The 3rd annual Amgen Tour of California is in the books. The people from
Amgen were conspicuously absent from the race, but reports are that they are
happy and looking to continue sponsorship. Let's hope so. Here are some
random thoughts about the race.
Things I liked:
All the aggressive riding. It was full-on from day one first with the BMC Team
sending guys up the road on stages 1 and 2 and then with attacks by the likes
of George Hincapie, Robert Gesink, Dominique Rollin, that Hincapie guy again,
Michael Creed, Tom Zirbel, that Hincapie guy again, etc, etc.
The non-Pro Tour teams showing themselves in front of their bigger brothers.
These lesser weights (in UCI classification only?) didn't just hide out at the
back of the pack waiting for another beating, they raced side-by-side to the
Podium girls. Hats off to Michael Ball and Rock Racing for bringing some
much-needed feminine touches to the main stage.
Mount Hamilton. This bump helped create one of the most selective finishes
in the history of the AToC. When combined with Sierra Road this made for a
very exciting stage.
Mario Cipollini. Cipo is in his second career as a bike racer and has admitted
that he is playing with house money. But, ride he did and he was in there when
he needed to be. Bravo!
Levi's time trial ride. Guys like David Millar, Christian Vandevelde, Tom
Zirbel and Ben Jacques-Maynes rode extremely well in Solvang, but Leipheimer
delivered the knock-out punch to anyone else's hopes to win the AToC. Yeah,
he was expected to do well, but not that well. It was a drubbing.
Things I didn't like:
The AToC organizers bumping three riders from Rock Racing from starting. I
have still not seen the supposed letter from the UCI stating that there are
active doping investigations on Santiago, Oscar and Tyler. Anybody else seen
any news on the alleged open doping investigations?
Mother Nature. Maybe it was payback for kicking out the three Rock Racing
riders, but why penalize all the other racers and spectators with so much
rain? I was starting to gather a few animals, two-by-two.
Media parking. Hey, I am a journalist. I am doing a job at the AToC. Please
give me a place to park my car and don't trap me in some parking garage with
one attendant to take cash so I have to spend an hour waiting in line to leave
after the race.
Technical manual. Is it so hard to put a graphic showing the press room on
the map of the finish area?