Summer has arrived in the Pacific Northwest and I’m outside on my porch enjoying the warmth with,,,what is this? I nice California rose! So yummy! Hold on while I get another glass. Or two.
Okay back again. Hold it...(takes something several times more than a sip)...okay. Where was I? Oh yeah, the Tour of California. I noticed none of the other Eds have posted on this race so let me throw up a rogue post.
What’s this race about?
Its actually quite interesting this year. I’m just gonna link to the stage profiles here but if you are too damn lazy to click on the linky (and I totally understand if you are) I can describe them real fast:
- Three pan flat sprints with the best sprinting field outside of the Tour this year. Those are the 1st (Sunday), 5th ( Thursday) and 7th (Saturday).
- Two serious mountain stages, up from the normal one: the 2nd (Monday) and 6th (Friday).
- The usual TT (about 34km) that will have a lot to do with the outcome of the GC battle. That’s in San Jose, is mostly flat though with a lot of false flat in it, and is on Wednesday.
- Then a Classics kinda stage, one that is a harder version of the fun stage in 2016 that ended in a serious battle between Sagan, Van Avermaet and Hass that ended at the Laguna Seca racecourse outside of Monterey. (Sagan won.) That’s Tuesday.
Who’s here? Why should I be interested?
We got 13 of the 18 world tour teams present with the usual assortment of American Pro Conty and Conty teams. I always wonder why teams come here and I always think its because there’s much damn money in California and a lot of that money likes to try and keep in shape so the teams are here to lure some of that money their way. Hey it works! Someone like Inner
Spring should do a piece on that.
And this time the teams have brought some serious firepower especially in the sprinter category but also some decent B class GC guys:
- Sprinters. Marcel Kittel. Peter Sagan. Mark Cavendish. Alexander Kristoff. Caleb Ewan. Fernando Gaviria. Max Walschied. Dan McClay (Hi Andrew!). And since this is in the US we are talking w i d e boulevards for the finishing straights for people to maneuver in. And remember what I said above: pan flat. No stupid hills to get in the way and the first stage is just 134km long around the streets of Long Beach and theater two are just 176km and 146km respectively. No 240km slogs here!
- As for the GC race the fave has to be Bernal what with the way he’s started the year. His main competition on the climbs look to be Majka 2nd last year), Adam Right Yates, DF Martinez, and Peter Stetina. Less climby but-could-kill-the-TT to make up the difference are Bookwalter and Tejay. Other GC types are Durasek and Frank. Ian Boswell is here too but he will probably be Plan B for Sky, meaning he will be on donkey duty. Laurens De Plus is here and I’ll be very interested to see his form. Of the local teams Rob Britton is here.he won Utah last year, Gila this year and he has a decent TT. Expect hm to infiltrate the top...5? maybe?
- But the most fun stage is maybe that Laguna Seca stage with its two small tough power climbs right at the end. (you can see the profile up abo...oh what am I doing expecting people to scroll up for a link? Just watch.
Okay thats it. If you are in Yrop watch this in the evening. Americans north and south- tape it to watch in the evening. Aussies-I have no idea what time of day this will be happing in for you. Good luck.