Today was the first day of the Amgen Tour of California. The race was a quick 2.4 mile prologue. Fabian Cancellara won today's stage in 4.32.9 seconds. It was an amazing ride, and as the pre-race favorite, he did not disappoint.
For the past couple days, all the talk has been about Lance, and it is amazing the draw that he has for this race. They call it the "Lance Factor". I worked at this event last year, and while the crowds were big, it was nothing like this year. People are guessing that there were twice as many people here today as last year. We definitely got lucky with the weather. It would have been a shame if fewer people had showed up because of rain and cold.
One thing is for sure, these guys are rock stars to their fans, and the die hard fans would still be there. I happen to know that one poor girl waited in the cold and drizzling rain to get an autograph of Lance at the one place she knew he would be.... Doping Control... Very smart girl.
Mark Cavendish won the Best Young Rider Jersey today, and is in a great position for getting the yellow jersey with a win tomorrow. But, Thor Hushovd and Tom Boonen finished just ahead of him. It could turn out to be a crazy race with these 3 teams battling it out for the time bonus sprints and the all important finish. There are two time bonus sprints, each worth 3 seconds and the finish has 10 bonus seconds for first.
The first day always sets the stage, but doesn't necessarily settle the race. There is difficult racing to come, and there are a lot of private battles going on that are just waiting to play themselves out. This race is just beginning, and now the nerves can finally settle and everyone can get down to business.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is dismal. Rain and wind are expected so the riders will have a challenging day even if the course is not super difficult.