I personally can’t think of a better way for you to spend a Sunday afternoon than by reading and commenting along as I watch TV and type anything that pops into my head. So thanks for joining me.
Scot Nicol, AKA Chuck Ibis, AKA the founder of Ibis, is doing behind-the-scenes work for Bob Roll and others during the Tour of California, and he’s said he’ll take a look at questions and comments you post and do what he can to get your thoughts in front of Bobke. Maybe your question will get answered on the air, maybe in this blog, and maybe not at all.
I’ll be updating this post every couple of minutes, so if you’re following along in real time, you’re going to need to refresh your browser every once in a while.
Please leave your thoughts and questions; I’ll do what I can to incorporate them into the liveblog as we go.
Liveblogging: it’s not just a gimmick. It’s an adventure.
4:00 Tony Danza just told me to buy some tickets to a boxing event. Which prompts the question: Tony Danza is alive?!
4:01 I’m going to go out on a limb for a moment and say that I am in reality very excited about this tour. That said, I still intend to make fun of it.
4:02 Wow, Craig Hummer has a lot of mousse in his hair! And no idea whatsoever what he’s talking about!
4:05: Here are the questions I would like attentive readers to consider as we watch this stage together:
- Who will win the stage?
- If the entire peloton were to have a round-robin leg-wrestling tournament, who would be the likely winner?
- Why do they have Hummer MC-ing this event and have Bobke doing little interviews? I want to hear Bobke narrate.
4:07 Well, Cancellara has cancel-lara’d out of the event.
4:08 Evidently, the weather in California sux. They should come out to Utah. Sunny and nice today.
4:09 Armstrong has crashed on the course. My guess is he was attacked by an angry musette.
4:10 Oh boy! The first set of ads! It’s a "Breakaway from Cancer" ad, which, I must say as a husband of a wife currently involved in one helluva battle with cancer, is a really crappy ad. My kids saw this woman say "Hearing ‘you have cancer’ is like hearing ‘you’re going to die’ and freaked out." Thanks, guys, for smacking us in the face.
I have not yet seen any racers. Do we have independent confirmation that a race is actually happening?
4:13 Susan observes: "Hincapie looks like he has an enormous head." Physically, not ego-wise. Can anyone give us a confirmation or denial on Hincapie’s noggin size?
4:16 Lotsa tapdancing from the announcers, and not a bit of it about today’s race. Evidently, the camera’s aren’t working.
4:20 Hummer just called Leipheimer "the sentimental favorite," as if he were some old timer we all love to reminisce about, as opposed to the reigning champion of the race.
4:21 Lizzylou asks "What happened to the “Wanna buy a time trail bike?” I liked that picture!" I took that out during the Liveblog to reduce reload time. I’ll put it back once this entry’s no longer live.
4:22 Oh good. More ads. This is going to be the best liveblog ever.
4:25 Brian asks: "Our power just went out! What’s happening on tv?" The answer, Brian, is nothing at all.
4:26 Bobke just interviewed Arnold. Arnold mentioned also coming "from the athletic background," as if weightlifting and cycling were near cousins, and not the most exactly opposite things in the world.
4:29: So, I’m looking at the VeloNews liveblog, and Mancebo is currently off the front, with a 10 minute gap. It’s pouring rain. This is an awesome day to run ads about what a wonderful place California is to come vacation at.
4:30 Versus is burning through all of its canned segments today. I’m afraid that in future days, they’re going to have to show the race. Darnit.
4:38 Anyone want to place bets on how long until Hummer has a nervous breakdown?
4:38 Byrdbth says "So I am getting more info from Johan on twitter then the broadcast…." What’s the twitter address for Johan, Byrdbth?
4:39 Di asks why the smilies aren’t showing up as smilies. That’s because I turned smilies off a couple days ago, when I had an 8 and a paren by each other (super 8), and it showed up as a weird smiley.
4:41: Hey, Orbitz has a hovercraft!
4:43: Byrdbth gives us the URL for Johan’s Twitter account: http://twitter.com/johanbruyneel. Thanks Byrdbth!
4:44 Johan tells us that Mancebo is still on his own out front, with a 7 minute gap on the chase group, including Levi, Lance, Chechu and Chris.
Yay for Johan! Yay for Twitter!
4:48 Kali Durga wants to know why Cancellara’s out. It’s cuz he’s got the flu.
Which brings up an interesting observation I think I’ll talk about it, in the absence of anything else happening right now.
Has anyone else noticed that when they have a cold or a flu, that if they get on the bike and ride, that at least when they’re riding they don’t feel sick anymore? Maybe not as strong, but a lot of the symptoms go away.
I ask this because right now I have a miserable cold, and my 90 minutes on the rollers is actually the best I feel all day.
4:51 Ad for Watchmen film right now. I loved this graphic novel, and am very excited for this film. Any other cyclists out there who are also huge nerds?
4:53 Bob interviewing Floyd. Floyd liked the crowd, but wanted them to cheer more quietly and respectfully. Crowd, please cheer sotto voce for Floyd from this point forward. Also, Floyd mentions that he would have preferred to not have done terribly yesterday.
4:55 Johan is not at all happy with race radio. Says it’s "completely messed up," and "gives us all kinds of different information."
OK, I am now officially in love with Johan Bruyneel.
4:56 An ad talking about beautiful Santa Rosa. Snorts and piffles ensue.
4:58 Man, I wish Scot / Chuck would check in with some wacky comedy and whatnot right now.
Phil remarks, as a car drives by, "I nearly commentated on that sprint finish!"
4:59 We have picture! Mancebo on his solo breakaway, around 5 minutes ahead.
Question: on a rainy cold windy day and you’re leading the field by 5 minutes, do you feel the weather more or less than the rest of the field? I’d think that the exhiliration of being out front might counterract the misery of riding alone, wet, and unprotected.
5:01 Oh good, after 2 minutes of video, we’re back to the most awful cancer ad ever made. Everytime they have this woman belting out "when you hear you have cancer, YOU’RE GOING TO DIE" Susan tears up and the kids panic. Hey Breakaway from Cancer Guys, have you considered what your ad sounds like to someone who has cancer?
5:05 When someone like Mancebo does essentially a solo breakaway in rotten weather like this, to me it seems like he ought to get the stage, just out of respect. Anyway, I am officially rooting for Mancebo today.
5:06 Nothing quite as spooky as a twisty downhill in the rain on pavement with standing water. Hydroplane possibility + oil on asphalt + downhill = super scary.
5:09 Could some California locals weigh in with whether this kind of weather is typical for this time of year?
5:10 That Columbia commercial with the offroad unicyclist never gets old. Give that guy his due; he’s doing wild stuff there.
5:12 Mancebo’s lead is now down to about 3 minutes. So, I’m going to not go out on a limb at all and say that he’s going to get absorbed into the peloton. The day will go to the sprinters.
And with the straightaway an oily, wet mess, the sprint could get ugly.
5:17 Huh, no sprinters in the chase group. So I was wrong about the day going to the sprinters. However, the day will still come down to a sprint. Just not with sprinters. Which means the oily wet mess will be contended by non-specialists.
This will be fun to watch.
5:20 You know, if there’s going to be a wet pileup style sprint, Tyler Hamilton really ought to be there. A protour crash without Tyler just doesn’t feel right.
5:21 The chase group is mostly Astana. Are they trying to get Leipheimer a big lead? Could it be possible that they’re going to try to have him wear the yellow jersey the whole tour?
That would be awesome.
I love audacious, non-strategically-smart shows of strength. They’re not wise, maybe, but they make great drama.
5:24 Phil and Paul laugh out loud at how little Hummer knows about racing. I squeal with joy.
5:25 Paul notes what Johan twittered a while back: race radio is waaaay off. The gap is only a minute. That ain’t going to last.
5:27 Oh good, ads!
5:31 Hummer: "Floyd is in the third chase group, singularly." Brilliant.
5:32 The main peloton is 4+ minutes behind the chase group. Hummer would like us to know that Mancebo is "still very much in control" of this stage. Except, of course, he isn’t. He’s losing time and will be absorbed into and dropped by the chase group shortly.
5:34 Liquigas. Please, Paul, say it again. Over and over.
5:35 He said it again! Is it really pronounced "lee-kwee-gas?"
5:35 Phil and Paul admit they have no idea what’s going on. Which makes me feel much better about myself.
5:37 Mancebo’s gap is holding at a minute. Could it be that they’re going to give it to him? I am sending powerful mind rays that will make it be so.
5:38 Camera on the road is so mud-splattered you can’t tell a thing. Cycling race as painted by Matisse.
5:39 It would be strategically smart for Astana to let have Mancebo have the win by a few seconds. They don’t have to hold the yellow jersey today to have it in a week.
5:40 My powerful mind rays don’t seem to be sufficient.
5:42 Armstrong pulling Leipheimer. Good to see.
5:43 Will Nibali catch Mancebo? Yes, yes he will.
5:45 Phil: "It’s been a terrific day for bike racing!" In what sense, Phil?
5:47 Nibali, Mancebo, and Vandewarladfaksldfasdfklll are dawdling and watching each other. Nibali will win.
5:48 NO WAY.
Mancebo gets the win! Is there anyone who isn’t happy about that?
5:49 Seriously, to ride solo all day in the rain and cold and then to beat a couple of fresher guys in the sprint? I LOVE that.
5:50 Hey, in light of Mancebo’s incredible win here, I think it’s awesome that Phil and Paul laud Armstrong’s performance today.
5:52 I believe that Mancebo owes me a thank-you note, seeing as how he won because of my powerful mind rays.
5:55 So I wonder what the general standings are now? Mancebo in 1st, Nibali in 2nd, and Van de Walle in 3rd? I’m too lazy to see what their standings were at the end of the last stage.
Anyone good at math out there?
6:01 Soooo…I guess we won’t be seeing stats or standings on Versus. We need to get to the bullriding!
6:03: OK, so let’s do this again tomorrow. 12:30pm ET, 9:30am PT, and 10:30am here in the mountains.