Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stage 1

Close to finish-laps in city
On the road

Just a quick update on yesterdays race. It was a 119 km road race. The weather was perfect. The races don't start until about 3 p.m. which seems so late after all of the mornings we have been up before the sun in the U.S.
The U.S. was defending the yellow jersey, won by Leibovitz the day before in the time trial. I am really beginning to understand that in a Stage race, the race is won in the time trial. Each second counts toward your overall score and so your ranking at time trial can make or break it when the GC is calculated. The racing is fast and hard. There were around 200 in the field. Dave and I made 1 stop to wait for the team to go by and then waited at the finish. Connor was holding his own. A good long road race is his thing! He positions himself well and is always close to the front but not doing all of the work. When the racers enter the destination city, they circle around (crit like) for 6 laps or so. Nathan Brown from the U.S. was leading a break off group that carried a 36 second lead on the pack, that is until the last lap. (Connor in the front of the second pack along with some of his team so I am assuming that their job was to block. ) Then of course things change. The U.S. did not win the road race but by virtue of GC time, should have kept the yellow jersey. However, the host city messed up and the boy winning this stage was awarded the yellow jersey. Ben Sharp's(USA Cycling) last twitter post said that a mistake was made and we do indeed keep the yellow jersey by 8 seconds. Too bad that the podium experience wasn't realized; cute podium girl, nice flowers, great photos. Oh well. Today's race is again at 3 p.m. and this one is 130 km. The boys were good and tired after yesterday's race, and boy were they dirty from riding all of these farm roads. I am glad I didn't have to clean the shower after that crew cleaned up and I am feeling sorry for whoever cleans their bikes? I am not sure but they do have a mechanic and a masseuse, and someone who hands them their jackets the minute the race is over, so maybe someone cleans their bikes? I am making this sound like a muddy cycle cross race but it wasn't that at all. It was fun to watch, oh my goodness what a scene. It was like a mini Tour de France, it was a car parade. Motorcycles (many of them) headed the race out along with the race car. There was an official course consultant car, there were scores of team cars that raced along with the riders. That seems like an accident waiting to happen! The team cars moved fast sometimes right along side a rider. The U.S. boys all performed well and from what I could see, they performed well as a team. If we seem short on details it is because we don't really talk to Connor. We are just mice in the corner, staying away and letting him live this experience with his team. We don't speak the language and so don't always know exactly what is going on until we can see it with our own eyes. Anyway, we are off to Stage 2, hope this post made sense. Go USA!

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