Personal Tour of California coverage concludes

I feel lucky that I was able to see three Tour of California stages in person. President's Day bought some additional flexibility in rearranging my work schedule, but three appears to the be the max it will give. I was surprised by the big crowds even on the weekday stages, which bodes well for future Tours. The most rewarding day was definitely riding with the biker's pilgrammage up Sierra Road, cheering with the crowds as Levi broke the race apart, zooming down the hill at 30-40mph on my bike, watching riders pass by again at the bottom of the hill, and then careening in a car over to downtown San Jose to watch the podium presentation. Time trials are great for photography, but strategy, attacking, and big climbs are why I love cycling and there's nothing like being able to experience the pain of ascending and thrill of descending in person.

The reward of Sierra road is paralleled by my disappointment in ESPN2. I finally had the chance to watch the Stage 2 coverage and saw a race removed of its heart. If I was an ESPN director and looked at the stage 2 profile, saw a really big hill at the end, a hill considered one of the decisive factors in the entire Tour, I think I would show riders going over that hill. There are no screenshots of me on TV, because there was no coverage from the top of the climb. If you were watching on TV, what you saw was:

  1. Michael Creed's being caught halfway up Sierra Road
  2. Commercial break
  3. Levi/Landis/Kohl descending from the mountain, with a quick explanation that the entire peloton broke apart

I know that they have footage from the top because, in addition to the six helicopters I saw hovering over my head filming it all, there was a split-second clip of Levi and Kohl at the top in the ending montage. I hope there is a DVD of this someday, otherwise a lot of cycling fans missed a great attack by Levi. I also hope there will be a DVD because I am not very confident that ESPN2 will do the remaining stages justice and I might find myself reading the VeloNews and CyclingNews live update feeds rather than trying to watch poorly produced video programming.

I'll keep updating here with stage summaries culled from the various sources I can find. Technorati wasn't pointing me to any other Tour of California blogs, but I just found out about Sharkspage, which has some great photos from the stages so far and is doing a good job of finding some of the ToC out on the Web. Flickr has also recorded 2273 photos tagged 'tourofcalifornia' so far, including great ones by bigempty and mnorri. Finally, there's always VeloNews, CyclingNews, and the Official Amgen Tour of California Site, all guaranteed to be of higher quality than ESPN2 coverage.

related articles: Tour of California 2006
tags: (126)

Post a comment