Friday, February 22, 2008

ToC Stage 5 - Solving Solvang

The town of Solvang again played host to the Stage 5 time trial of the Amgen Tour of California and Levi Leipheimer again crushed all of the competition. And yet again, tasty Danish pastries were consumed by yours truly.

After the horrible conditions of the previous stage, partly sunny skies and dry roads were greatly appreciated by riders and fans alike. Some whining by local businesses and residents caused some changes to the course but the end result was the same, with Levi extending his lead in the GC and giving this little tourist town a heck of a show.

David Millar and Christian VandeVelde from Slipstream/Chipotle took second and third respectively but were really not close to the little bald man from Santa Rosa, whose winning margin was nearly thirty seconds. Fabian Cancellara and Dave Zabriskie both finished over a minute behind on the 15 mile course.

I will post some pictures and more commentary shortly but in the meantime, I'll give a little insight into some of the things that stood out from my attendance at the race. I will elaborate on all of this when I get the photos up.

- Quick-Step seemed to have some of the largest crowds around the staging area where the riders were warming up. And the most people asking, "Who is that?"

- Dave Zabriskie and Steven Cozza's mustaches are even better in person than on TV.

- Pat McQuaid and Jim Ochowicz are buddies. And kind of funny.

- There is a new Specialized angel. And Paolo Bettini was fully checking her out.

- Rock Racing has one giant entourage. And they all wear black jeans. jeans.

- Michael Ball's glasses are gigantic.

- Mario Cipollini like a real-life comic book character.

- Astana's kits aren't quite as heinous as I had originally thought. But they're close.

- Bouyges Telekom may as well have not even been there.

- Bob Stapleton is a good guy.

- Oscar Friere is shorter than I thought.

- The long conversation between Friere, a few other Rabobank guys, Santiago Botero and Michael Ball was fascinating.

- Christian VandeVelde is coming out his shell after leaving CSC and starting to look like a threat to get some good wins this year.

- Dominique Rollin is a horse.

- Levi is what some would describe as "polished."

- Older people love Leipheimer and say lots of things like "He seems like a nice young man."

- I saw a guy that was on "Friends" but I can figure out his name. I was standing next to him in the media pit but it took me a while to figure out how I recognized him. Courtney Cox was nowhere to be found.

- Sadly, Wherry, Baldwin and SoPro Jones were not in attendance so that I could introduce them to my father like last year.

Well, there are a lot of other things that I am anxious to write about but this list will have to suffice until I get the photos rolling. I'm pretty sure it will be worth the wait.

Next up, Santa Barbara. Good times will be had.


Karl Rover said...

Good updates, thanks for making it happen.

Sebastian said...

Well-observed: my dad had the "nice young man" reaction to a tee after meeting LL at the SF Grand Prix a few years back.

You're also right about the gigantic Quick-Step crowds. It was like that when I checked out the prologue last year. A huge crowd waiting for an audience with the Champ, and then a slightly smaller "who's that?" crowd standing behind them. I tried to explain to one woman how becoming World Champion has nothing to do with winning the TDF and she became angry and confused.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Rollin's is a horse, I saw him just before he broke on stage 4 and the pictures I got were scary. Dude's got serious desire to gallop!

Kk said...

Hey I was all over 5 and 6 (see blog). Probably tripped over each other. What do you look like anyway?

CaliRado Cyclist said...

Thanks everybody. Glad I'm not alone with some of my observations.

As for what I look like...well, that's classified. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Nah, I'll get some of my pics from inside the ropes posted here soon. I actually even got some inadvertent face time on the VS coverage. Thanks Bob.