February 25, 2007

Dominguez takes Stage 7, Leipheimer the overall at ToC

VeloNews | Sprinters have their day as Leipheimer cruises to Tour of California title

So far, the Tour of California has been the Discovery Channel/CSC Variety Hour, with guest stars Paolo Bettini and Graeme Brown. CSC has 3 wins, 2 by Juan José Haedo and one by Jen Voigt, while Discovery Channel has two by Leipheimer in the race's two time trials.

So it's understandable the US squads were on the attack today on the circuit race in Long Beach.

Danny Pate of Slipstream and Tim Johnson of HealthNet kicked off the day's big break, joined by Johnson teammate Karl Menzies, Pate teammate Steven Cozza, Toyota-United's Sean Sullivan, Priority Health's Ben Jacques-Maynes, and T-Mobile's Adam Hansen. At one point, Pate was yellow jersey on the road, but Discovery had plenty of help today from teams looking for a sprint stage win, including BMC, Credit Agricole, and Rabobank.

Menzies was the final survivor with around 2 miles to ride. Pate would take the overall most-aggressive rider's jersey for his active role all week.

From there, the ProTour teams worked to place their sprint specialists. CSC got on the front, with Rabobank trying to set up Graeme Brown and Gerolsteiner working for Robert Förster. At the line, the win went to Toyota-United's Ivan Dominguez, who found and attacked from Brown's wheel.

“For me it is better if I find my own way in a sprint,” said Dominguez. “With four laps to go I found Graeme Brown's wheel and I stayed there. When we started the sprint he just took me all the way to the finish.”

Dominguez was brought over to Toyota-United partly to fill the gap left by Juan José Haedo, now riding for CSC, who took the points jersey for the overall tour.

Levi Leipheimer wraps a wire-to-wire overall win in front of the home crowd. It's going to be very interesting to see how his season develops; this could either be his payoff for working for Basso at the Grand Tours, or the beginning of the big season he's worked for.

Best young rider goes to Rabobank's Robert Gesink, :41 ahead of Matthew Lloyd of Predictor-Lotto. CSC took the team classification, 2:19 up on Discovery Channel. Said Stuart O'Grady:

“We came here with the objective of going for the overall. But getting three stage wins plus second, fourth, fifth, sixth, the overall team classification and the sprinters jersey was a superb week. We've come from a really hard training camp and it was hard. But the hard days are paying off and we've come away from this with way more than expected and we are all very happy.”

Christophe Laurent took the King of the Mountains overall.

CyclingNews.com | Leipheimer takes jersey from start to finish

CyclingNews | Stage 7 photo gallery | Complete stage results | Complete General Classification

GrahamWatson.com | Tour of California Stage 7 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on February 25, 2007 in Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Bettini, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2007

Haedo doubles up at ToC Stage 6

VeloNews | Haedo takes deserved win after racelong CSC-Discovery battle

Haedo again

Haedo takes another win
Graham Watson/VeloNews.

After Levi Leipheimer opened up a 21-second lead on Jens Voigt in the Friday time trial, it looked like Leipheimer had nailed down the win. With a Discovery Channel squad that had controlled the race pace and only 2 stages to go, it looked like Leipheimer would go wire-to-wire to take the 2nd annual Tour of California.

But CSC, the world's top-rated squad, wasn't ready to concede. They pushed the pace all day, trying to spring Jens Voigt, and eventually getting Stuart O'Grady, 5th overall 1:20 behind Leipheimer, into a break with 8 others, including Slipstream's Danny Pate, T-Mobile's Michael Rogers, and Quick Step's Bram Tankink.

The gap rose to more than 3 minutes, and Discovery put all hands into the chase, including George Hincapie, who didn't yet realize he had broken his wrist early in the stage in an accident with teammate Tony Cruz. The news is bad for Hincapie, the US road champion: He's expected to miss the spring classics, a group of races in which he's traditionally excelled.

As the break approached the finishing laps of Santa Clarita, O'Grady took monster pulls, but couldn't hold off the peloton, which made the catch with less than 5 kilometers to ride, apparently locking up Leipheimer's overall win. It was a titanic battle between CSC and Discovery Channel.

Gerolsteiner made a move to set up Robert Förster in the last kilometer, but left him on his own too soon. The sprinters enveloped Förster, with Freddie Rodriguez getting tangled with the Gerolsteiner rider. Meanwhile, Juan José Haedo puled an almost McEwen-like act, appearing right against the storm fencing and just outkicking the likes of Thor Hushovd, Greg Henderson, Paolo Bettini, and Luca Paolini. T-Mobile's Henderson was 2nd, with Bettini 3rd.

The win was the 4th for Haedo over the race's 2 years.

Credit Agricole's Christophe Laurent locked up the overall king of the mountains title, despite the efforts of Quick Step's Jurgen Van De Walle, who outscored Laurent at 3 of 4 KoM primes on the day.

Haedo is strongly placed for the points classification, and Levi Leipheimer looks to have sewn up the overall, with just 77.5 kilometers left to race on Sunday.

Top 10:
1) Juan José Haedo, Argentina, CSC, in 3:56:04
2) Greg Henderson, New Zealand, T-Mobile, same time
3) Paolo Bettini, Italy, Quick Step-Innergetic, s.t.
4) Thor Hushovd, Norway, Crédit Agricole, s.t.
5) Fred Rodriguez, USA, Predictor-Lotto, s.t.
6) Robert Förster, Germany, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
7) Luca Paolini, Italy, Liquigas-Bianchi, s.t.
8) Alex Candelario, USA, Jelly Belly, s.t.
9) Alejandro Acton, Argentina, Colavita-Sutter Home, s.t.
10) Russell Downing, Great Britain, Health Net-Maxxis, s.t.

1) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, 22:17:56
2) Jens Voigt, Germany, CSC, at :21
3) Jason McCartney, USA, Discovery Channel, at :54
4) Bobby Julich, USA, CSC, at 1:06
5) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, CSC, at 1:16
6) Christian Vandevelde, USA, CSC, at 1:24
7) Michael Rogers, Australia, T-Mobile, at 1:32
8) Ben Day, Australia, Navigators, at 1:38
9) Franco Pellizotti, Italy, Liquigas-Bianchi, at 1:41
10) Ryder Hesjedal, Canada, Health Net-Maxxis, at 1:57


CyclingNews.com | Haedo, out of nowhere, makes it two in Cali

VeloNews | Amgen Tour, Stage 6: A Casey Gibson gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Tour of California Stage 6

CyclingNews.com | Tour of California Stage 6 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on February 24, 2007 in George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2007

Leipheimer dominates Cali TT

Leipheimer extends Amgen Tour lead with superb TT victory

CyclingNews.com | Leipheimer puts stamp on California: “It's my turn!”

Voigt over the top

Levi Leipheimer
By Ken Conley.

Levi Leipheimer stamped his seal on the Tour of California with a dominant performance in today's 14.6 mile/23.5 kilometer time trial. Leipheimer put another 18 seconds into Jens Voigt, who was 2nd-fastest on the day, and Discovery Channel teammate Jason McCartney was 3rd on the day, almost 25 seconds behind Leipheimer.

Discovery Channel and Team CSC dominated the day, taking 9 of the top 10 places. The sole interloper was Priority Health's Ben Jacques-Maynes, who was 3rd in the race's prologue on Sunday.

World time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara could manage only 4th on the day.

Leipheimer, who had a very disappointing time trial in last year's Tour de France, partially credited the win to a change in his position discovered during an off-season wind tunnel session.

The results were enough to bump Rabobank's Robert Gesink ahead of Predictor-Lotto's Matthew Lloyd in the young rider's competition. All four race jerseys (overall, mountains, points, and young rider) are still in play, with the climber's jersey to be decided on Saturday.

Top 10 on the day:
1) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, in 29:40.44
2) Jens Voigt, Germany, Team CSC, at 18.07
3) Jason McCartney, USA, Discovery Channel, at 24.70
4) Fabian Cancellara, Switzerland, Team CSC, at 37.47
5) George Hincapie, USA, Discovery Channel, at 40.10
6) Bobby Julich, USA, Team CSC, at 41.86
7) Christian Vandevelde, USA, Team CSC, at 56.66
8) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, Team CSC, at 59.95
9) Ivan Basso, Italy, Discovery Channel, at 1:02.66
10) Ben Jacques-Maynes, USA, Priority Health, at 1:14.17

General Classification:
1) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, in 18:21:52
2) Jens Voigt, Germany, CSC, at :21
3) Jason McCartney, USA, Discovery Channel, at :54
4) Bobby Julich, USA, CSC, at 1:06
5) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, CSC, at 1:20
6) Christian Vande Velde, USA, CSC, at 1:24
7) Michael Rogers, Australia, T-Mobile, at 1:34
8) Ben Day, Australia, Navigators, at 1:38
9) Franco Pellizotti, Italy, Liquigas, at 1:41
10) Ryder Hesjedal, Canada, Health Net, at 1:57

GrahamWatson.com | Stage 5 photo gallery

CyclingNews.com | Stage 5 ITT photo gallery

Ken Conley | Tour of California Stage 5 Flickr gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on February 23, 2007 in Christian Vande Velde, Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 22, 2007

California Cricket: Bettini takes ToC Stage 4

VeloNews | Bettini's stage win a great curtain-raiser for Friday's TT showdown

cyclingnews.com | Two world champs go one-two in SLO

Catching up from a couple of busy days, so these won't be news if you've been paying attention to the Tour of California.

On Thursday, Paolo Bettini got his first-ever win in the United States. He narrowly outsprinted world under-23 champion Gerald Ciolek of T-Mobile, with CSC's Juan José Haedo third.

Christophe Laurent of Credit Agricole joined a host of US continental riders for the day's primary breakaway, and therefore Laurent took over the lead in the king of the mountains competition. Also on board were Kirk O'Bee, Alejandro Acton, Aaron Olson Lucas Euser, Hilton Clarke, and Sean Sullivan. The peloton was content to let this group get away, and only Discovery Channel worked until very late in the stage, when Liquigas and Rabobank joined in to try and give their sprinters a chance. Finally, with 5 kilometers to ride and CSC driving the field, the break was captured.

Ciolek was first around the day's last corner, with Bettini on his wheel, but there was no denying the rainbow jersey, who took a photo finish that had the top three spread over about a wheel's width.

Bettini complimented T-Mobile's young German:

It was very hard for me to close that gap and the sprint was close by only a few centimeters. I was fortunate to have the power to come back to him today. He is very young and very fast and with experience he is going to be a very big rider."

Levi Leipheimer maintained the race lead, although Jens Voigt threatened to gap the field while setting up Haedo for the sprint.


GrahamWatson.com | Amgen Tour of California Stage 4

Amgen Tour, Stage 4: A Casey Gibson gallery

CyclingNews.com | Stage 4 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on February 22, 2007 in Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Bettini, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 21, 2007

Stage 3 to the old master: Jens Voigt leads the way

Voigt over the top

Jens at the top of Sierra Road
By Ken Conley.

It was a Tour de France style climb up Sierra Road today, and the cream of the field was first to the top.

A large break went away early, featuring CSC's Jens Voigt, Discovery Channel's Jason McCartney, three riders each from Liquigas and HealthNet-Maxxis, Steven Cozza and Will Frischkorn from Team Slipstream, Jelly Belly's Nick Reistad, QuickStep's Jurgen Van De Walle, and seven others. They got 5 minutes advantage on the field, and Discovery burned a lot of matches chasing.

Finally, Rabobank joined in, and the gap started to come down. Then came Sierra Road. The breakaway fell apart on the 10-kilometer climb, and Ivan Basso was the only Discovery Channel rider who could help team leader Levi Leipheimer, with Hincapie and Danielson falling off from the chase effort. Even Basso fell away shortly up the climb, leaving Leipheimer, Chris Horner, and Rabobank's Robert Gesink the strongest of the main field.

Voigt and McCartney were best of the break, but Leipheimer's group was sweeping through the break's remnants, closing fast. The five joined up a few kilometers from the summit.

Over the top, with 22 kilometers down into San Jose, Leipheimer led Voigt, Horner, Gesink, and McCartney. Fifteen riders were about a minute back, but Leipheimer and McCartney went all out to put some time into the field, and Voigt knew just how to play it.

Voigt saved himself for the last kilometers, and when the time came, he delivered. With Quick Step and Paolo Bettini reeling in the leaders, Voigt led Leipheimer, then Chris Horner over the line.

Voigt's bonus time moves him into 2nd overall, 3 seconds behind Leipheimer. Health Net's Rory Sutherland sits 3rd, at 15 seconds with Chris Horner 4th at 16 seconds back.

The day's Top 10:
1) Jens Voigt, Germany, Team CSC, 3:43:44
2) Levi Leipheimer, US, Discovery Channel, same time
3) Christopher Horner, US, Predictor-Lotto, s.t.
4) Robert Gesink, Netherlands, Rabobank, at :04
5) Paolo Bettini, Italy, Quick Step, s.t.
6) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, CSC, s.t.
7) Enrico Gasparotto, Italy, Liquigas, s.t.
8) Dimitri Fofonov, Kazakhstan, Credit Agricole, s.t.
9) Bram De Groot, Netherlands, Rabobank, s.t.
10) Sergey Lagutin, Uzbekistan, Navigators Insurance, s.t.

General classification:
1) Levi Leipheimer, US, Discovery Channel, 12:46:25
2) Jens Voigt, Germany, CSC, at :03
3) Rory Sutherland, Australia, Health Net-Maxxis, at :15
4) Chris Horner, USA, Predictor-Lotto, at :16
5) Mauricio Ardila Cano, Colombia, Rabobank, at :17
6) Ben Day, Australia, Navigators Insurance, at :18
7) Ryder Hesjedal, Canada, Health Net-Maxxis, at :19
8) Michael Rogers, Australia, T-Mobile, s.t.
9) Sergey Lagutin, Uzbekistan, Navigators Insurance, at :20
10) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, CSC, s.t.


CyclingNews.com | Tour of California Stage 3

VeloNews | Voigt wins stae, Levi leads in Amgen Tour

Posted by Frank Steele on February 21, 2007 in Chris Horner, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Bettini, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Adobe's California Tour Tracker: Amazing

Adobe Tour Tracker | 2007 Amgen Tour of California

I've been trying to follow the Tour of California through the race's official website, and its very pretty Tour Tracker, but I've been unable to get into it during the race most days. I've been making do with the usual race diet of text updates from CyclingNews.com and VeloNews, and meaning to get back in to check out the Tour Tracker.

I've gotten in before and after stages, and thought I therefore had an idea what the Tracker does, but I was woefully mistaken. I thought it was just another GPS and map interactive tracker, but with nicer graphics. It is so much more than that.

In fact, the Adobe Flex and Flash-based application also includes streaming live video, which, by default, displays at the full size of your browser window, with the translucent panels overlaid over the video but still active. Mark Shimahara of BikeZen.com is adding photos during stages, and including Flickr in the distribution. In the right sidebar, there's a scroll of the VeloNews live ticker.

It's not perfect: It seems likely that the app's load time and its unavailability during stages are related. There are reports of browser incompatibilities, and some of the information could be handled better: I would rather they use the “Tour Standings” panel for intermediate sprints and KoM points, especially since they're not keeping that updated (tonight it's still showing standings from before today's stage).

But that's complaining about pigeons on the Statue of Liberty: When it's working, this app combines the best of Cycling.TV, VeloNews, excellent cycling photography, and real-time race tracking all on one page. We should be so lucky during the Tour.

RIAPedia, a site tracking Flash and Flex-based rich internet applications, calls it the “absolute coolest, sexiest Flex application. Ever.”

Here's the Tour of California's announcement of the tracker.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 21, 2007 in Tour of California, Tour of California 2007, Tour Tech | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Slipstream's Frischkorn blogging Tour of California

Will Frischkorn | Toc Stage 2, Santa Rosa to Sacramento

Over at Missing Saddle, Will Frischkorn is blogging his Tour of California, checking in with a long recap of yesterday's stage.

His Team Slipstream, which had an amazing US Pro Championship ride as TIAA-CREF, has brought that momentum forward into 2007, and ride today with Jason Donald, 2nd in the General Classification, king of the mountains leader Thomas Peterson, and Taylor Tolleson and Peterson the top two in the young rider's competition.

As for Frischkorn, he had a front-row seat when Gerald Ciolek went down on Monday in Santa Rosa. His previous three posts show how narrowly he missed Ciolek's bike.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 21, 2007 in Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2007

California Stage 2 photo galleries

GrahamWatson.com | Tour of California Stage 2 photo gallery

CyclingNews.com | Tour of California Stage 2 photo gallery

PezCyclingNews | JJ Stomps to #3: Photo essay

Scott Lee's Sacramento gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on February 20, 2007 in Photo galleries, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Haedo takes first CSC win at California Stage 2

www.cyclingnews.com | Tour of California Stage 2: CSC delivers Haedo to third career Cali win

It sure helps to have Jens Voigt and Stuart O'Grady setting up your sprint. Juan José Haedo, newly signed by Team CSC, found that out today as he took the Sacramento sprint finish by a very healthy margin in front of Luca Paolini of Liquigas and Thor Hushovd of Credit Agricole.

Haedo, the Argentinian sprinter who won two Tour of California stages for Toyota-United last year, notched his first victory for Team CSC with a beautiful burst to pull clear of a premium field of sprinters.

A three-man break of Credit Agricole's Christophe Laurent, Colavita's Irish national champion David McCann, and Priority Health's Omer Kem got a five minute gap and absorbed many of the day's bonuses, but they were ultimately captured before the pack reached Sacramento.

Danny Pate jumped across and tried to solo in as the pack approached McCann and Laurent, but he later admitted it was a mistake:

"It was way too windy for one guy," Pate said at the finish. "I hadn't done that run in before, and I was hoping for some trees, or something, some kind of windbreak, but it didn't happen ... It was just an opportunity that I decided to take that didn't work out."

Your Top 11 (in deference to Freddie Rodriguez)
1) Juan José Haedo, Argentina, Team CSC, 4:40:39
2) Luca Paolini, Italy, Liquigas, same time
3) Thor Hushovd, Norway, Credit Agricole, s.t.
4) Allan Davis, Australia, Discovery Channel, s.t.
5) Gerald Ciolek, Germany, T-Mobile, s.t.
6) Graeme Brown, Australia, Rabobank, s.t.
7) Greg Henderson, New Zealand, T-Mobile, s.t.
8) Ivan Dominguez, Cuba, Toyota United Pro, s.t.
9) Hilton Clarke, Australia, Navigators Insurance, s.t.
10) Paolo Bettini, Italy, Quick Step, s.t.
11) Fred Rodriguez, US, Predictor-Lotto, s.t.

I'm going to skip the GC, since almost 30 riders sit within 15 seconds of Levi Leipheimer, who still leads the overall by more than a second over Slipstream's Jason Donald and 5 seconds over Ben Jacques-Maynes of Priority Health.


VeloNews | Haedo takes Stage 2, Leipheimer holds lead in Amgen Tour

Posted by Frank Steele on February 20, 2007 in Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The neutral that wasn't

VeloNews | Down but not out: Leipheimer leads Amgen Tour despite crash

CyclingNews | Rule Changes at the Tour of California

Davis, Brown, Henderson

Allan Davis, Graeme Brown, Greg Henderson
By Graham Watson (prints available)

So race officials at the Tour of California made a decision yesterday to neutralize the finishing circuits of Santa Rosa after a big crash caused a massive pileup, isolating a number of highly placed riders, including race leader Levi Leipheimer of Discovery Channel, and 2nd-placed Jason Donald of Team Slipstream. Ken Conley at Spare Cycles found himself right on top of the crash, and got some great pictures of the pileup and the finish.

Over the last decade or so, the UCI has established a neutral zone at the end of races. Initially, this was set at 1 kilometer to ride, specifically targeting the sport's fairly common final-sprint crashes. Each time a big crash has affected a race a little bit outside the current neutral zone distance, the sport has expanded it, first to 2 kilometers, then to 3 km, where it stands now. But yesterday's crash didn't happen at 3.2 kilometers to ride -- it was at nearly 10 kilometers, when some Bott's dots relocated a rider's wheel, causing a chain reaction in the field.

Chris at Podium Cafe offered up a satirical news story, calling it a “military-style assault” by Discovery Channel and adding by way of commentary:

Seriously. Neutralizing the race from 9km. It's just February, but this is not cool.

CyclingNews talked to the Chief Commissaire, Fabrizio Darnellio, who Kirsten Robbins reports initiated discussion of extending the neutral zone:

"Due to the size of the crash and the large number of riders that went down in the crash, our panel of commissaries made a decision to award all the riders with the time of the winner," Jim Birrell, race director said. "I think it was a fair decision and the right decision."

PodiumCafe reports that Allan Davis, Leipheimer's Discovery Channel teammate, would have assumed the race lead, barring the judge's decision, but at least one story at VeloNews suggested that Ben Jacques-Maynes had made the break and would have assumed race leadership, and the CyclingNews story confirms that. Jacques-Maynes and his DS at Priority Health took a fairly high road. Here's the rider:

"Thinking that I was going to be in the leader's jersey is an honour and a dream but that is counting chickens before the eggs hatch," Jacques Maynes said. "The commissaries ruling is sticking and we just have to live with that. We have a lot more racing and my team is motivated to keep going and to race our hearts out. I'm trying not to pay attention to all these details and get on with the job at hand."

Jacques Maynes adds, "I'm not in a position to question the commissaries and I just gave to live with it keep racing my bike. I'm paid to pedal and they are paid to make those decisions. It is hard to swallow that but that is what we have to do."

CN also reports that no protest was lodged. David Zabriskie's crash was apparently out on the road, before the race entered Santa Rosa. Head and wrist injuries forced him out of the race, but X-rays came up clear.

For me, I think the decision is counter to the traditions of bike racing. I've always been a fan of Leipheimer's, but it rubbed me the wrong way to hear him, in a post-race interview, talking about how he had come out and “defended the leader's jersey” in his hometown. I hope Discovery Channel didn't pull any strings to manipulate the finish.

Update: The New York Times weighs in, with quotes from Erik Breukink and Bjarne Riis. Also Leipheimer, who “said he did not hear complaints from fellow riders.”

Posted by Frank Steele on February 20, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 19, 2007

Graeme Brown takes Cali Stage 1

Rabobank's Graeme Brown led a down-under charge into Santa Rosa today, outsprinting New Zealand's Greg Henderson of T-Mobile and fellow Australian Allan Davis of Discovery Channel.

A crash in the field with about 6 miles to ride led to chaos in the lead group. Santa Rosa resident Levi Leipheimer, the race leader, and Team Slipstream's Jason Donald both were involved in the crash during a downtown circuit of Santa Rosa.

Leipheimer initially finished 35 seconds back of the stage winners, but judges decided to neutralize the finishing laps of Santa Rosa, and therefore the crash, which leaves him in the race lead.

Other team leaders may have been caught out behind the crash. CyclingNews reports that Dave Zabriskie was involved in the crash, and sent to the hospital; he apparently didn't finish the stage.

More as it comes in. Looks like the perfect place to plug the Vs. coverage at 10 Eastern.

CyclingNews.com | Tour of California Stage 1 live report

VeloNews.com | Tour of California Stage 1

Posted by Frank Steele on February 19, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tour of California Stage 1 underway

The usual sources have live coverage:

www.cyclingnews.com | live

VeloNews | 2007 Amgen Tour of California

The ballyhooed Tour Tracker from race organizers looks fantastic, but isn't working yet. It's supposed to be powered by the CSC GPS system discussed in last week's Wired News story.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 19, 2007 in Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2007

Flickr'ing the ToC prologue

So far, there are two sets of photos worth checking out at Flickr on today's Tour of California prologue: Leslie Veen's and David Schloss's.

My faves:

Paolo Bettini warms up, by Leslie Veen


CSC climb the hill, by David Schloss


Basso up close and personal

The Specialized Angel

Ken Conley checks in, with my favorites, I think, being this shot of Leipheimer passing a shreiking bright banner. and this one of Stuart O'Grady, suffering up Telegraph Hill.

Update Monday a.m.:

Graham Watson's prologue gallery

Casey Gibson checks in at VeloNews, and I would say he's got one shot where he outdoes the master.

CyclingNews.com | Prologue photo gallery

The Paceline (free subscription req.) | Three Sets of CA Prologue Pics

More from Flickr: Great shot of Hincapie showing the colors by 1115; Saul Raisin working the crowd, by on2wheelz (who has dozens of good shots); and just look at all of Ken Conley's pics (warmup set/race set): I especially love Jason Donald with the big burrito, the Angel, and this shot of Chris Baldwin.

Update to the update: Competitor.com has a nice gallery up, as does ProCyclingPress, a site I've never seen before.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 18, 2007 in Paolo Bettini, Photo galleries, Stuart O'Grady, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Leipheimer ekes out ToC prologue win

Jason Donald of Team Slipstream (formerly TIAA-CREF) shocked the field with a 4:50.497 on the course up to Coit Tower.

Donald was 7th to start the prologue, and as the riders got more and more established, nobody could top his early time. Discovery Channel's George Hincapie rode a 4:57 and change, US time trial champion Dave Zabriskie finished in 4:59.169, and even current world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara could manage only 4:55.098.

The last man to go was Levi Leipheimer, who won the inaugural Tour of California prologue last year, but in 4:53. Riding this year as the leader of Discovery Channel's squad, Leipheimer streaked through the course in 4:49.050, to take the first leader's jersey of the race. He'll wear it into his hometown, Santa Rosa, during tomorrow's stage.

1) Levi Leipheimer, US, Discovery Channel, 4:49.050
2) Jason Donald, US, Slipstream-Chipotle, + 1.447
3) Ben Jacques-Maynes, US, Priority Health-Bissel, +5.176
4) Rory Sutherland, Australia, Health Net-Maxxis, +5.649
5) Fabian Cancellara, Switzerland, Team CSC, +6.048
6) Adam Hansen, Australia, T-Mobile, +6.55
7) Mauricio Ardila, Colombia, Rabobank, +7.86
8) Hilton Clarke, Australia, Navigators, +7.91
9) George Hincapie, US, Discovery Channel, +8.19
10) Ben Day, Australia, Navigators, +8.25

Jason Donald, 2nd on the day, is a climbing specialist out of Colorado, and had Phil Liggett doubting the race timekeepers during the broadcast. His 2 previous wins were a stage at the Tour of the Gila and the Colorado state criterium championship.

Priority Health-Bissel's Ben Jacques-Maynes rounds out the podium.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 18, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

Tour of California rosters released

Amgen Tour of California | 2007 Rider Roster Announced

I am going to hate missing the Tour of California. With the obvious exception of Floyd Landis, fans will get to see pretty much every American racing in the ProTour, and many of the world's best riders will be racing in the US for the first time.

The race, kicking off Sunday, will feature the winners of 4 stages and the prologue of the 2006 Tour de France: Thor Hushovd, who took the prologue and Stage 21, CSC's Jens Voigt, Stage 13, Michael (Spider) Rasmussen, who dominated the Alpine climbs and won Stage 16 and the king of the mountains, and Matteo Tosatto, who won Stage 18.

You want Americans? They got 'em: George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, and Jason McCartney from Discovery Channel; Dave Zabriskie, Bobby Julich, and Christian Vandevelde from Team CSC; Freddie Rodriguez and Chris Horner from Predictor-Lotto; Aaron Olson, now with T-Mobile; and of course the US-based Pro Continental and Continental teams, mostly populated by US riders.

You want ProTour royalty? They got 'em: World champion Paolo Bettini, world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara, reigning Giro champion Ivan Basso, and former world TT champion Michael Rogers.

There are also lots of old faces on new teams, as with Michael Barry, Greg Henderson and Jakob Piil, all now with T-Mobile, Juan-José Haedo, dominant in US sprints last year, and now racing for CSC, and Henk Vogels, now racing for the Continental Toyota-United squad.

Also, injured Credit Agricole rider Saul Raisin, whose recovery continues, plans to ride each stage noncompetitively and visit with fans at the start and finish. He's also promoting a ride March 31st in Dalton, Ga. called Raisin Hope.

Should be a heck of a race.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 14, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Igor Astarloa, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Saul Raisin, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007

Vs. will offer same-day Tour of California coverage

Versus | Amgen Tour of California

Versus, formerly Outdoor Life Network, will be offering same-day coverage of the Amgen Tour of California, kicking off this Sunday.

The network will typically air stage coverage at 10 or 11 p.m. Weekend stages will run for two hours, from 5-7 p.m., with an hour-long rerun at midnight Eastern.

Coverage will feature the network's usual cycling commentators, Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, and Bob Roll.

Tour of California website

Posted by Frank Steele on February 12, 2007 in Television, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SF Chron offers in-depth Leipheimer profile

sfgate.com | TOUR WATCH / The Consummate Detail Guy


Dorsey Kindler offers up a terrific profile of Levi Leipheimer with a week until the Tour of California kicks off in San Francisco.

The article spends a lot of time on Leipheimer's support system, wife and former pro rider Odessa Gunn.

It seems like a make-or-break year for Leipheimer, at 33. He won the Dauphiné Libéré last year, and was, in my opinion, the strongest man at the US national championships in Greenville. He rode instead for teammate-to-be George Hincapie, with an eye toward Hincapie paying him back this season, only to see the team sign defending Giro champion Ivan Basso in November. He's got a string of Top 10s at the Tour de France, without ever making it onto the podium. If he's going to win a GT, this needs to be the year.


Photo Gallery


Other Tour of California content:

Sacramento Bee | Popularity of U.S. bike racing at a crossroads

Davis Enterprise | 11 minutes of heaven: Organizers preparing for Feb. 20 when Amgen Tour rolls through city of Davis

Posted by Frank Steele on February 12, 2007 in Levi Leipheimer, Rider profiles, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 07, 2006

Tour of California '07 route unveiled

VeloNews | 2007 Amgen Tour: Tougher, but no leg-breaker

Coit Tower is the finish for the PrologueThe route for the 2007 Amgen Tour of California was unveiled Wednesday. The eight stages run from February 18-25th, 2007.

San Francisco, Sausalito, Santa Rosa, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara are again host cities for starts or finishes, and Sacramento, Stockton, Seaside, Solvang, Santa Clarita, and Long Beach (that's right, only one host city that doesn't begin with “s”) host for the first time during the 2nd annual run of the first big stage race of the season in the United States.

Sixteen teams will take the start, including a number of ProTour teams. Already committed are Discovery Channel, Team CSC, and Predictor-Lotto (formerly Davitamon-Lotto). Participating riders won't be announced until race time approaches, but one rider who looks unlikely to participate is 2006 Tour of California champion Floyd Landis, who is defending himself against doping charges as a result of a doping test after Stage 17 of the Tour de France.

Versus (formerly the Outdoor Life Network) will televise 14 hours of race coverage.

Race director Jim Birrell:

“Last year, the design of the courses were challenging enough to complement where riders were in their training schedules. What we learned is that we put the time trial too early into the Tour. We found out that our overall winner was determined in mid-week. One of things you see in 2007 is that not only have we moved the time trial from Wednesday to Friday, but we've shortened it. One of our overall goals is to see that the overall leader's jersey changes daily so that the storyline is always compelling.”
  • Prologue: San Francisco - essentially a repeat of last year's 1.9-mile prologue along the Embarcadero, then up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower.
  • Stage 1: Sausalito to Santa Rosa - Almost 100 miles, encompassing Mt. Tamalpais State Park, and the climb of Coleman Valley Road, then finishing with three laps of Santa Rosa.
  • Stage 2: Santa Rosa to Sacramento - Santa Rosa is the only city to host a finish and a start. Passes through Davis before 3 laps in Sacramento, finishing at the State Capitol.
  • Stage 3: Stockton to San Jose - Farm day, passing through Livermore, and including the toughest single climb, up Sierra Road in San Jose. It's 94.6 miles in all.
  • Stage 4: Seaside to San Luis Obispo - Featuring oceanside Highway 1, the longest stage of the race goes more then 130 miles with three King of the Mountain primes. Passing Hearst Castle, finishing at Osos and Monterey in San Luis Obispo.
  • Stage 5 ITT: Solvang - Solvang hosts one of the biggest centuries in the U.S. The riders only have to cover 14.5 miles, with the start and finish two blocks apart. Last year's ITT was hillier, longer, and earlier, running on Stage 3.
  • Stage 6: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita - 105 miles, 4 KOM climbs, 2 sprint lines. Start near the beach in Santa Barbara, through Ojai, Santa Paula, the Balcom Canyon that was a fan favorite last year, and 3 circuits in Santa Clarita.
  • Stage 7: Long Beach Circuit Race - Covering part of the course of the Long Beach Grand Prix, 10 laps of 7.8 miles for a 78-mile day.


Tour of California | AEG Announces Details of 650-Mile Route | Stages

Sacramento Bee | Cyclists coming to town

Posted by Frank Steele on December 7, 2006 in Top Stories, Tour of California | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2006

Haedo joins CSC

Eurosport | CSC sign sprinter Haedo

Juan José Haedo
Originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

Bjarne Riis announced the signing of Argentina's Juan José Haedo, who had won stages in America's biggest races while racing for Toyota-United.

Haedo joins CSC, giving them the finishing kick they seemingly have lacked the last few seasons.

Said Haedo:

"I'm the first ever Argentinean rider to be given a chance at this level and the fact that Team CSC has chosen me gives me a tremendous confidence boost," added Haedo.

Haedo took 2 wins at the 2006 Tour of California, and the final stage of the 2006 Tour of Georgia.

Posted by Frank Steele on November 17, 2006 in Tour de Georgia, Tour of California | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2006

2007 Tour of California route announced

Amgen Tour of California | AEG Announces Host Cities for 2007

The Amgen Tour of California will once again kick off the high-level pro season in the United States next year, running from February 18th-25th from San Francisco down to Long Beach.

    Here's the stage list:

  • Prologue: Sunday, Feb. 18 - San Francisco

  • Stage 1: Monday, Feb. 19 - Sausalito to Santa Rosa

  • Stage 2: Tuesday, Feb. 20 - Santa Rosa to Sacramento

  • Stage 3: Wednesday, Feb. 21 - Stockton to San Jose

  • Stage 4: Thursday, Feb. 22 - Seaside to San Luis Obispo

  • Stage 5: Friday, Feb. 23 - Solvang time trial

  • Stage 6: Saturday, Feb. 24 - Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita

  • Stage 7: Sunday, Feb. 25 - Long Beach circuit race

Floyd Landis won this year's inaugural race. Coincidentally, two great shots of today's stage winner, Floyd Landis, at this year's Tour of California were reposted at Flickr today:

Floyd Landis - (insert superlative), (desktop size available) by whileseated.

Floyd Landis, badass, by bigempty.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2006 in Tour of California | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 15, 2006

Team CSC bringing Tour heavyweights to Tour of California

Team CSC | CSC Announces Tour of California Riders

Team CSC has announced the Tour of California squad, and it's loaded with Tour de France veterans, including 2 of last year's yellow jersey wearers.

New CSC riders Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, and Karsten Kroon join Americans Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, and Dave Zabriskie. Rounding out the eight-man squad are Jens Voigt and Lars Bak.

Voigt and Zabriskie both held the yellow jersey during last year's Tour, the only riders not named Armstrong to spend time in the maillot jaune.

“I'm sending a very motivated group of riders who can win the Tour of California,” said Bjarne Riis, owner and manager of Team CSC. “And since the race finishes in Southern California, near the headquarters of CSC, our title sponsor, it's a race we'd clearly love to win.”

The first Tour of California kicks off Sunday with a prologue in San Francisco.

Posted by Frank Steele on February 15, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour of California | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

Tour of California route, teams announced

Amgen Tour of California | Route Details

Amgen Tour of California | Confirmed Teams

So I'm going to miss the Tour of California next month, but it's looking to be a big race. The final team roster is out, and it's mostly the same as last year's Tour de Georgia, but with Davitamon-Lotto and T-Mobile added to the Euro squads.

The Tour of California looks like it should be TV and spectator friendly, highlighted by a 3-km Sunday prologue in San Francisco, from the Ferry Building to Coit Tower, and weekend stages around LA, including a beachfront finish on Friday, Feb. 24, and a finishing circuit race over a 12.2-km circuit in Redondo Beach.

Covering 600 miles in all, the race has a UCI 2.1 rating.

Three of the teams are having training camps in Solvang.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 18, 2006 in Top Stories, Tour of California | Permalink | Comments (2)