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24 Hours at the Amgen Tour of California

Posted by Bruce Hildenbrand on May 19, 2010 11:18:40 PM

Almost all of the time the story at a bike race is about the riders. But, every once and a while something comes along which seems to be a bit more interesting. With apologies to Levi Leipheimer, Mick Rogers and Dave Zabriskie, here's an insight into my last 24 hours.


Stage 3 in the Amgen Tour of California started in San Francisco right down the street from comedian Robin Williams' house.  Robin was on hand sporting a gray mustache apparently necessary for an upcoming movie role.  Besides Lance Armstrong, Robin is friends with Jim Ochowicz, the president of the BMC Racing Team. Robin came onto the BMC team bus and spent a few minutes putting the riders and staff in stitches.


After the start, I drove directly to the finish in Santa Cruz to watch the race in the press room and work on my articles for the day.  I am covering the race for, Cycle Sport Magazine and Cycling Weekly Magazine.  That means at least two articles a day.


Once the stage had concluded, I headed to the post-stage press conference. The Amgen Press Officer entered and asked if anyone spoke Italian.  I replied in the affirmative and the next thing I knew I was up on the stage seated next to Peter Sagan of Liquigas who was wearing the Best Young Rider Jersey. Peter and I exchanged greetings and I told him to please talk slowly so I could understand what he was saying.


Peter Sagan is one of the huge names in the 2010 racing season.  Only 21 years old he has already won two stages of Paris-Nice and a stage at the Tour off Romandie. This guy is going to be a big star. That's a good thing unless you are the interpreter since it seemed like just about everyone had a question for the Italian. Needless to say, everything went well.


After the press conference, I filed my stories and headed over to the Versus TV trailer to pick up Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.  I was emceeing a charity fundraiser with Phil and Paul at the Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos.  We had a great time. Phil and Paul told stories that had us all laughing our heads off. They are truly the best.


I got home around 10:30pm and had just enough time to proof my articles for the UK magazines and websites before hitting the sack at midnight.


Unfortunately, I was up at 5am to head down to the start in San Jose to do several TV interviews for KNTV-11 and KRON-4 for their morning shows. It is tough to be awake that early in the morning. Trying to be awake and upbeat is even more difficult.


The sun was coming up as we finished the last interview. I actually had time to drive home and get a couple more hours of sleep before heading back to the start line to catch up with the riders and record a few more interviews including a very nice chat with Johan Bruyneel about Lance's fitness level.


Well, that's how those 24 hours were spent.  I didn't stop any terrorists or expose any dishonest members of the Presidential staff. That stuff I leave to Jack Bauer.



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