Back to racing...
- Ale-Jet is still having a bad time in Portugal, losing today to Bernhard Eisel (the key sprinter for Va Fa Napoli, even if the VDS hasn't started yet), and then insinuating that Robbie Hunter is a dangerous lunatic. Gert Steegmans leads Eisel by three seconds on GC.
- Stage winner Oscar Freire was awarded a two-second gap over the field on the final day of the Ruta del Sol. Coincidentally, this two seconds was just enough to reverse his one-second gap to Dario Cioni on GC, giving Freire a deserved overall victory to go with his pair of stage wins. Rabobank is having a heck of a week.
- Back to California... yesterday's stage was exciting in real time, but delivered two other messages: first, that this race will be decided by time trials. Not my preference, mind you, but in February I guess that's how things go. And secondly, that the Versus coverage is a terrible substitute for watching the race. The excitement of wondering whether the peloton could catch a strong 17-rider break was completely edited out; all we saw were the two big climbs and the final km. Anyone relying on the "Cyclysm" to carry them through 2007 hasn't spent enough time on Cycling.tv. As for Stage 3, check out Pez's Sierra Road recon.
- Stage 4 is a coastal ride to San Luis Obispo, the postcard stage of the race, won last year in a sprint by JJ Haedo (who else?). So expect some lovely video, some escape attempts, and no change in GC.
- Plenty of other tidbits out there, like the rumor that Cofidis and FDJeux are bowing out of the sport soon, over at the Pez Eurotrash Thursday roundup.