Tour of California LiveBlog: Stage 8, Rancho Bernardo – Escondido

02.22.2009 | 4:17 pm

Today’s stage has a big ol’ monster climb — about 5000 feet in tennish miles. At least, that’s what it looks like when I eyeball the topo chart for the day.

And that summit would be the end of the stage, if there were any justice in the world. But instead, there’s a big descent down the other side of the climb, a couple of smaller climbs, and then a chance for everyone to catch up at the end of the stage so that the guy who shows he’s the strongest climber doesn’t get to win the stage.

Seriously, why no mountaintop finishes?

Housekeeping Awesomeness

Al Maviva will be joining me for liveblogging today, which means you can expect a lot of liveblogging weirdness this afternoon.

I’m looking forward to it.

Also, I wanted to post a photo Matt sent me yesterday from near the finish line in Pasadena.


I like this so much that it’s my new site banner. Thanks, Matt!

LiveBlogging begins at rrrrrrrightnow.

1:53 I’m starting a few minutes early because it looks to me like Team Ouch is setting itself up to catapult Landis forward for this current climb.

I can’t help myself, I’m hoping for a giant kamikaze ride for glory from Landis. We’ve seen it happen before, and it was one of the most glorious stages I have ever seen.

1:55 Team OUCH has separated from the main peloton and is trying to bridge to the large breakaway, which is about 40 seconds up.

1:56 Up front, the breakaway group has splintered.

Floyd has shed his his teammates and is trying to bridge.

This is my favorite kind of bike race.

1:58 I wonder what went into the decisions to tiptoe around the fact that Landis was suspended. "Floyd is back from his time off," etc. You know that this was a concious decision. I’d love to know how they arrived at it.

2:00 Floyd’s caught the back splinter of the breakaway. Now we’ll see if he can recover for a second and leap to the next.

2:01 When Al gets here, I have a question for him: where has Ivan Basso been for THIS ENTIRE RACE? Is he even in it anymore?

2:02 The front group of four have crossed the top of Lk. Wolford road. Not caught on film.

2:04 Frankie and Joe are interviewing someone, but they have chosen to not give her a microphone. Hilarity ensues as they ask a question and then there’s the sound of dead air for twenty seconds.

2:05 The lead four of the breakaway are thirty seconds out front. The rest (including Floyd? I think) are back in the Peloton. Alas.

2:08 Here are the four people left in the breakaway, copy / pasted from CyclingNews: Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank), Jason McCartney (Team Saxo Bank), Serge Pauwels (Cervélo TestTeam) and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling).

2:09 Joe Silva prounounces Liquigas as LIH-kwi-gas. Frankie pronounces it LEE-kee-gas. I’m pretty sure Frankie’s right, but they should confer among themselves and go one way or another.

2:12 The lead group is now 3 people. Schleck is exploring other options.

2:15 Check out the photo Scot Nicol just sent me!

I love this. Love it love it love it.

And here’s one of Scot and Bob together.

This seems like a good moment to mention that Bob’s LiveStrong Fundraising page ( has raised $8365way more than the $5000 we originally targeted.

I am incredibly pleased to have Bob Roll on Team Fatty.

Also, I need to give double-plus props to Scot Nicol of Ibis Cycles. While I’ve been sitting and writing here at home, Scot’s been working his butt off and making this happen.

Chuck Ibis may be the clown prince of bike manufacturers, but he’s got a heart of gold.

Thanks, Scot!

2:26 OK, we’re now at the base of the big climb of the day.

2:28 The lead group is # Jason Mccartney (Team Saxo Bank), Serge Pauwels (Cervélo TestTeam), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling), Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank), Stef Clement (Rabobank), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Mathias Frank (BMC Racing Team) and has 1:20 over the peloton.

Has Schleck been in every single breakaway during this tour? Schleck is the new Vinokourov.

2:29 No implication meant by that, Andy.

2:30 The Palomar climb is about twelve miles long, with about 4300 feet of climbing.

This should be fun to watch.

Racers should summit just about the time Versus coverage begins. Sheesh.

2:32 And that reminds me, I should — once again — give big kudos to the folks who built and serve content to the Tour of California tracker on the web: It’s got video (including the option to switch which camera you’re looking at), textual play-by-play, a real-time topo chart, info on who’s in the breakaways, and a course map. Speed, distance, everything’s there.

Really, it’s just incredible. I believe this was created by Adobe, in which case: Very nice work, Adobe!

2:37 Lead group has about 1:45 over the peloton and is working together.

Attack, darn you!

2:46 Needed to take a minute to help Susan move out to the family room so she can watch the TV coverage with me.

Did I miss anything?

2:47 The lead group has about 2:35 on the peloton.

Wasn’t Floyd supposed to be making a big power play today?

2:49 Cavendish has begun riding backward. Rumor has it that he has lost interest in the climb.

2:50 The breakaway is riding a 6.x% degree climb at 13+ mph.


2:51 A streaker wearing a big wig and nothing else is shown onscreen running up alongside the lead group. Frankie and Joe giggle.

2:52 1:45 gap.

2:54 I’m surprised at how un-attacky the lead group has been. Nobody’s going to take a flyer?

2:55 Here are the folks leading the race. c/p CyclingNews: Jason Mccartney (Team Saxo Bank), Serge Pauwels (Cervélo TestTeam), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling), Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank), Stef Clement (Rabobank), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Mathias Frank (BMC Racing Team)

2:56 Barredo and Pawels lose the break.

2:57: Sevilla rides off the front of the peloton. Floyd’s with him.

Frank Schleck, too.

3:00 If Al Maviva doesn’t show up soon, he’s going to incur a demerit.

3:01 That Sevilla / Schleck / Landis thing evidently didn’t work out.

Try, try again?

3:02 Many people have asked me how I’m going to follow up the Shave Bob Roll’s Head fundraising stunt.

Well, how much would you pay to have a chance at Craig Hummer and a dunk tank?

I’d pay quite a lot.

3:04 5K to the summit, with the leaders gapping the peloton by 1:10.

3:06 On the television, Paul and Phil are talking about the big climb today as if it weren’t almost over. Which is to say, they’re talking about the most important part of the stage, instead of showing it.

Sorry Versus, but you’ve got to learn to break format when something big’s happening.

Now they’re talking about Boonen and Armstrong, two complete non-players today.

3:09 Why look, I’m not talking about the race right now either. ‘Course, nobody’s really expecting me to deliver actual information.

3:10 Down to fewer than 5K left to the top of Palomar.

3:12 Leipheimer is no longer protected by his team. he’s riding off the front of the Peloton with Rogers and Zabriskie.

Can they bridge?

3:13 We’re at the first set of ads from Versus before they show any racing, and we’re right at the end of the big climb.

3:14 If Leipheimer and Zabriskie were to try to bridge, I’d have a rough time typing, what with the whooping and hollering.

3:15 And Al has joined me! He was reluctant to leave the kitchen.

3:16 (Al) So Elden, seeing this is the world’s greatest training race series, I haven’t been paying close attention. I heard that cyclist chap, Lance Armstrong, may be making a comeback. Care to bring me up to speed?

3:20 Yeah, Al, I understand he’s a promising young rider with a bright future.

3:23 Is it actually possible that Leipheimer and Zabriskie have bridged?

(Al) I tune into 20 minutes of the ATOC, and it’s in the middle of the biggest hill in the whole race.

This is like Dracula walking into the supermarket only to stumble onto an enormous garlic sale right in front of the door.

3:24 Oh good. Ads! That’s good, because I didn’t want to see how the summit of the big climb works out.

3:25 (Al) I wonder if we get the same ads. I’m getting these ads for G4, which, near as I can figure, is run by a bunch of Intel interns on their lunch hour. Like it’s the Gamer network or something. As if gamers would be watching television…

3:26 I get to watch the Castor Oil ad. And a hair-loss ad.

I have a suggestion. Go bald gracefully, live with it. Sheesh.

3:27 (Al) Hmmm… here’s the rodeo. Tic tacs. An ad for McDonalds featuring distance runners. Motor oil with a Scotsman whipping the spokesman… Bosley hair replacement. Yeah, they got the cycling demographic nailed there.

Perfect. We saw ads while the leaders crossed the summit.

(Al) Now we’re back in time for the helicopter to lose track of the leaders on the descent.

3:28 Really, an interview with Lance? Have they decided to not cover the race today?

(Al) Hey, there’s an interview with Lance. Apparently he’s racing again. Who knew?

3:29 (AL) I love the riders on Saxobank but that team name is just one excited Phil Liggett verbal slip away from getting the team banned in the middle east.

3:31? I’m getting a weird time distortion thing here. Is Versus on a time delay here?

(Al) Wife to me: "Was that a naked man chasing the pack up the hill?"
Me to wife: "I dunno. It wasn’t anybody we know, was it?"
If you knew my friends, my "core group," you’d understand why that is a plausible question.

3:32 (AL) Time distortion? I know there’s a 15-30 second gap between east and west coast network broadcasts. Kind of like a doomed breakaway in the last 5k.

Me: No, I mean that on Versus they’re climbing. On the web, everyone’s descending.

3:35 (Al) So has anybody on Versus mentioned that this is basically a training race for the BigBoyTour riders? That their season doesn’t begin until la Primavera, Milan-San Remo?

ME: yeah, definitely a big time delay going on here. On Versus, Sevilla is just making his move — the one I talked about minutes ago.

AL: They probably have to run on time delay in case Bob Roll sees something exciting in his roving reporter position and starts dropping F-bombs.

3:36 Al I see Tim in comments says he’d like to see Jens derail the Astana team, for no apparent reason. Ironically enough, that’s exactly why Jens usually launches an attack – no apparent reason.

AL: I respect Bobke’s achievements; along with all the great riding, I respect him for strangling his internal censor and burying it in a shallow grave.

3:38 AL HBO could have an R-Rated series about cycling and call it "Fredwood." Bob could star as the Al Swearengen-type character.

3:40 OK, we’re going to go with the Versus timeline for now, and I’ll cope with my massive cognitive dissonance at a future time.

3:42 (Al) Man, isn’t it sick seeing Astana taking charge on the hills? Having 1-2 riders to shepherd a guy is impressive, but when you have a 6 rider train, as if it was a bunch sprint up the hill…

3:43 (Al) You can climb Elden – at least your mini-me version can. Can you launch accelerations and punish your friends? Or are you a grinder like Leipheimer – no acceleration but capable of just steadily motoring up a hill?

Me: By way of answer, let me just say what my climbing chant is: "I am Ulrich."

3:45 OK, Zabriskie, Leipheimer, Schleck grinding up to the top.

I’m getting a weird sense of deja vu.

3:46 Al Knowing that a lot of these guys train together in the off-season, how many times in his career do you think Zabriskie has ridden up this particular hill on Leipheimer’s wheel? Do you think they’re getting to a point where Zabriskie is thinking, "I know he’s going
3:46 to try something just up around this next turn…?

Of course knowing Zabriskie it’s highly probable he’s thinking about something totally random.

3:47 Phil’s talking about "the slightly built Levi Leipheimer."

When you combine that with how his wife was comparing Levi to a chihuahua, Levi’s going to get a complex.

3:49 Al I’m surprised he didn’t call him "nearly bald Levi Leipheimer."
"Multiple riders are a threat to Levi Leipheimer." True, but in most races, Levi is the biggest threat to Levi. He seems to undo himself in the grand tours with exceedingly cautious riding; he doesn’t seem to have the confidence to attack whe others are hurting and could be decisively dropped.

3:50 So where’s Armstrong? Shouldn’t he be launching Leipheimer?

3:51 (Al) Sherwen: "The reason [the Schlecks] are so good is because they will fight." By "fight," Sherwen means Andy and Frank will pedal harder. If either of them actually threw a punch, their upper bodies would probably shatter.

3:52 Hummer says Levi’s showing no emotion, like Armstrong. Phil and Paul, in unison, say, "Uh, no."

3:53 Al: "Lance is looking comfortable." No he isn’t, folks. Look at the face, that’s the rictus of Lance’s race face. He isn’t in agony, but it’s early in the season, he isn’t all that fit yet, and it hurts to try to stick with guys who are superb natural climbers. If Lance was comfortable he’d be looking around and not glued to the rivet.

3:55 Al: "Jens Voigt snapping on the pedals up front just to remind you who’s boss." That’s why I love Phil.

3:56 Al The guy with the horns! The guy with the horns! The guy with the horns! He may be a schlub Cat 3, but he has a good start on becoming the Sidi Zenft of U.S. cycling. For what that’s worth.

3:57 Incredibly narrow alley for the riders.

3:58 Annd we go to ads. I think it’s pretty clear that Al types approximately three times as fast as I do.

What all of you readers don’t see is that I’m only posting 20% of his comments.

Al: Hummer just asked a good question of Sherwen about whether Levi has done enough to win. That’s a good good non-racer questions and teed things up nicely for Sherwen. Trautwig would never show humility and that’s what grated worst.

If I was the producer I’d tell Hummer to ask lots of questions and stay humble. It would work to clue in the everyman, and make the tifosi happy by getting some technical discussions out into the open – kind of like how John Tesh is a halfway decent gymnastics commenter.

4:01 He is?

No way. It’s Michael Ball. Says the man who has "F@K Off" printed on his team knickers, "We’re not here to be arrogant.

4:02 (Al) Hummer didn’t pay me to say that. I’m still suffering from PTSD – Post Trautwig Slavering Disorder. Every time Trautwig started his "I’m ignorant and you’ll like it" routine I’d start screaming at the TV set. It was like Cosell, except without Cosell’s intelligence or insight.

4:03 Annd we go to ads.

I never get sick of that unicycle ad. I want a unicycle.

4:05 (Al) I saw a Basso question. I won’t speculate. I love the races and a lot of the racers but the prevalence of doping makes me suspect every fishy excuse for leaving a race. Funny how many guys drop out, even at the high amateur / low pro level, when the USADA guys. show up.

Al: You’d die if you had a unicycle. Or you’d have an excuse for a whole new blog where you make fun of yourself. "Fat Injured Unicyclist." I think it’d work.

ME: I am heading off to reserve the domain RIGHTNOW.

4:06 We’re back! 4 guys up front, with a good-sized group (including Leipheimer) about a minute behind.

Annnd we go to Bob Roll. Hey, where’d that hair come from?

4:08 OK, so we’ve got a big descent left, with a bump of a climb in between.

I feel an anticlimactic conclusion coming.

4:12 Al’s keyboard has melted and will return shortly. I mean Al, not his keyboard.

4:13 (Al) I like that Pepsi ad with Dylan and Tight Eyez. Nice re-working, reminds me a little of Kid Rock re-doing some rap songs – he usually goes a little krump too.

4:14 Nobody’s told Hummer how to pronounce "Palmares" yet.

4:15 OK, at this point, apart from a massive pileup or a terrible case of ennui, is there any way Levi can lose this race?

4:16 (Al) Nice explanation of stage racing timing there. Mainly for the podium girls. The ATOC girls could almost give the Giro d’Italia podium girls a run for their money. Almost. But not quite.

Al: Dude, this is Levi you’re talking about. Don’t even say stuff like that.

4:17 I’m thinking of opening an account at Rabobank. Just so I have frequent excuses to say "Rabobank!"

Al Ad for Rabobank. Awesome. Safe. Secure. Growing. What I want to know is if they’ll give a loan to help some people bail out from this loan they’re way under water on.

They had no idea when they took it out that they’d have to repay the $6 trillion dollars. No idea whatsoever. Now they’re looking for a re-fi.

4:19 Four leaders working on killing each other in the final climb of the day.

4:20 (Al) In comments: ~ where’s Danielson? Um, I hate to break the news to you, but he’s modeling his career on Levi’s. He’s not going to attack until he’s 32.

4:21 Schleck and Nibali have shed the other two leaders.

I’m going on record as rooting for Schleck. But I’m not super excited about it.

Al: Andy Schleck – throwin’ down. "Hey, check this out. You think you can climb? Let’s dance, fatboys!"

4:23 (Al) Nibali could break away and win the race but the thing I’d remember would be him looking over at the Sumo suit, stunned like he’d been hit with a cattle prod.

Me: You know, I once got paid to wear a Sumo suit. At a trade show. That’s a story for another day, though.

Although I will tease with the fact that I did actually wrestle people as part of my job.

And I was in my 30’s.

4:26 Now might be a good time for me to mention that we’re going to give away some very cool prizes to some randomly lucky people who donated to the Bob Roll LiveStrong page.

For example, today Bob Roll recorded outgoing voicemail messages for three of you. I haven’t heard back from 2 of the 3 people who won this prize, so you might want to check your voicemail.

Oh yeah, I asked him to do one of those messages for me, too.

It’s not too late to donate and maybe win some other cool prizes. Click here to donate to the Shave Bob’s Head LiveStrong Challenge page

4:32 Al: Nibali and Schleck aren’t any GC danger right now – Nibali is 2:21 down on Leipheimer and Andy Schleck is down 19:00.

4:33 You know, Versus is not doing a great job of clueing us in as to where everyone is in relation to each other. How far ahead is the lead group? We don’t know from the TV, and I can’t check on the web because of the time delay.

4:34 Al: So it’s not too soon to talk about looking forward. Show of hands – who is really interested to see how Lance does in the Giro?

Me: I am. A lot. Can we get the same people who did the ToC Tracker do a website for the Giro?

Al: The Giro is the racers & hardcore tifosi’s grand tour – the promoter isn’t tradition bounds so you see crazy stages (25% grades, dirt road mountain climbs) and fans that bleed love for the race.

Me: I don’t bleed love, but I DO ooze. I’m oozing right now. Going to go fetch a paper towel to clean it up.

Al: I know he was always about the TdF but it makes me a little sad he didn’t give himself the chance to enjoy the Giro before now. The Italians and their love of roadracing… it’s like the forklift and the fiat, Luigi and Guido in "Cars."

Me: I can’t believe you know the name of the characters in that movie. That was the only lame Pixar movie. How did it get made? The whole thing looked like a Chevron ad.

4:38 Al: In comments – BigBoned says "My prediction is that Lance abandons at the Giro…" I disagree. He’s always trained for the TdF by doing mountain repeats, and the first and last week are just that. Plus the speeds between mountains are lower in the Giro. They ride a lot of "piano" and then ride really hard on the hills. Different tempo than the TdF.

Me: Lance won’t abandon the Giro. I think he’ll podium.

4:41 Al: I liked Cars. It said a lot of important things about preserving the good parts of the past, community, etc. Plus I was hot for the Porsche. Didn’t she play Al Bundy’s wife in Married with Children?

4:42 This stage should have ended half an hour ago. Kind of a lame end to what’s been a very exciting race.

Al: You’re right about needing a mountain top finish. It looks like the organizers have tried to make it really friendly for casual spectators, hence the in-town finishes and no mountain top. Palomar pretty much begs for it, no?

Al: I liked Cars. It said a lot of important things about preserving the good parts of the past, community, etc. Plus I was hot for the Porsche. Didn’t she play Al Bundy’s wife in Married with Children?

Me: OK, I’m going to go on record as having overreacted re: Cars. However, it was strictly OK, as opposed to fantastic. It’s hard to even believe that the same people that made Wall-e also made Cars.

And it also goes to show how exciting this stage is that we’re now talking about the relative merits of animated movies.

4:46 We go to ads with Nibali and Schleck ahead of the Peloton.

I will personally buy any racer who shakes this thing up a pizza.

4:47 Al: The gap between domestic pros and the BigBoyTour is really clear right now. Take a look at the finishing order of the GC and the stage today. As of yesterday, the closest the true domestic teams are getting to the GC podium is Jelly Belly domestic pros, Reistad and Reijnen, in 13th and 14th. BMC doesn’t count as purely domestic any more, nor does Rock Racing with its roster of many old ProTour pros.

Me: Sure, but the racing has been a lot of fun to follow.

4:50 Hummer observes that the riders were going a lot slower when they were climbing than when they descend.

Thanks for the beta, Craig.

4:53 (Al): I like the scenery but now that they’re into Escondido…

Al: Lay offa Craig, willya? He’s trying which is about 200% more than Trautwig ever did. And then some.

I’d like to see something for the TdF where Bob Roll takes Hummer out drinking, and generally causes a ruckus, Bobke style. It has enormous "odd couple" appeal.

Maybe Bobke goes riding bikes with Hummer… it would be nice filler for the flat TdF stages – Bobke killing Hummer on Alpe d’Huez, for instance…

4:56 Just six miles to go. Schleck and Nibali about one minute ahead of the peloton.

So, in the absence of a catastrophe, Levi will win the Tour.

So, let’s consider what it would take for Levi to lose.

  • Wrong turn!
  • Serious and very sudden gastric distress due to bad sushi distributed by a malicious fan!
  • Body check by the entire Rock Racing Team, under the direction of Michael Ball
  • Spontaneous combustion!

Al: Well hey, I have to sign off for the evening. It’s been great fun, but I have to go cook some dinner. Thanks for the chance to liveblog Elden and to interact with your tifosi.

Me: Thanks, Al. Enjoy your buffalo schnitzel.

5:02 Schleck comes around Nibali and kills the stage. Very nice.

Levi wins the tour.

He couldn’t have done it without me.

OK, maybe he could have.

5:06 That’s it for me. Thanks for reading what has been my wordiest week ever!


  1. Comment by vXhanz | 02.22.2009 | 2:46 pm

    I like the new banner! Very fitting!

    Win Susan!


  2. Comment by Tim | 02.22.2009 | 4:32 pm

    I do think that I would like to see either Dave Z or Jens Voigt derail the Astana train. I have no real reason for this.

  3. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 4:34 pm

    Where I am nobody’s reached the summit of the big climb yet… is the internet coverage ahead of the tv coverage?

  4. Comment by Nick | 02.22.2009 | 4:35 pm

    it looks like the tracker is at least 10 minutes ahead of the TV coverage

  5. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 4:39 pm

    I can’t wait to move to California and ride this stuff!

  6. Comment by Tim | 02.22.2009 | 4:43 pm

    Why do you think that I like Jens so much, Fatty? Him, Vino before he got caught, Durand, Virenque at times, the attacked like idiots. On the few times I do actually race, I also love attacking like an idiot. (Or else pinning it on the front working for someone else). I don’t win a lot, but I have fun, which is more important anyway

  7. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 4:43 pm

    Also, “dancing on the pedals” is one of my favorite Liggettisms… second only to “suitcase of courage.”

  8. Comment by Tony | 02.22.2009 | 4:43 pm

    I’m with you Fatty, if you can watch online at amegentoc website it is much better. Versus is doing a disservice to the AToC. Great coverage from you and Al.

  9. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 4:49 pm

    That poor baby is going to be afraid of bicycles forever.

  10. Comment by Tim | 02.22.2009 | 4:50 pm

    If there were already some attacks on Palomar from some of the big GC guys, then everybody is going to seriously throw down on Coal Grade. We’ll find out how bad Levi wants it, I think.

  11. Comment by Byrdbth | 02.22.2009 | 4:52 pm

    “The difference facically”-wow awkward phrasing!

  12. Comment by Tim | 02.22.2009 | 4:53 pm

    Levi: The anti Vinokourov

    Cadel Evans: The only man more bashful than Levi Leipheimer.

  13. Comment by Kali Durga | 02.22.2009 | 4:55 pm

    “2:01 When Al gets here, I have a question for him: where has Ivan Basso been for THIS ENTIRE RACE? Is he even in it anymore?”

    I have a vague memory of reading something in the VeloNews time-trial coverage the other day about Basso pulling out. Some twitter statement about banging his knee on his handlebar, it hurt too much, he couldn’t finish. I’m supposed to be balancing my checkbook instead of following the race, so I can’t go search through that day’s coverage.

  14. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 4:55 pm

    HAH. Who just took a swing at a spectator? Was that Levi?

  15. Comment by Julie M. | 02.22.2009 | 4:56 pm

    Basso has been out since the day of the time trial.
    CyclingNews had this…
    14:12 PST We’ve received word that Ivan Basso never started today, having suffered a knee injury.

  16. Comment by Brandy | 02.22.2009 | 5:00 pm

    Love Bobke w/the Fatty jersey. Maybe he will wear it on Vs.

  17. Comment by Kali Durga | 02.22.2009 | 5:01 pm

    Yeah, it’s a trip to see how TdF the AToC has become on the mountain stages. Between the guy with horns, the other guy in the Borat’kini, and the dude dragging his kid, you know the AToC is now an established race. Good thing.

  18. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:06 pm

    Is it just me, or are we getting a LOT of ads all of a sudden? Maybe padding for a longer no-add streak later?

    :::hope springs eternal:::

  19. Comment by Tim | 02.22.2009 | 5:06 pm

    I really want Danielson to throw down on Coal Grade. For as much hype as he got a couple years ago, he sure hasn’t done much.

    I do know that he’s struggled with injuries, but at some point, he should have delivered on some of that, right?

  20. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:07 pm

    (Or no-ad, for those who prefer no typos.)

  21. Comment by Mjatt | 02.22.2009 | 5:08 pm

    HEY! Did you see those guys in the inflatable Sumo-suits just now on VS? LOVE IT! Something totally new and unique! Anybody who can come up with something different and then JUST DO IT is ok in my book!

  22. Comment by Lee Tako | 02.22.2009 | 5:08 pm

    Basso retired before the Solvang TT, after hitting his knee on his handlebar.

  23. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 5:08 pm

    Apparently I was so excited by faux Sumo wrestlers that I couldn’t even spell my name right.

  24. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 5:11 pm

    It’s funny, my dad asked me the other day if I knew why Bob suddenly shaved his head. He said it looked absolutely ridiculous.

    When I explained the thought it was awesome (but that it still looked ridiculous).

  25. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:11 pm

    I am sooooo kicking myself for not flying out to see my folks…who live ten miles from today’s finish line. I’ve been down these roads a zillion times.


  26. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 5:13 pm

    Poor Basso. Must have been quite a hit on his knee to abandon. Didn’t Tyler ride an entire TDF with a broken collarbone? Knee-whack, broken collarbone. Hmmm.

  27. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:14 pm

    Hey Matt, weren’t those blow up sumu guys at TdF? Know I’ve seen them on the side of the road in some big race…pretty sure it was last summer.

  28. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:16 pm

    I’ve always been a bit perplexed why teams are allowed to use yellow in their jerseys now that the color’s definitively associated with being the race leader.

    Really enjoying these explanation pieces by Paul, in spite of the fact I already know the stuff. Fun to hear a real pro put it in his own words.

  29. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 5:18 pm

    Just an observation here (not Lance bashing)…but WHY is Lance BEHIND Levi the last few days every time we see the peleton? Is that how he protects his GC guy? Interesting strategy. I don’t recall ever seeing domestiques BEHIND Lance in his victories.

  30. Comment by Tim | 02.22.2009 | 5:18 pm

    Since the two guys behind him on GC are more TT guys than climbers, I think he’s okay.

    But, for whatever reason, I don’t think the race is over.

  31. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 5:20 pm

    Cinda..if they were, I missed it (an ill-timed pre-TIVO bathroom break could very well explain that). Maybe the riders should have suits like that for the downhills. Possibly Mancibo would be OK today if he had his inflatable Sumo-suit on yesterday! (that, or he rolls right off the mountain and rolls at incredible speeds to the very bottom of the mountain sans bike).

  32. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:20 pm

    Okay, the big pretend-preggo guy running alongside Lance scares me. A lot.

  33. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:23 pm


    “Maybe the riders should have suits like that for the downhills.”

    Then they could take flight like kites, making this a reeeeeeally challenging sport to track from a helicopter. I’d watch.

  34. Comment by Juls | 02.22.2009 | 5:24 pm

    While I love the amount of fans, and their enthusiasm – they are making me crazy! GET OUT OF THE WAY!

  35. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 5:25 pm

    I was thinking more of like airbags…the suit is worn but uninflated. They tie a string to the bike, and if they come off the bike, the string pulls and POOFFFF the suit inflates mere nanoseconds before ground impact. There would most likely be some embarrassing moments as they dismount the bikes after the race, until they learn to disconnect the string.

  36. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:25 pm

    Astana’s the only team with all their riders still??? Huh.

  37. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:27 pm

    OMG, the sumu idea gets better by the moment. Now the mental picture is of Mancebo bouncing down the hill like an oversized beach ball.

  38. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 5:27 pm

    Matt, that may be the best idea I’ve ever heard. Will it have the back-up near the shoulder like on airplane life vests?

  39. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 5:28 pm

    And team tactics would also come into play. Imagine sneaking up on your competitor and pulling HIS cord. POOF! He inflates just in time for you to zip away uncontested. Guarding your suit-inflation-string would make for some seriously entertaining cycling methinks.

  40. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:28 pm

    Fatty, you just gave me the vapors (she says in a very respectful way, not that creepy chick-crossing-the-line kind of way).

  41. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:29 pm

    Matt, I’m just takin’ a guess here, but did you watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory one too many times? This is getting dreadfully close to that kid that turned into a giant blueberry.


  42. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 5:30 pm

    I really think the UCI should look into these ‘cycling safety suits’. you know…in the name of rider safety. The fact that they would be very fun to watch is just icing on the cake.

  43. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:32 pm

    Fatty, I know you said this is your final liveblog, but please…..puhleeeeeese….you have to do this during TdF too. Can’t imagine a major stage race without you guys.

  44. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:35 pm

    Boonen abandoned? How the heck did I miss THAT? What happened?

  45. Comment by Big Boned | 02.22.2009 | 5:37 pm

    My prediction is that Lance abandons at the Giro…

  46. Comment by Barbara | 02.22.2009 | 5:42 pm

    Boonen abandoned this morning, probably because he didn’t want to do the mountain.

  47. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 5:42 pm

    We had Bobke at our little bike shop a week and a half ago..he talked for an hour and a half about most anything. He said he believes Lance is shooting for the Giro win this year. Contador isn’t riding Giro this year, so there’s no issue as to who’s leader. Except for Levi. Though I doubt if Levi will ride it would be Lances to win if he can. That would be something!

  48. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 5:43 pm

    Cinda, he probably abandoned because he wasn’t going to win anything and he wants to conserve energy and train for the races he feels “matter” more to him.

  49. Comment by Kali Durga | 02.22.2009 | 5:45 pm

    Is anyone else here very, very excited at the idea of DZ on the podium this evening? I may even do some hooping and hollering if he maintains second.

  50. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:45 pm

    Lindsay, I’m sure you’re right. Just can’t figure out what the heck I was doing that caused me to miss it. Huh. Must of been that run to the kitchen for mini-peanut butter cups (thank you Trader Joe’s).

  51. Comment by Brandy | 02.22.2009 | 5:46 pm

    the Porsche was voiced by Bonnie Hunt. Not peg from married w/children

  52. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 5:47 pm

    Cinda, I think they only mentioned it once in passing. I’ve been watching it the whole time and thought I heard wrong, so I checked out the CyclingNews live feed. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known, either.

    At least you missed it for something worthwhile – peanut butter cups are my favorite!

  53. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:48 pm

    Figured the PB cups balanced out the handful of carrots I ate an hour earlier.

  54. Comment by Big Boned | 02.22.2009 | 5:48 pm

    Reason I think he’ll abandon is that I can’t remember the last time he has. That string has got to run out somewhere – if it’s at the Giro, I’m suddenly a GENIUS (never been one of those before…).

  55. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 5:49 pm

    Just to throw this out…Bobke was also asked if he could attend only 2 euro races (one grand tour, one single-day) which would you go to?

    He said for Grand tours it would hands-down be the Giro. Reasons: people are MUCH nicer, food is infinitively better, lodging cheaper (and better) and the racing/stages are also as good or better. TDF is just more famous.

    As to single day race: Milan-San Remo.

    Just thought I’d toss that out there as I had thought that very same question myself. From the man who has ridden and seen them all. Best start planning now.

  56. Comment by Tim | 02.22.2009 | 5:52 pm

    Armstrong looks more like his old one day rider self than a skinny grand tour racer. It would have been sweet to see him target the classics instead of the grand tours.

  57. Comment by Nick | 02.22.2009 | 5:53 pm

    Did anybody else notice that the TV and web feeds are pretty much in sync with each other now? I guess the VS people aren’t big fans of descents either. . .

  58. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:55 pm

    I’m trying to figure out why the ATOC Tracker (Adobe Air version) is going hinky on my laptop. Shows Levi returning to Rancho Bernardo.

  59. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 5:57 pm

    If not Hummer (and trust me, no Hummer would be no problem in my book)…who?

  60. Comment by Big Boned | 02.22.2009 | 6:00 pm

    Alien Abduction!

  61. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 6:00 pm

    Whenever Chris Horner retires, VS should IMMEDIATELY pick him up! He would be an AWESOME announcer! But in the meantime, if they won’t use Bobke, then why not pick up John Madden? Wouldn’t THAT be a gas..John doing white-board cycling play descriptions. I think that would even give Phil & Paul speechless moments!

  62. Comment by Kali Durga | 02.22.2009 | 6:05 pm

    Woooo-hooo! Congrats to Levi, and a big yahoo for Dave Z.

    Did I hear Paul Sherwen say that Schleck and Nibali had a “ding-dong battle” today?

  63. Comment by Cinda | 02.22.2009 | 6:11 pm

    Thanks to you, Fatty. Please pick the liveblogging back up for TdF (and the Giro?).

  64. Comment by Juls | 02.22.2009 | 6:14 pm

    Matt- I have been saying that for years! Horner and Bobke – that’s it. Can you imagine how funny that broadcast would be?????

  65. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 6:18 pm

    OK..I am watching via TIVO so am even farther behind the VS broadcast than the rest of you were…and I now must take back what I said earlier about Lance…he is taking pulls at the front..what I’ve been wanting to see the entire race. (if he did before I just didn’t see it in the broadcast). Also I guess in the stages before Solvang he was holding his position just behind Levi in case he faltered. But he kept talking about how he was here to work for Levi, but I never saw him in front…always back be Levi. OK..I”ll shut up now…it’s been a GRAND race…thanks for the live blog-casts fatty! Loved them! Probably the most entertaining race that I can recall! (you saved me during the week-day stages when I was at WORK! You and the Live tracker…very sweet way to wile away a week of work during an amazing bike racer!

  66. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 6:20 pm

    Juls…that would certainly be the DREAM TEAM of cycling announcing! Phil and Paul in the morning, Bobke and Chris for primetime. It just couldn’t get any better than that…unless Fatty is brought into the fold. Hey up for some Zany TDF commercials?

  67. Comment by lindsay | 02.22.2009 | 6:27 pm

    Thanks for such an entertaining week, Fatty!

  68. Comment by Bill | 02.22.2009 | 7:45 pm

    Thanks for these, Fatty. I look forward to your continued live blogging through the spring classics and the grand tours!


  69. Comment by Tiny Tim | 02.22.2009 | 9:22 pm

    What were the chances that while you and Al were talking about Cars, I’d be watching it on HBO at the same time?
    Talk about synchronicity.

    Love the new banner!


  70. Comment by Matt | 02.22.2009 | 11:15 pm

    3:57 Incredibly narrow alley for the riders.

    I was part of that very narrow alley. I still can’t believe how fast those guys came up past me. That and how crazy and awesome (and how many) the fans were.

  71. Comment by Susie | 02.22.2009 | 11:22 pm

    Great coverage this past week, Elden. You’ve really opened up the world of cycling for me. And even though it is completely vicariously, it’s still lots of fun!

  72. Comment by Norman & Janet | 02.22.2009 | 11:32 pm

    I’m here to report that team “Norman & Janet”, who crossed the finish line in Escondido more than 24 hours ahead of the pack, locking up first place in the Local Residents of Escondido One Of Whom Is Wearing A Fat Cyclist Jersey” category, spent today walking on the beach and saying things like “my arms hurt” and “we’ll have to start doing that at least once a week”.

    A record was set, 3 hours for the 7 mile course, which began a couple of miles from the finish line where we live, paused at Champions, a great local breakfast spot mere yards away from the finish line, and looped around through the last couple of miles of the course.

    We were treated to the sight of every streetsweeping vehicle in Escondido plodding down the road in formation.

    We flagged down city councilwoman Olga Diaz who passed by while we were eating breakfast (actually, I was doing a routine hottie verification when I noticed it was her)who commented that we were looking forward to forty thousand people Sunday. Monday’s paper will tell the tale.

    I’m glad everybody had fun.


  73. Pingback by Truly TV Blog » Tour of California LiveBlog: Stage 8, Rancho Bernardo - Escondido | 02.23.2009 | 3:18 am

    [...] posted here:  Tour of California LiveBlog: Stage 8, Rancho Bernardo – Escondido function fbs_click() [...]

  74. Comment by buckythedonkey | 02.23.2009 | 7:34 am

    I’m going to miss Norman & Janet’s TOC updates. Maybe you could hunt out the best finish line breakfast for every stage next year…


  75. Comment by Mel | 02.23.2009 | 8:13 am

    Even the riders want that summit finish – from Twitter last night:

    tomdanielson Awesome stage today. Hope next year we finish on top of palomar!


  76. Comment by Justin | 02.23.2009 | 11:05 am

    If i’m reading the map correctly it looks like Stage 8 went right by my grandparents house/small avocado farm in Escondido. The road in question, Highly Valley Rd., is pretty ridiculous; steep and twisty climb, but in the profile looks to be just a blip.

    My grandma drives a Mercedes w/ a sport package and whenever I get out there I drive it up and down Highland Valley. It’s spectacularly fun in a car but I wouldn’t attempt it on a bike. Well, maybe going down…

    Win Susan!

  77. Comment by allison | 02.23.2009 | 12:32 pm

    Got a pic with Bob Roll post-stage yesterday in Escondido. I was wearing my Fat Cyclist tee that I bought this month from Twin Six!

  78. Comment by Matt | 02.23.2009 | 2:39 pm

    Yo Fatty…LOVE the new banner! And hey…that Matt guy…he is one studly looking dude! I mean, the obvious POWER in his legs. He flat out REEKS of strength! (or something like that). And he’s quite handsome too! (GRIN!!!)

    Glad you liked the photos. I was TICKED when I watched the stage finally (last night) that they didn’t include even ONE stinkin aerial photo of the finish line…if they had, you would have clearly seen the “Win Susan” about 50 meters past the line. The helicopters follwed both the break and the peleton all the way around all 5 circuits for crying out loud. Would have switched the direction of the writing for the ground cam if I only knew.
    Oh well…just wait till next year!

  79. Comment by J | 02.23.2009 | 3:56 pm

    BTW, that’s “Didi Senft” not “Sidi Zenft”.

  80. Comment by Eric P | 02.23.2009 | 4:00 pm

    In case you had any remaining doubts about what to think of Craig Hummer:

  81. Comment by Kt | 02.23.2009 | 5:10 pm

    Fatty, great job with the liveblogging– you too, Al!

    :) This way, I get my snarky comments in without bugging my Significant Other Person (aka SigOP), who isn’t listening to me anyway. :) That’s ok, he’s in charge of snacks and bevvies and fast-forwarding over the commercials.

  82. Comment by SKC | 02.24.2009 | 2:33 pm

    Did you notice a little after Mooseman (who dressed as an elk this stage) is seen running up the hill, two spectators collide and one falls. The one who doesn’t fall keeps running and I believe it is Michael Rogers who punches him in the face! Hilarious.

  83. Comment by Lars Lottrup | 02.24.2009 | 5:20 pm

    What unicycle add? I want to see it.

  84. Comment by sedormarks | 01.26.2010 | 2:35 am


    Affordable health insurance quotes for family, individual and self employed.
    Providing free medical insurance quotes for over 30 years using quality carriers such as Assurant Health, Medica, HealthPartners

    Best regards


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.