Favorite ToM rider: Justin England


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Justin England has been my favorite rider this Tour. He's like Dave Zabriskie, except completely unshy. England was the first rider to start at the Branson time trial, and he got the crowd completely jazzed up by hamming it up with facial expressions and asking the crowd to cheer louder.

Today's start was a similar experience. School kids assigned to cheer on Toyota United showed up at the team bus. England was the first off the bus and immediately had the kids squealing as he shouted, "I can't hear you!" England and Chris Wheery worked their way through the excited kids, signing dozens of autographs. England later hammed it up in the high-five line as he approached the start -- he was the only rider I saw criss-cross the starting area to make sure he gave high-fives to kids waiting on both sides.

The kids had no idea who the cyclists were. They don't know who Levi Leipheimer is. They were just happy that people were rewarding their efforts to show support. It was great to see that riders like England -- and his team Toyota United -- recognized this, unlike, say, some more famous teams.

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