Seeing as how we have this big time race going on in Utah right now, I’ve done my best to watch as much of it as I can, including Tuesday’s prologue*, the finish of Wednesday’s stage one (which were both conveniently in downtown SLC near my office), then yesterday I took the day off to ride part of stage two ahead of the race with teammates Lance and Pete. We met Adam and Aaron, who came up the other side, at the top of Mt. Nebo to watch the racers come through.
*I spotted Matt B. at the prologue, four days clear of his surgery. What a stud—totally committed to putting cancer behind him and getting on with life.
Differing perspectives on the stage were offered by Levi Leipheimer, who mused—I hope sarcastically since the climb had a max grade of 14.5%—to Burke Swindlehurst that “I thought you said there were some steep sections.”
On the other hand, Sam Krieg, one of the best racers in Idaho, racing on the Cole Sport amateur team, commented “That was the most painful three and a half hours of my life. Why do people even do this stuff?”
I was just riding, not racing, up the climb. And I’ll side with Krieg on that one. Either way, it was fun to watch.
Below are some photos of the action so far.
Big George, leaving the start house at the prologue.
Stage winner Taylor Phinney, approaching the finish line.
Levi Leipheimer, about to finish.
Last year’s GC winner, Francisco Mancebo.
Phinney on the podium after the prologue.
I didn’t get any pictures from stage one, but here are some from the stage two mountaintop finish at Mt. Nebo.
Levi, soloing to victory.
Mancebo and Ian Boswell, 2nd and 3rd on the day.
Local hero Burke Swindlehurst follows Alex Hagman to the line.
Junkie kids with their thundersticks.
Some very fast guys from Idaho: Applequist, Krieg, and Diaz.
Alex Dowsett (in yellow), with Ben King and Andrei Krasilnikay.
The Bearded Lady was out again and got the attention of more than one racer (check out the gawker from Trek Livestrong—sure looks like Taylor Phinney to me).
Last group to make the time cut, including gold medalist Billy Demong.
Levi on the podium after donning GC leader’s yellow jersey.
All the jerseys together, almost: Boswell (young rider); Leipheimer (GC); Lill (Utah Rider); Tanner (Sprinter). Mancebo, the KOM leader, grabbed his jersey and disappeared.
As cool as it was to watch the mountaintop finish, we were sad to learn that George Hincapie crashed and withdrew from the race. No broken bones, just 18 stitches in his knee. Hopefully Big George is healed and ready for another run at the US Pro championships next month.
Looking forward to taking in more action between now and Sunday, when the race literally passes through my neighborhood before finishing at Snowbird.