Wahoo! Our fourth consecutive annual ATOC visit, and our third prologue. :)
Our absolutely favorite way to see the ATOC prologue is to get there really early, walk around the buses, see the riders pre-ride the course, and then install ourselves up against the fence right *behind* the start ramp, and stay there for the rest of the event.
More plus PICTURES on the flip!!
We took the first Amtrak up to Sac, arriving in town at about 9:20am. Cold and windy!
We scoped out the layout. Grrr, fans could only get to one side of the ramp area -- and that put the riders' backs to us when they were sitting in the staging area chairs.
We checked out the buses getting set up, and went through the festival booths.
Here are the motos:
Rabobank's new TT rig:
Happy <3 Day from TeamType1:
The Jens!mobile!!!! (Yes, I was that close.)
By about 11am, we snagged our spot at the fence, where we'd stay for almost five hours. Good thing we got the spot early -- the crowd grew to many, many people deep behind us!
The whole Astana crew rolled through shortly after 11am. Levi was at the front of the bunch. Chechu was riding caboose. I shouted out "Chechu!" as he passed, and he turned around with a smile & a nod. :)
When Bobby brought Jens!'s bike up to get measured against the UCI jig. I shouted out, "Hey Bobby! How'd you get Jens! off of his bike?" Bobby replied "I had to kick him off!"
Stéphane Goubert was chillin' behind the ramp with John Gadret, just right in front of us. I tossed out a "Bon courage, Stéphane!" and he replied with a "merci." :)
This cat wants to be Vaughters when he grows up:
That guy with the hip trouble, and, you know, no other problems:
Did I mention the crowds?
Another, er, "comeback kid":
Loving Ivan's pretty-good-English tweets. ;)
Tyler Hamilton and Patrick Dempsey:
Ivan and Carlos!
Fast Freddie! We saw him on the road in Berkeley a couple of weeks ago. :)
The Liquigas soigneuse gave Emily Vincenzo Nibali's water bottle!!!! How cool is that???
Are those Slippy soigneuse's shoes up to code??
Popo -- hope you have a better year in 2009!
The other Tyler!!
Ok, and similar pix of Tommeke, Big George, Gesink, Thor... I won't bore you. ;)
Here are people craning their necks to watch Lance, who set up on a trainer inside the pit area! He & Levi were the only riders to do this. (Oooh, that's me in the ToC beanie, chopped off on the right of the photo!)
Thor cooling down post-ride:
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Ok, sbnation is giving me errors... maybe too many images. ;) Time to post!!!