Tour of California: Three Stages Done!

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I haven’t posted much on the Tour of California this week, even though I’ve been following the progress the past few days. It seems like it’s been a challenging and demanding race thus far, and not just because of the course. Cool, wet weather, has made for long days on the bike, with Lance Armstrong saying “Holy hell. That was terrible. Maybe one of the toughest days I’ve had on a bike, purely based on the conditions” when describing Sunday’s Stage 1 ride. It’s days like those that must make him wonder why he came out of retirement.

As of today, Armstrong’s teammate on Astana Levi Leipheimer is the overall leader, and is reportedly riding very strong, despite bumping tired with Lance today and going down. Leipheimer was unhurt however, and quickly rejoined his teammates. Lance had an accident of his own on the second stage, and also quickly recovered. The wet conditions are no doubt a big reason for some of these accidents.

The second place rider is currently Michael Rogers of Team Columbia and David Zabriskie of the Garmen-Slipstream Team is riding in third. Lance himself is holding down the fourth spot, with Astana teammate Christopher Hor is in fifth. Floyd Landis, making his return to professional riding following a two year ban, is making a strong showing for himself in 29th place, riding for Team OUCH.

Tomorrow’s Stage 4 will run from Merced to Clovis over a 105 mile (167km) course. The stage will begin and end with long flat sections, but the middle of the stage will have several climbs. The big question will be what impact the weather will have. At this point, the riders would love to have a warm, dry day.

The Tour of California will continue through Sunday, with a time trial scheduled for Friday. No word on if Armstrong has replaced his $10,000 TT bike that was stolen on Sunday, but my guess is Trek managed to find him another one. 😉

Kraig Becker

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