kwc.org Photos Spare Cycles MythBusters

Crazy crash

Levi on the ground

On a whim I decided to drive up to Santa Rosa to see stage 1 of the Tour of California. I normally ignore the sprint stages, but I figured with President's Day and all it would be worth a new experience. The Santa Rosa stage also has three laps on the finishing circuit, so there would be multiple chances to snap photos.

There were tons of people in Santa Rosa and I couldn't get a good spot near the finish line. I managed to convince someone to let me squeeze in but a half an hour later the media folk started setting up right in front of us, blocking our best views. I couldn't get good sightlines down the straightaway, which meant that the autofocus and metering on a lot of my photos were blown. It didn't really matter, either, because there were so many of the thin yellow thundersticks being waved around that half of my photos feature them instead. As it turned out, it really didn't matter what was going on towards the finish line.

After the riders passed on at the start of the penultimate lap, there was a loud popping noise. I turned around and saw bike after bike piling up. There were riders yelling at each other in anger, others were lazily getting up, and others seemed to be figuring out what damage they suffered. All the while, the forty riders who weren't involved in the crash raced away. It wasn't even until a couple of minutes later that I realized that Levi Leipheimer, who's in the overall lead, was involved in the crash. The race lost all organization after that. The announcers didn't know what was going on, the finish had to be reviewed on tape to see who won, the judges belatedly decided to neutralize the finish (award everyone the same time), and one of the riders failed to show up for the award's ceremony.

The photo above is my favorite from the day because it summarizes so much of the chaos. Off in the distance, the riders racing away. In the foreground, riders still piling up on top of one another. In the center, Levi Leipheimer. The Liquigas rider is kicking someone in the head and on the side of #118's right leg: a face (you have to view the full size to see it).

Comments (1)

meta:

ha! I just saw that crash in the newspaper on my way to get coffee, and I wondered if you had seen it. bonus: your picture is nearly as good as the one on the front page of the LA Times. (At least, I think it was the LA Times.) They just happened to have a better vantage point.

Post a comment


tags.

related entries.

what is this?

This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on February 20, 2007 12:07 AM.

The previous post was Team Uni branching out.

The next post is Sierra Road.

Current entries can be found on the main page.