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Man in the Arena

February 15, 2009

If anyone thought they'd wait until Solvang before paying close attention to the 2009 Tour of California, they might want to start tuning in. After only the Prologue and Stage 1, the story lines are starting to develop.


Let's recap:


Fabian Cancellara wins the Prologue just two seconds ahead of defending champ Levi Leipheimer, then fails to start Stage 1 due to an illness. The absence of Cancellara, a strong contender for the overall, means there's more room at the top for someone to slip onto the podium.


Overnight, the Astana team is the victim of a robbery. Thieves get away with several bikes, including Lance Armstrong's time trial bike.


The race rolls out from Davis under inclement weather, bad enough to delay the Versus cameras from showing actual racing for about an hour. Cycling fans get pretty familiar with the network's bull-riding promos.


As we finally get to watch Francisco Mancebo makes his break, a chase pack starts revving its engines. Mancebo manages to hold them off to take the win and the overall lead. Will Rock Racing keep their man in the yellow jersey? Will they be allowed to?


Monday's Stage 2 across the Golden Gate Bridge and to Santa Cruz could be a doozy.


In the meantime, I'm going to rewatch Lance Armstrong's Friday press conference exchange with journalist Paul Kimmage. "You are not worth the chair that you are sitting on with a statement like that."

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