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Tour of California Previews

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Sure, I have some hunches, but for now let's leave it to the pros:

  • Up first, CyclingNews.com's preview, as well as a complete start list. Looks like they're offering live coverage to boot.
  • Not to be outdone, the hometown media at VeloNews.com go stage by stage in their examination of the race.
  • The ToC website has posted the TV schedule, and it's what we saw earlier, namely nightly recaps in the wee hours on ESPN2, 10 or 11pm Pacific. So, for you east coasters, taping not only allows you a decent night's sleep, but when you watch it the next day you can fast forward through the endless ads for celebrity poker and "fitness made simple," whatever that is.
  • Oh, and the ToC's stage maps and diagrams are pretty flash.
And a few notes...
  • There's no #1 -- is this CSC being democratic, or some tradition when there's no defending champion?
  • If numbers are to be believed, however, then the featured riders include Saul Raisin at CreditAgricole, Chris Baldwin at Toyota-United Pro, Gord Fraser at Health Net-Maxxis, Danny Pate at TIAA-Cref, il Falco for Discovery, Mick Rogers for T-Mobile, and more predictables like Landis, Cadel Evans, Leipheimer, Simoni, and (in theory) Julich.
  • CW is that the race will be decided in Wednesday's climb-heavy time trial. Do Zabriskie's TT skills translate into the vertical slopes? If not, look for the big GC names, and maybe some motivated domestic pros, to move to the fore.