Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tour of California stage 8

Our campsite is about 1.5 miles from the Tour, a very short climb on our clunker bikes. We left just after breakfast, too excited to wait.
We set ourselves up in a likely spot well before race start time. We knew it would be almost an hour before the peloton got to this point on the course, but we didn't care. We just had to get out there!

It was entertaining to see the many local club riders going by, challenging themselves on the same roads as the pros. We cheered them on and joked with them. A little crowd began to build on our curve, and we chatted and shared stories. A few of them came from where I grew up.

As the time drew near some of the team cars were out front, heading to the feed station. Then more and more police. Finally, the race official cars and we knew the riders were just around the bend.

A small breakaway was out front by 30 seconds, but no one in it who threatened the overall lead.

Close behind, Astana lead the peloton with determination to protect Leipheimer and his lead. Sure enough, working hard at the front was Armstong! The facial expression showed the effort and determination of each rider. The whole field was by us so quickly we only had time to snap a few photos.

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