as the evening was wrapping up, Michael Ball and his Rock Racing team
took the stage for their team presentation and when a legendary tall, blond Italian
walked up on the platform, it was an exciting confirmation that 'il Leone',
Super Mario Cipollini was indeed going to be a part of the AToC. While his
exact role on the team has not yet been determined, look for Mario to be at
the start line, ready to go for Sunday's prologue. Tyler Hamilton and Oscar
Sevilla will be there as well.
Did you all know that Tom Boonen used to play basketball before he became one
of the most successful and most recognizable stars in cycling? During the
silent auction, I turned Tom onto a great photo of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird
guarding each other which looked more like a wrestling match. Tom bought it
on the spot, doubling the current bid!
Actually, there are two many great moments to put in this blog. Suffice it to
say that the AToC got started in grand style and looks to be creating some
unforgettable memories for all who will attend America's premier bike race.
The fuse is lit!