Ooh la la, today I had guests from ASO (the organization that puts on the Tour de France) in my VIP car. It was an epic day, but not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. After yesterday's stage I thought today was going to be out of control. But the course was not as difficult as yesterday, though the weather stayed horrible.
I felt so bad for the guys as I was driving to the race in the morning. It was pouring rain, they had an 8:30 am start, which was planned so that they could have the postcard shot on the Golden Gate Bridge. It unfortunately backfired. The bay was turbulent, and it was freezing and miserable. As the race got underway, all the guys looked like bundled-up Michelin men...
Once the racing started, a group got away and had a good gap. Unfortunately, as happens in cold, wet weather, there were some crashes, and Lance was taken down by a photographer on a motorbike. There was quite a bit of chaos, and the breakaway expanded their lead in the confusion.
In the end, Levi attacked on the final climb and bridged to the remaining riders of the break. He put in an awesome effort, and while not winning the sprint (Tom Peterson of Garmin-Slipstream won), he took the race lead and is now the leader of the Tour of California.
On a personal note, it was really cool to be driving the representatives from AEG and ASO. They were so impressed with the organization of the TOC and made many positive comments about how many spectators there were, etc. I felt proud to be a part of the greatest race in the U.S., and it felt good to hear the positive comments of those who organize the biggest and most prestigious race in the world. I felt like California, and the fans, put on a show worthy of any Tour de France, and that we should be proud of how far bike racing has come in the U.S.