Tour of California

02.20.2008 | 6:41 pm

I’m feeling all guilty for not caring about this big pro stage race here on U.S. soil. So could someone please tell me who I should be rooting for at the Tour of California and why?

Otherwise, I’m likely to continue forgetting to care.


  1. Comment by JohnO | 02.20.2008 | 7:00 pm

    (deep breath) Team Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H3O (gasp for air) is my new team to support. (Or, as Phil and Paul once put it, “Chipsteam Slipotle”.)

    They race clean, they punch above their weight class, they wear argyle, and they’ve got the longest freaking team name in cycling. What’s not to like?

    On the other hand, how can you not like George Hincapie? It’s like watching Star Wars and not liking Chewbacca. Come on! It’s Chewbacca!

  2. Comment by Vince | 02.20.2008 | 7:02 pm

    LOL…Yeah, Chewbacca.

  3. Comment by cheapie | 02.20.2008 | 7:04 pm

    def slipstream. NOT astana even though they have poor levi on it.

    and rock racing’s commercials are semi-cool.

  4. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 02.20.2008 | 7:05 pm

    I’d like to suggest Cipollini. He’s our age. Plus he obviously got the extra helping while you and I were holding the door when God was handing out the hair.

  5. Comment by rich | 02.20.2008 | 7:10 pm

    I can’t help it…I love it. I know all the drama about doping and politics and the crap that goes with the pro-cycling scene…but it’s in my backyard fer cryin out loud.
    I love seeing the pros ride some of the same roads I’ve ridden….at a MUCH faster pace of course

  6. Comment by graisseux | 02.20.2008 | 7:10 pm

    That’s funny because I was just looking around on Velonews and Cyclingnews and starting to get excited for this year’s racing season. You’ve kinda killed my buzz a little now.

    I’m happy to see Slipstream’s riders showing really well so far. That’s something you can maybe back, right? For some reason the fact that they’re sponsored by Chipotle is way cooler to me than the whole fight against doping thing. How ’bout Chris Horner? He’s a nice guy–and bald. For some reason I can’t get myself excited about Levi Leipheimer; there’s just something about him.

    The Tour of Utah is back this year. You could watch the Tour of California while daydreaming that the Tour of Utah will one day invite the top Pro Tour teams.

  7. Comment by Mike | 02.20.2008 | 7:10 pm

    Interestingly, I’m finding it quite interesting. This is the first time I’ve ever watch professional cycling on tv (though I’ve seen lots of clips on youtube) and I find myself in your same delima–Who do I pull for?

    I find myself loving to hate Rock Racing and who can argue w/ a team from Kahzakastan (Go Borat!). The science behind Slipstream’s bio-profiling is interesting (though I have some personal issues with it) but clearly the announcers want me to root for Levi.

    Question to all you readers: How did *you* pick “your team”?

  8. Comment by maxrad | 02.20.2008 | 7:17 pm

    For all the same reasons love you professional road racing in general, of course. Which is to say, for all the same reasons you love Professional Wresting: bigger-than-life characters, nonsensical plot lines,pyschotic behavior both in and out of competition, and enough ergonenic drugs to alter the outcome of King George’s next war. I mean, Dude, what’s not to like?

    And as to why you should get all specifically hot and bothered about the Tour of California, it’s is because it’s like, Dude, the WWE is in town this week!

    Plus Cipo’s Har Gel budget is worth more than both our salaries. Combined.

  9. Comment by HighRoadJeff | 02.20.2008 | 7:21 pm

    I’ve been having this same issue! First, I like watching pro cycling, even with all the doping drama, but then put them in my own backyard and I can’ help but love it! I’m actually going to the time trials in Solvang on Friday (sporting my Fat Cyclist tee) and the Santa Clarita finish on Saturday. I find myself wanting rooting for High Road, only because I like Chewbaca…er, I mean…Hincapie and they are based in San Luis Obispo, CA. For me, even though I eat at least one Chipotle burrito each week (mmmmmm!), I have a hard time rooting for Slipstream. They are the darling of the cycling world right now, like the Patriots of the NFL, and I hate the Patsies.

  10. Comment by Jeremy | 02.20.2008 | 7:30 pm

    I am rooting for Lance. I haven’t caught up with my TiVo stuff, so nobody tell me who won the 1999,2000,2001,2002,2003,2004, or 2005 Tour De France.
    I will watch this years ToC sometime late 2011 so no one tell me if Lance wins.

  11. Comment by Abby | 02.20.2008 | 7:36 pm

    One word – CIPOLLINI.

    Or a couple of versions of two words – SUPER MARIO, or LION KING.

    That long face, that hair gel, the way he looks hungrily at the podium girls, and the way that he wears/uses absolutely none of his team sponsors’ gear.

    Its all about Mario, and its all worth it…!! :)

  12. Comment by jeff bean | 02.20.2008 | 7:38 pm

    The sport of cycling. It needs all the fans it can get so we can move beyond the doping era….

  13. Comment by Kim | 02.20.2008 | 7:42 pm

    I’m pulling for Zabriskie and that awesome mustache.

  14. Comment by Charlie Cushman | 02.20.2008 | 7:50 pm

    I have been rooting for BMC just because they have been throwing it all out there. Other than that I typically want whoever is in the breakaway to win, however I don’t like Rabobank or Quickstep and I don’t even know why.

  15. Comment by rubeboy | 02.20.2008 | 8:03 pm

    How about those team BMC kits? Pretty much Assos off the shelf with a few silkscreens added on at the last minute. If you’ve been watching, you may have noticed that BMC guys have gone on long early fliers with their early season luxury bodies. Too bad for them their luxurious bodies don’t hold out for the last few km. Still exciting to watch in my backyard.
    Go Team(s)!

  16. Comment by je | 02.20.2008 | 8:04 pm

    Gotta like Z’s Capt. Morgan stache.

    But for the underdog, root for Jonathan Reid Mumford. He’s riding for Kelly Benefit/Medifast while also working on a PhD at Johns Hopkins. Plus he’s a local for you and me, Fatty.

  17. Comment by Duane | 02.20.2008 | 8:05 pm

    I watched the TDF last year – first time watching. I usually root for Rabobank (UF Gator Colors). This year I also like BMC- those guys just keep taking off.

    I’m a homer – because I always root for the American – even Levi.

  18. Comment by KanyonKris | 02.20.2008 | 8:05 pm

    I’m not way into the ToC, but I find myself hitting their website a few times a day to see what’s happening at the day’s stage. I must admit it’s infectious, especially that tracker thing where you see real-time video, position and other stats and info. Do yourself a favor and go watch the stage recaps narrated by Phil Liggit – good stuff and very short.

  19. Comment by se | 02.20.2008 | 8:06 pm

    Zabriskie, because he’s dreamy….

  20. Comment by Fish | 02.20.2008 | 8:23 pm

    I didn’t even realize that they were racing this week either. I used to plan my life around the TdF. Now I can’t even gather the motivation to see if it’s on TV anywhere, much less find the motivation to TiVo it. Part of the fun for me for watching a race is to root for people. Now, I just assume a doping scandal is lurking so I don’t root for anyone. Burn me once, shame on you. I don’t care because I’ve been disappointed six or seven too many times.

  21. Comment by pcomeau | 02.20.2008 | 8:31 pm

    Slipstream-chipolte… only because of the silk screen of a burrito coming out of the far right pocket on their jerseys. I keep having an image of grabbing a chipolte burrito during a feed break, and it ain’t pretty.

    Otherwise… it’s kinda interesting, but I understand the apathy. Almost too early in the year for us in MN to get excited about biking outdoors. More like “I hate you all…, it’s -6 this morning.” But then again I’m a wimp.

  22. Comment by Miles Archer | 02.20.2008 | 8:36 pm

    I am not generally a racing fan, but I can’t help but watch the pros scream through some of the same roads that I slog over on weekends.

    I’m actually rooting for good weather, but that’s just selfish. As for riders, I’m rooting for one of the crazy BMC riders to actually taking down a windmill. Failing that, it’s Cipollini.

    I don’t care who’s doping. I just wish they were required to publish what works and what doesn’t.

    While I’m here, I might as well put in a plug to sponsor me for the Diabetes Society Tour de Cure century in Napa. Here’s the URL:

    (It’s under my real name, not this alias)

  23. Comment by monkeywebb | 02.20.2008 | 8:56 pm

    The Chipotle gang on account of the burritos and argyle.

    Dave Z on account of the ’stache.

    Big George ’cause he shook my hand and sweated on me after last year’s stage 1.

    High Road since they couldn’t even afford a graphic artist to design a descent jersey (have you seen those?!) and everybody loves an underdog. And they just moved to SLO, original home of Jamba Juice.

    And Levi because he’s named after the most American thing other than BBQ.

  24. Comment by Dobovedo | 02.20.2008 | 9:00 pm

    Just ignore all the news, politics and crud, and watch the racing. Today was awesome stuff. If only Amgens live tracker site would work for longer than 30 seconds. Video and audio seem to be OK, but that GPS stuff is horrid. It’s down or wrong 90% of the time.

    I don’t give a rip about the teams any more and root for the good guys. Big George definitely. Jens “put me at the start, point me towards the finish, and I go” Voigt. Dave Z. Mario for the ‘aging rock star’ entertainment value. Levi as much because his name is Levi as for any other reason. I like rooting for anybody but Boonen not because I don’t like him, but because it’s fun. JJ Heado because he’s got a great baseball announcer starting lineup name. JAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUN JOOOSEEEE HEAAAAAAAAAADOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

    Although I have to admit I’m tired of seeing those guys riding in temps above 20 degrees. Bastards. At least it raining alot.

    You may now return to your previously scheduled forgetting to care.

  25. Comment by Philly Jen | 02.20.2008 | 9:17 pm

    Slipstream, because Vaughters rocks.

  26. Comment by axel | 02.20.2008 | 9:32 pm

    I’m German, so I root for the Germans. Go Jens!

    I live in the US, so I usually root for the americans, but only the underdogs, not Levi or George – they already won enough. How about Fast Freddie…

    Anyone on a small US team. Any rider who has zero wins on his palmares. Let’s hear it for the little guys.

    and then there is Cipo.

  27. Comment by Dan Lyke | 02.20.2008 | 9:37 pm

    Jackson Stewart, ’cause holding a breakaway for 61 miles is just cool.

  28. Comment by Lifesgreat | 02.20.2008 | 10:03 pm

    Why watch the ToC? You can see the Tour de France riders without having to put up with the French. Plus Astana!

    BTW, just got back home from seeing parts of stages 2 and 3. The autograph hunt at the ToC was much less dangerous than it is for the Disney characters in the “Magic Kingdom”. Took hundreds of pictures, had lots of fun!

  29. Comment by Not bitter at all | 02.20.2008 | 10:49 pm

    You want to root for Symmetrics, of course! The North American team founded on clean racing and winner of last year’s UCI America Tour award and US Open Championships race, among other palmares. Go Symmetrics! Go! Go!…

    errrr…. Right. Symmetrics isn’t riding the ToC. But the organizers DID select Rock Racing. Hm.

  30. Comment by giel | 02.20.2008 | 11:25 pm

    You don’t have to root for anyone, just watch and learn. Even if they’re doped up, those guys are still pros and you aren’t. You don’t become a pro rider overnight just by taking some stuff, they are so much more talented and experienced. So just watch and enjoy and try if you can learn a thing or two :).

  31. Comment by bikesgonewild | 02.20.2008 | 11:26 pm

    …when chris horner rides right next to you & he’s about to race over roads you’ve ridden for years & you say ‘good luck, dude’ & he gives ya that little PRO nod, well, it’s hard to be too jaded…
    …ya, you wanna see the sport clean & healthy but do ya need to throw the baby out w/ the bathwater…nah…
    …& ya see mario all kitted up & ya realize he’s not only back on the wheel, but the freakin’ guy is actually old enough to have fathered some a’ the guys he’s racing against…& then he delivers a 3rd to boonen & haussler sprinting in the rain…well, ok…
    …& how about bmc’s scott nydam who not only went out on a monumental solo break on stage 2, to say ‘dad, i love ya & this is to help ya beat that cancer’…well, that alone would be something to cheer for, but then he goes out on tired legs the next day & tries it again…
    …damn, i AM finding stuff to be excited about…but that’s just me…

  32. Comment by Weean | 02.20.2008 | 11:49 pm

    Without access to any tv coverage, I’m finding the racing somewhat underwhelming, but I am lapping up the bike porn that cyclingnews’ tech thread has been serving up.

    Mmmmmm, pre-production!

  33. Comment by buckythedonkey | 02.21.2008 | 12:16 am

    The most interesting thing about the Tour of California is its choice of title sponsor.

    Good grief, have you see what’s happened to Jill? FedEx has lost her Pugsley. :-(

  34. Comment by Mike Roadie | 02.21.2008 | 4:02 am

    Is the ToC even on TV???? I just can’t get behind Slipstream…to me they are the Yankees/Patriots of the cycling world, picking off the best from other teams……and I *DONT* like argyle! Astana is interesting because of those who followed Bruyneel there to keep the unit together…..and the whole Borat thing.

    DUANE: Go Gators!

  35. Comment by Orbea Girl | 02.21.2008 | 4:07 am

    Personally, I’m routing for 1) Fabian Cancellara: killed everyone in the prologue and finished 13th yesterday on the mountain stage – awesome. 2)Mario Cipollini: I’ve met the guy and he just oozes class, charm and sex appeal. 3) Tom Boonen: no one looks better in lycra than Tornado Tom, not even Cipo.

  36. Comment by Bluenoser | 02.21.2008 | 4:26 am

    Whoever you like keep them clear of the CSC gang. They ride like a bunch of tri-geeks. I was really looking forward to Big Maggie in the Classics this spring but the CSC gang looked after that. They win a lot because everyone else us usually in a heap on the floor behind them. Too bad because they ride those nice Canadian made frames.


  37. Comment by cheapie | 02.21.2008 | 5:40 am

    you can watch the races live on and they rebroadcast it as well. pretty good feed too.

    and yeah. poor jill. i’d be going ape if i were her.

  38. Comment by Adam | 02.21.2008 | 5:53 am

    Zabriskie. Yield!!

  39. Comment by FliesOnly | 02.21.2008 | 6:26 am

    George Hincapie.

  40. Comment by RachelGio | 02.21.2008 | 6:37 am

    1-Zabriskie is NOT hot, stash or not.
    2-Georgie–I mean, come on, ya gotta love him
    3-Fabian Cancellara because he is TOTALLY hot and that’s a lovely thing to watch on the bike and on the podium.
    4-Bobby Julich–older and cute, just like me. : )
    5-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOnen–he’s a steamroller!
    6-Cipo–cuz he’s just plain amazing. I LOVE! to watch him spank those baby boys.

  41. Comment by Rob | 02.21.2008 | 6:50 am

    2 words…Rock Racing!! They are the ultimate contrarians. Anti-establishment all the way, with an unlimited checking account. Mike Ball is exactly what this sport needs…I think.

    And mark my words…for 2009, Slipstream will be wearing full TWEED jerseys. With ascots!!

  42. Comment by Zak | 02.21.2008 | 8:56 am

    Millar on Slipstream.
    Red White and Blue Kit on American Soil

  43. Comment by Charles Cushman | 02.21.2008 | 9:06 am

    Here is the best way to wath it:

    The GPS seems to work better on safari than explorer.

  44. Comment by Suzanne | 02.21.2008 | 10:08 am

    Fabu…Fabian Cancellara. He’s hot, he’s swiss, and he pulled his national champion time trialist self over a very steep climb yesterday, remaining in 13th place. I love the guy, and would like to see him take the race. I think he has what it takes to kill the time trial in Solvang and wrap it up. Added bonus, his facial hair doesn’t look like it’s been pasted on.

    Fatty, maybe it’s because the race is coming through my town on Saturday, but I’m really jazzed for the TOC this year. It will hold me over until July…

  45. Comment by Don | 02.21.2008 | 11:25 am

    I root for all of them, but if I had to choose its team Slipstream. Wednesday my buddies and I went to the stage start in Modesto, CA I put a bunch of pictures on our blog bike4more. I will be going to the finish in Solvang this Friday to take a bunch more pictures and drool over the beautiful bikes.

  46. Comment by KT | 02.21.2008 | 11:57 am

    I actually got to see a stage of the TOC last night on Versus… for some reason, TiVo doesn’t want to record cycling even with a season pass. Weird.

    I have to say it was exciting… Mount Hamilton looks like a killer, and that finish!!!! WHOA!!! Tense!

    Why you should be excited: because it’s a cool race local (relatively speaking) to you with lots of big names and good racing.

    And it’s fun to laugh at the Rock boys with their ugly lime green bikes and that horrid kit! Yikes!

  47. Comment by Mike | 02.21.2008 | 12:40 pm

    Charles Cushman,

    Thanks for that link. That’s helping to feed my data addiction far better than the VS coverage. Of course, the amount of coverage I have is inversely proportional to how much work I get done…

  48. Comment by Adam | 02.21.2008 | 1:39 pm

    You can watch on versus TV or the web site has realtime video/audio:

    I was a marshall as they blew through town on their way to Sacramento. It was exciting with lots of people out to watch and cheer as they blew through. It’s really fun to watch the riders travel roads I’ve ridden but a whole lot faster. Mountain biking is totally beyond me – these old knees won’t even consider it – so I live on the road, out in the country.

    I admire these athletes.

  49. Comment by MonsieurM | 02.22.2008 | 5:01 am

    Dominique Rollin. He won in style yesterday, probably the biggest achievment in Quebec’s cycling history (but not in canadian history, Steve Bauer is still up there). He comes from a country with very little cycling tradition, and yet he manages to win a stage in the biggest north american pro race. Wow.

  50. Comment by critmass | 02.23.2008 | 12:46 am

    some time ago i loaned my beloved de bernardi to a heidi klum like blonde that hailed from santa rosa, so i am rooting for SR native leipheimer.

    I suppose i support the team whose paychecks are cashed in american dollars.

    as far as my particular dreams and ideas for this tour and it’s future with a slight hope that you’ll become a poked-with-a-spoke rabid supporter, i’d like to see the organizers whip up their imaginations like boating the tour to Catalina island for a TT, or have a stage spill over to exotic nevada.

    and BTW, its been fun reading the responses to this blog- you seem to have a great crew reading your words.

  51. Comment by Armand Moran | 01.9.2009 | 4:05 am

    good luck


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.