A Note from Fatty: The Ibis Homepage has a hilarious Flash animation up now where you can shave Bob’s head yourself. Go check it out!
OK, OK, that’s a Photoshop (thanks, Kenny!). But it’s an accurate Photoshop of what the very-near future is going to look like.
Well, in yesterday’s post, Scot Nicol (aka Chuck Ibis, founder of Ibis Cycles) and I issued Bob Roll a challenge: if we could get people to donate $5000 to Bob Roll’s LiveStrong Challenge page by the end of the Tour of California, he’d get rid of that little tuft of hair (aka “the fin”) on top of his head.
Well, almost exactly 24 hours later, the prospect of a bald Bobke has raised $5110 $5650 to fight cancer.
“Awesome” seems like kind of a weak word for how cool that is.
Check Back for More Head-Shaving and Prize-Winning Details
Chuck is now working hard to make sure he gets the head-shaving captured for posterity. He’s also hard at work nailing down some really cool giveaways to thank folks who contributed.
Check back soon for details; I’ll reveal them as soon as I can.
Some Interesting Stats
Like numbers? Here are a few you may be interested in.
- 194: The number of people, in 24 hours, who have donated money to Bob’s LiveStrong page
- 230: The number of email messages Bob Roll had in his email box this morning regarding this challenge. “That’s a lot, isn’t it?” asked Bob Roll. Yes, Bob, it is.
- 7833: How many people came to fatcyclist.com last night and today as a result of Lance Armstrong’s tweet about yesterday’s blog post.
You know, the real reason I want to watch today’s stage is to see if there’s any mention of Bobke needing to shave his head, since we raised $5000 on his LiveStrong Challenge page yesterday.
Will we get the publicity we so richly deserve? We’ll find out soon.
Or soonish, anyway.
3:05 Paul’s interviewing Lance about yesterday’s stage. Lance sounds really hoarse.
Also, Lance is wearing enormous sunglasses.
I will not relate the substance of the interview, because there was none.
3:06 Of course we’re going to ads. A good time to see what’s going on at the cycling sites that have actual expertise.
Right now, there’s a group of 4 with a gap of 5ish minutes on the peloton.
3:11 White, Mollema, Vandborg, Mollema in the lead group.
3:12 Leipheimer touches his front wheel to Armstrong’s back. He goes down hard and causes a pileup.
Leipheimer hops back up and gets going again, hoping nobody saw him.
And I’m sure nobody did.
3:14 By "he goes down hard" I mean Leipheimer goes down. Armstrong stayed up, because there were no renegade musettes on the attack.
3:15 Mollema — one of the guys in the lead group — is with Rabobank. Have you noticed Rabobank has someone in every single breakaway in this tour?
You know why, right? It’s because they want us to say "Rabobank Rabobank Rabobank!"
3:16 What’s kind of sad about the TV coverage today is that it started right as the race finishes the second — and last — of the climbs.
3:17 So we get to watch everyone descend and then ride on the flats in the rain for a couple hours.
I expect we’ll find a way to entertain ourselves.
3:18 Hummer goes into commercial talking about the Leipheimer crash, saying, "Leipheimer is in a crash he caused himself! How much will it affect him? We’ll find out when we come back."
I hereby promise to donate $500 to the Bob Roll LiveStrong Challenge if Hummer finds out anything about how the crash is affecting Leipheimer when they come back from break.
3:21 Well, whaddaya know. They don’t seem to be describing anything about how the crash has affected Leipheimer.
3:22 Doesn’t seem to be raining on the lead group, which is only 5 minutes in front. Weird that the weather is so different in such a short distance.
3:24 Phil and Paul are talking about how the lead group isn’t going to last. With the big flat, I’d have to agree.
3:25 Bob’s interviewing Lance. LANCE, ASK HIM ABOUT SHAVING HIS HEAD!
He didn’t ask.
3:26 Phil and Paul are talking about how relaxed Lance is, and how he’s spending all his time fighting cancer. But you know what else they should talk about? How about how BOB EARNED $5000 for LiveStrong yesterday and NOW HE’S GOT TO SHAVE HIS HEAD.
Sorry. I’ll take a pill.
3:28 Breakaway gap is down to 4:30. Will it last? No it won’t.
Have I been successful in predicting race outcomes as I liveblog? No, I haven’t.
3:29 And we’re off to ads.
It’s an ad for a gizmo that makes things louder. But the thing is, that guy’s wife is such a nag, I’d expect him to want something that makes things much, much quieter.
Oh, you can use it to eavesdrop, too! That’s an actual selling point they’re describing.
And it costs $15. So you know it delivers top-notch audio.
3:32 I’ve lost my internet connection. Yay!
3:33 I’ve got my internet connection back. Yay!
3:34 Phil and Paul are describing how bad the weather has been, and that Leipheimer has said it’s been like stepping into a shower, turning it on cold, full blast, and standing there for four hours.
Yeah, whatever. I do that every single day.
3:35 A shot of Astana leading the Peloton…and we’re out to ads.
The lead ad here is for some product that gets rid of malware. It’s only for PCs, which is hilarious in light of the fact that the computer shown more than any other on the ad is a prior-generation iMac.
Well, there’s your problem, dude.
And then an Enzyte commercial. Which I am officially sick of.
3:36 Does anyone know of an awesome remedy for a lingering cold?
Hummer talks about how tomorrow is going to be spent mostly above the 2000 foot level. Um, I’d have to descend 3000 feet to get that high.
3:40 Hummer says it looks like some of the non-Astana teams "are getting anxious." Phil tells him ever-so-politely that he’s totally wrong.
3:41 Hummer points out that "a columbia rider is breaking wind."
Heh. Breaking wind.
3:42 Paul says that Thor is a warrior for whom it is important to take any shot he’s got.
OK. Good to know.
3:43 Hummer just said something I couldn’t figure out. he waits for Phil or Paul to respond. They do not, because I don’t think they could figure out what Craig said either.
So he goes to commercial!
3:45 "ITT Tech is education for the future." Do they teach you how to build phasers? Flying cars? How to use a light saber?
3:47 Hummer promotes the ToC Fantasy game. Here’s my fantasy: that I’m good enough to ride in the ToC.
Like I said: fantasy.
3:48 So, presuming this comes down to a sprint, who’s going to win?
My money’s on Cipollini.
3:49 You know what that comedian girl should do to be funny? Armpit noises. Armpit noises are hilarious. Joking about a GPs can also be hilarious, but it wasn’t in this instance.
3:50 Susan says, "As much as I like to root for breakaways, today I want a sprint finish."
So let it be written, so let it be done.
3:51 And we’re at ads. I am going to take a short nap.
3:55 Hummer just reported the gap as being at 5 minutes. Which is useful information. Kudos, Hummer!
3:56 Bob talks with Hummer. We can’t see Bob. Perhaps his head is already shaved and it’s just too, too hideous for television?
3:57 This tour has brought a bunch of guys I was excited to see race against each other: Basso, Landis, Hamilton. So where are those guys?
3:58 Lizzylou notes "cycling.tv just stated that Armstrong is getting daily fines from UCI because of his non-conformity in attire." This makes sense to me — he’s constantly got LiveStrong / Mellow Johnny’s stuff covering his Astana gear. I have mistaken him for the yellow jersey like a thousand times during this race.
Dude, when you’re on the clock, wear the uniform.
Chuck just emailed me saying he’s doing what he can to get us some airtime, but the guys in the editing room are tough nuts to crack.
Editing room guys: give us some airtime and I’ll send you free Fat Cyclist T-shirts.
Really, what more could you want?
4:04 Hummer relates the boxing term, "Down goes XXXX" to "Down goes Leipheimer." Phil punches in Hummer in the throat, and down goes Hummer.
I can dream, right?
4:05 Hummer asks Phil and Paul MC-Hammer trivia. Yes, really.
Paul delivers a spin-kick to Hummer’s head, while Phil prepares a bonesaw to dispose of the body.
OK, that was out of line. I’m going to go take a pill.
Yes, another one.
4:08 Time gap is 4:20.
4:09 For a doomed breakaway like this, does anyone have an idea of what the breakaway riders are thinking as they churn along in their doomed way? So hard, yet so thankless.
That was not a comedy quesion. I really want to know.
4:10 Gap is down to less than 4 minutes now. Really, they’ve gained 30 seconds in a minute? Is that even possible? Did the lead group stop and buy snacks at a convenience store?
Did you know ITT Tech has a criminal justice school? I’ll bet 95% of the people taking that class are doing it with an eye toward writing their hardboiled CSI script.
4:14 Astana still leading the peloton, behind the lead group at 3:20. Phil is pretending to think that it’s possible that the lead group will stay in front. Paul says, "Pish posh."
OK he doesn’t really say that. But I wish he would.
4:15 What, it’s a 3:45 gap? The timing random number generator is in fine form today.
4:16 Instead of 2 laps around the city block in Modesta, they’re just going to have one. Which means the peloton has that much less time to start reeling in the lead group.
4:20 Ads. I’m spending the time to watch an MC Hammer video. I recommend you do the same.
4:23 Recapping the early part of the stage. You know, the good part. The part that came before the television coverage.
Hey, I have a cold. I’m aloud to be a crybaby.
4:24 Velonews predicts the break will be pulled in at the 9-mile mark.
4:26 Hummer asks a question. Phil chuckles and pats Hummer on the head, then puts a snausage on Hummer’s nose.
4:27 I’m pretty sure that in this montage on Cavendish they just totally let him slip the word "a–hole" slip through. Oops.
4:29 I’m cranky today. Does it show?
4:30 Only a 3:20 gap. Columbia/High Road is starting to help with the pulling.
That eHarmony couple is just evil. They must be stopped.
4:35 Gap’s down to 3 minutes. Now would be a perfect time for the lead group to pull off the road, hide their bikes, and wait for the rest of the peloton to come by, at which point they could jump out from behind a telephone pole (cyclists are very skinny) and yell "boo!"
Or they could stretch very strong, but thin, line across the road. Either way: hilarious.
4:38 Phil reports a lack of enthusiasm problem with the peloton.
Chin up, peloton!
4:39 Gap’s down to 2:45. So the lack of enthusiasm doesn’t seem to be getting in the way of the peloton doing their job. However listlessly.
4:40 It’s raining again.
4:42 It’s time for ads. ITT Tech. They’re talking about the construction industry. The announcer says of the idyllic community, "Bonds are built."
The problem is, he’s kind of sloppy with the way he says "bonds." Sounds more like "bombs."
Which changes the meaning of the sentence a lot.
4:46 The lead group continuing to lose time. Gap of 2:25.
4:47 There’s Bob Roll, interviewing Cavendish. Bob still has hair. With any luck, this will be the last day we see him that way.
4:49 The camera stays on Cavendish, long long after anyone has anything to say about him.
Paul asks Hummer why Modesto is named Modesto, and Hummer knows the answer!
So that’s why they have Hummer along. Just in case a game of Trivial Pursuit breaks out.
4:50 Gap of 2:05, with 20 miles to go. Phil seems unconvinced that the peloton will catch the lead group.
I do not share Phil’s concern.
4:52 Has anyone else noticed that Hummer uses a different voice when he’s doing his "transitioning to commercial" announcing? He sounds so excited. I believe it’s his favorite part of the job.
4:55 What? They’re not going to show the finish? Oh, that’s awesome, Versus. Very good executive decision you made there.
Really, when you broadcast a flat, boring stage with a sprint finish, nobody’s really interested in how the stage ends anyways.
4:58 So, for those of you who — like me — have been watching on TV, you’ll probably want to go ahead and open a browser to:
I’m heading there now.
Hockey’s more important than a stage finish anyway.
5:01 Um, who are the guys announcing on http://tracker.amgentourofcalifornia.com/ anyway? They don’t seem to be aware that we can hear them.
5:07 Gap’s down to 1:40
5:10 The peloton is stretching out at the front end. Gap’s down to one minute.
So does anyone think the lead group will survive?
5:12 Frankie says the peloton is going 28 mph while the lead group is going 24.
5:13 Velonews play-by-play makes a good jab: "Hey, for you Versus viewers out there, how’s that hockey game?"
I fear for my Tour de France stage ends.
5:15 The gap’s down to 30 seconds and the team cars are pulling out of the way. Nice try, lead group!
5:16 Louder attacks. White and Vandbourg drop off the back.
5:17 Now it’s just Louder and Mollema. Louder working hard. How can you not root for him?
But it’s not going to happen. I don’t think you can maintain this pace for 8 miles.
5:18 Louder and Mollema are working well together. But there’s Mollema, softpedaling. It’s over, they just don’t know it.
5:20 Vandbourg sucked into the peloton (and probably shot out the back — hard to tell on my teeny tiny laptop with crummy streaming video, thanks Versus!)
5:21 Frankie is unequivocal: "They’re not going to make it."
5:22: Gap of 12 seconds. Mollema jumps. I hereby call it the jump of doom.
Louder catches him and sits in, resting for a second. Count on Louder jumping in a moment.
Cuz, why not?
5:23 You can see the peloton behind Mollema and Louder. They’ve sat up. Kudos for the try, guys.
5:24 And now it’s the sprinter’s turn. I can never tell who’s who or who wins in these chaotic things.
What kind of person can even do one of these mass sprints? I would poop myself.
5:25 You know, you’re going to get better reporting by going somewhere else for the next few minutes. CyclingNews or VeloNews. Come back afterward.
5:26 I wonder how that hockey game is going?
And it’s Thor Hushovd!
I wish I would have been able to see that sprint on something bigger than a postage stamp. You know, like on my high-def 50" plasma.
5:29 I don’t think this changes much at the top of the GC standings.
Replay of the sprint shows Hushovd like about three miles ahead of everyone else. Beautiful lead-out.
5:32 As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t fault Versus at all for when they can’t get a signal. But when they cut away from THE MAIN REASON TO WATCH THE WHOLE STAGE, well, yes. I need a name of someone to blame, please.
Let’s end with a nice shot Scot got…of Bob protecting Levi from the rain.
Bob’s looking kind of wistful, as if he were contemplating how he’s going to look without his hair.
Hey, let’s kick today’s post off with an awesome piece of news.
If we raise $5000 on Bob Roll’s LiveStrong Challenge page by the end of the Tour of California, Bob will shave his head.
Click here to donate, or read on for details.
Here’s How It Happened
I talked to Chuck Ibis (Scot Nicol of Ibis, the guy who made it possible for us to give away the Silk Carbon SL last year) a couple of days ago and told him that Bob Roll needs to shave his head — get rid of that fluff on top.
“Give him a reason to,” said Chuck.
So I said, “How about this. We’ll set him up a LiveStrong Challenge page (on Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting for Susan of course). If we raise $5,000 on his page before the end of the Tour of California, Bob shaves his head.
Scot ran the idea by Bob. Bob didn’t bat an eye. He’s in.
So, yes, as of right now, Bob Roll is a member of Team Fatty (which, I’d like to point out, is currently the top fundraising team in all four event cities).
Let’s get to $5,000 today, so we can get that head shaved ASAP.
Bonus: Scot is looking into the possibility of having Bob (and maybe Phil and Paul) mentioning this challenge on the air. And if we see Bob — cleanshaven — doing one of his interviews, well, that’s worth a donation right there, right?
Click here to go donate right now.
Late Night Update
Some pretty exciting stuff has happened since I originally posted this, so I thought I’d give you an update.
- As of 11:55pm ET, we’ve raised $2183. We’re almost halfway there!
- A number of people have linked to this post via Twitter, including Lance and Doug Ulman, CEO of LiveStrong. Very, very cool. I guess I’m not the only one who likes the idea of Bob shaving his head.
- BikeRadar has a story up about this, too. Thanks, BikeRadar!
You should know that Scot is talking with folks about Bob (and others?) doing something on-screen if we can make this happen. He’s also talking about there being some not-for-sale, can’t-get-it-no-matter-how-bad-you-want-it prizes to be awarded to random contributors. Scot’s sworn me to secrecy until he gets things firmed up, but you’ll have to trust me that it’s worth donating a few bucks.
And not just because you’ll have the pleasure of knowing that part of why Bob’s head is shaved is because of you.
And Now, The Tour of California LiveBlog: Stage 2, Sausalito – Santa Cruz
10:29 Infomercial for Humana. I wonder how much it costs to buy an infomercial. I want an informercial.
10:31 While Phil and Paul recap, I’d like to call attention to something Paula in Boston pointed out. If you take a look at this CyclingNews photo of Mancebo crossing the finish line yesterday, you can quite clearly see that the word “DEAD” is written across his crotch.
Paula wants to know, “Why does Mancebo have the word “DEAD” written against his crotch?”
The answer, Paula, can be found on Rock Racing’s new home page. It proclaims “ROCKS NOT DEAD.” Which makes me wonder why they think that rocks were ever alive.
Regardless, when a rider wears a jacket, the “ROCKS NOT” gets covered up, and the entirely different message — that Mancebo’s crotch is dead — is revealed.
10:38 I’m so pleased that we jumped straight into the racing today.
10:39 Commenter Hat wants to know, whether Bob Roll will shave just the fin or the whole head. All I’m asking for at this time is the fin up top. Once we get to $5000, perhaps we can set a new goal, in exchange for which he shaves his whole head.
10:41 I’ve got to say, it’s pretty awesome to see guys racing across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Kind of fitting that it’s rainy and foggy.
10:47 I just got off the phone with Chuck, and he’s got some great prizes in mind for people who donate. Stuff that can’t be bought anywhere and that any cyclist would kill for. And no, it’s not donated by Amgen.
I’ll reveal what the prizes are as soon as Chuck’s got things finalized. For now, I will just say that you definitely will want to donate to Bob’s page.
10:50 Rabobank rider is off the front. Impossible to tell who, courtesy of rain on camera lenses.
10:55: Yay, ads.
10:55 So if I understand right, there’s a group about 1:30 off the front. Let me be a crazy, wild-eyed conspiracy theorist for a second and predict that they’ll be caught toward the end of the stage and the sprinters will contest the finish line.
I know. Insane.
11:01: First bonus coming up. 10 guys up front.
Annnd… Nierman gets the sprint.
Who is Nierman?
11:04: According to CyclingNews’ liveblog (because I am far, far too lazy to type the names myself), the guys up front are: Jason Mccartney (Team Saxo Bank), Steven Cozza, Thomas Peterson (Garmin – Slipstream), Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), Stef Clement, Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team), Cameron Evans (OUCH p/b Maxxis), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling), Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1).
11:06 Phil and Paul see this breakaway as having a good chance of making it. I dunno, though. Two longish (but easy) climbs coming up. Can they really ride at the same rate as each other for two big climbs.
11:09 The gap is up to 2:40.
11:11 Phil and Paul just went over the GC standings. I’m not a big fan of the way the final 2 laps around town yesterday didn’t count, making it so that Leipheimer, Zabriskie, and Armstrong retain their standings.
11:12: Any chance there’ll be any sun at all during this tour?
11:13 Listening to Phil explain to Hummer how stage racing works. I have to say, Phil does a beautiful job. Phil and Paul are simply fun to listen to. Don’t know how they do it.
11:15: Ad time.
11:19 Lead group now out in front with 3 minutes.
11:21 Rock Racing is riding up front of the peloton. As the camera in front of them points back, you can see that they all have DEAD crotches.
11:22 Oh no, everyone’s picking up musettes. Armstrong had better watch out: you never know when one of those things might attack.
11:23 Paul’s talking about “racing capes.” He means jackets, right? Am I allowed to start calling my jackets “capes,” now?
Even better, am I allowed to wear an actual cape when I ride?
11:25 The lead group is now 3:30ish ahead of the peloton. And the peloton’s all like “OK, fine. Just go.”
11:26 And then the lead group is all like, “OK, we’re going.”
11:27 And so the peloton’s saying, “So, go then.”
11:28 And the chase group says, “OK, I’m gone.”
11:29 And then the ads say, “Hey, it’s our turn!”
11:30 Hat suggests, “Maybe that “dead” is some sort of odd sales pitch for Enzite.” Brilliant!
Do you suppose that guy who plays “Bob” in those commercials gets stopped on the street often, asked for his photograph doing that smile?
11:31 Craig Hummer hopes I’m enjoying the Vs coverage this Presidents’ day. Thanks, Craig. I am enjoying it.
11:32 The road actually looks dry. The riders have got to love that. How spooky would it be to ride at race pace with such a large group on wet slick roads for days on end.
11:34 The road the lead group is climbing totally looks like the roads I used to climb back in Washington. Big trees, lots of green everywhere. Man, sometimes I miss WA.
11:35 Roads are wet again. Lotsa leaves on the road. Those, I can promise you, are slick. If you hit one of those as you’re doing a standing climb, you can zzzzip your tires and down you go.
11:37 I believe Craig Hummer frequently starts his sentences without knowing how they’re going to end.
11:38 Either it’s really dark out or someone needs to reset his white balance.
11:41 Peloton’s starting to break up. Hamilton’s pulling hard, and riders are remembering that this nice kid can be as mean as hell when he’s riding.
11:45 So this climb is pretty mild — 1500 feet of climbing over 6 miles.
11:46 Craig’s looking at the waves and doing what he can to turn the conversation to surfing. Phil pats Craig on the head.
11:51 OK, back from a bathroom break. I know, TMI. What did I miss? Just another Enzyte commercial? OK.
11:52 Speaking of Enzyte commercials, those are definitely the most prevalant ads during this race. Question: why?
11:53 Weirdest Craig Hummer moment so far. He’s rambling, then says, “this reminds me of a song…” and then says nothing at all for about 15 seconds.
He then introduces a clip, where the audio doesn’t match the video and seems like a weird dub in.
Worse, the guy in the clip says, “When you’re a cancer survivor, every day’s a good day.” Which, besides being cliche, is simply not true.
11:56 Just checked Bob Roll’s Team Fatty LiveStrong page: he’s earned $215 so far. A great start!
11:58 Brandy points out that in addition to DEAD CROTCHES, Rock Racing has some very angry knickers. Check out the photo: http://tinyurl.com/bgknzk.
12:00 The VS comedian girl was just on, with her pretending to pick up on a racer as he rode on his rollers. The thing is, the audio and video were off, so it looked like the racer had the female comedian’s voice. It was peculiar, but still not funny. Keep trying, Vs comedian girl!
12:02 Vs has lost picture again — for the same reason the picture was gone for half of yesterday’s race.
12:03 Bob’s asking Jim Birrell about why they neutralized the circuits. It was for the safety of the riders, says Jim.
Hey, that’s what helmets are for, man.
12:04 In the absence of cameras being able to broadcast, we now see Paul, Phil, and Craig Hummer standing, talking, and desperately recapping.
Craig needs to iron his shirt
12:05 Congratulations to KanyonKris for hitting his LiveStrong Leg Shaving Challenge goal: $667. Check out his blog for hilarious photos.
12:08 Rain is predicted for pretty much the entire tour. I asked Chuck last night whether we can expect camera signal loss like this a lot. He sayd, “Yes.”
In other words, the announcers have considerable tap-dancing ahead of them for the next several days.
12:10 Just in case you’re tangentially interested in the race itself, (Vs not currently talking about what’s happening on the course), CyclingNews reports the peloton is 4:05 behind the lead group.
12:12 Johan’s Twitter feed has been strangely silent for the past hour. His last post is just that “There are no race favorites in the breakaway.” Meaning that as far as he’s concerned, they’re welcome to go on ahead?
12:15 Question: If Bob Roll were going to mispronounce “Tour of California” a la Tour DAY France, what would it sound like?
12:18 I am no longer announcing whenever it’s ad time, because they have successfully beat me down.
But yes, it’s ad time.
12:19 You know, I need to admit that I would probably do a terrible job of announcing when there’s nothing to announce. Probably worse than Hummer.
12:21 Roll interviews Armstrong. Between the LiveStrong helmet, LiveStrong jacket, LiveStrong glasses, and Mellow Johnny’s bike hat, it’s not especially easy to tell that Armstrong races for Astana. As in, there is no physical evidence of it on camera.
Not that I’m complaining.
12:26 You know, I am ridiculously sick today. I am not certain that I am making any sense at all.
This set of ads is for hair growth, ITT-Tech, and snake-oil malware remedies. This must have been a really cheap ad block to buy.
12:28 We’ve hit $390 on the “Shave Bob Roll’s Head” challenge today. As a reminder, if we can hit $5000 before the end of the tour, Bob Roll will shave the fin off the top of his head. And there will be other cool prizes for folks who donate — stuff I can’t mention, but which you will definitely want.
12:30 Bob interviews Leipheimer. Leipheimer gives Horner credit for figuring out what to do in yesterday’s stage.
12:31 Dead air for 15 seconds. Everyone wracks their brains. There must be something to say!
12:34 You know it’s too bad we can’t see anything right now, because from what I understand of where the race is right now — a wet downhill with a lot of debris on the road due to wind and rain — there are bound to be a buncha flats and near misses. It’s got to be pretty spooky.
12:36 And we have photos again!
Lead’s down to about 4:30. The lead group is still all together.
No way will the peloton let the lead stay that big, right?
12:38 Is there anyone out there who actually follows pro racing who has a good sense of who the likely winner would be from the lead group?
12:40 Have I really been liveblogging for more than two hours? I wonder if the management knows that I start getting my overtime rate after two hours of liveblogging.
12:42 I’m taking a little break to get Susan something to eat and help her come out into the family room where I’m watching this. Back in a few!
1:22 I’ve moved Susan to the family room, gotten her and me some lunch, and have taken an entire box of DayQuil. So now I’m back, ready for some more semi-coherent, brain-addled liveblogging.
1:23 So what did I miss?
Evidently not much. The same gang of 10 continues to lead.
1:24 Oh, this is choice. Phil just mentioned that ARMSTRONG HAS COLLIDED WITH A MOTORCYCLE and Vs of course interrupts with…an ad.
1:25 Now we’re back, and nobody is talking any longer about Armstrong’s crash. Uh, this seems like something worth bringing up again, felllas?
Gap is about 5 minutes.
1:26 Evidently there was a massive pileup — 15 riders and a parked car. So, two crashes:
- Armstrong hit by a race photographer’s motorcycle, he’s on a spare.
- 15-bike pileup, with one rider winding up under a parked car.
So, let’s celebrate with some ads!
1:29 Seems to me that this crash could be just what the lead group needs to make this breakaway stick.
1:31 If people are crashing on this wide, flat straightway, what’s the big downhill push to the finish going to be like?
1:33 Gap is down to 4:31. Are there any really great climbers in the lead group? How about descenders?
1:34 Or is it that the gap is at 5 minutes? I believe the race radio is being sponsored by www.random.org.
1:40 Let’s play a game of “Craig Hummer Keeps You Hydrated.” Anytime Craig rephrases what Phil or Paul just said, take a drink of water.
Don’t play this game if you’re not close to a toilet.
1:41 Paul doesn’t think the lead group is going to hold. I side with Paul on this one.
But just in case the lead group does survive, who should I be rooting for?
1:43 Hummer recaps what Phil and Paul just mentioned about Lance changing clothes. Drink!
1:45 Armstrong — very briefly — appears in Astana blue. Then he puts his yellow vest on, while riding. If I were to try that, I would crash and die.
1:46 Andy Jacques-Maynes — the Bissell guy who wound up under a car — is on his way to a hospital. Man, that sucks.
1:47 Is that an Astana guy riding with a Camelbak? Are those allowed?
1:52 I just got a UPS package: 2 Mary Bars, sent to me from Thom at Unreal Cycles. Thanks, Thom!
1:54 Susan’s nurse is here. Gotta pay attention to her for a while. Back when she’s gone.
2:20 OK, I’m back. Nurse says things are going well for Susan — oxygen levels are good, a sore Susan’s had on her heel is getting better. I think Susan’s getting my cold, though. Yech.
2:21 Once you’ve walked away from a race, it’s hard to figure out what’s changed.
2:22 Looks like those guys are wishing they hadn’t ditched all their wet weather gear.
2:23 Looks like Leipheimer’s trying to bridge to the lead group, solo? That is a hardcore move.
2:28: Place your bets. Will Leipheimer catch the current stage leader, Barredo? Or is that even the objective?
2:30 Barredo has been rejoined and passed by Peterson and McCartney.
Leipheimer’s caught Barredo.
I am now officially rooting for Leipheimer.
2:32 Paul calls Leipheimer’s move “grandiose.” Sure, let’s go with that.
Leipheimer catches Peterson and McCartney. Peterson hangs on.
2:33 Peterson tells Leipheimer that he can arrange to get Leipheimer an “all you can eat burrito card” if Leipheimer will back off.
Leipheimer considers the deliciousness that is Chipotle.
Oh good, we break away from this incredible race to show the finish lines and some scenic panoramas.
2:35 OK, I want to make something clear. I don’t fault VS for the camera problems they’re having. The weather is making good signal impossible. When they can get a signal, they’re giving great coverage.
And as for the race itself: awesome. Seriously, Mancebo’s victory yesterday, Leipheimer’s wicked (grandiose?) bridge today? Cancellera’s awesome prologue win, following by an abandon?
This is a very dramatic and exciting race. I am really enjoying the Tour of California so far.
2:37 Ads! OK, since I just got all lovey-dovey over VS and their coverage, I suppose I should also allow them to want to make a profit in their business.
Besides, I need to go make (late) lunch for the kids.
2:45 Lunch is made. Twins are fed.
2:46 Peterson is hanging on to Leipheimer. Leipheimer seems to be willing to do all the pulling. Laying it all on the line.
I love blunt-force racing.
2:47 Fattier (nice name) asks, “Fatty, if you had a Tour team, which fast-food restaurant would be the title sponsor? You could find something better than Chipotle I assume…” Well, it would probably be Lone Star Tacqueria, a local place that has the best fish tacos of … well, just about anywhere.
2:50 I’m pretty sure Hummer just said that Leipheimer is “the virtual leader in France.” Is it possible that Craig thinks he’s commentating the TdF right now?
2:51 I dunno. It looks like Leipheimer’s about to ride Peterson off his wheel. Is there a better feeling in the whole world than doing that?
2:52 No, Peterson’s hanging on.
They’re now at the bottom of the descent and in into the home stretch. Leipheimer’s doing all the pulling. He doesn’t care that much about getting the stage, but really — according to me — Peterson is kind of a jerk if he pips Leipheimer at the finish line after Leipheimer did all the work.
I know, that’s not the way things work.
2:53 Question of the moment: If you were Peterson, would you take the stage win after being sucked along by Leipheimer like this? Or would you let it go?
2:57 Or do you think that Leipheimer has the legs to take the stage anyway?
2:58 Suns out and the roads are dry at the finish line.
I’d like to take this moment to acknowledge that my assertion that this race would go to the sprinters was both wrongheaded and stupid.
2:59 There goes Peterson. Leipheimer lets him go.
Chasing group is not more than a minute behind.
3:00 OK, the chasing group is about 1:40 behind. I admit I was wrong yet again.
Mancebo was far enough behind that he’ll lose that jersey to Leipheimer.
3:02 I wonder if, considering the effort he just made to get it, if Leipheimer will be willing to give up the yellow jersey for the rest of the race. The ToC isn’t like the TdF — it’s not weeks and weeks long. If you lose the jersey early in the race, you don’t have weeks to get it back.
3:05 And it’s time for ads.
3:07 Chuck sends in a photo of what it looks like in the editing room:
3:10 Leipheimer gets on stage to pick up the yellow jersey. Yay Levi! He worked for that one.
Leipheimer embarrassedly apologizes to the podium girls for not having shaved his face before getting the customary kiss. Dude’s polite.
3:12 Bob with Levi. Levi says the move wasn’t premeditated. Says it was an “old school Bob Roll move.” Took off because he didn’t want to be cold. Ha.
3:13 Man, I’ve been here forever. Thanks for reading.
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.
This year’s Tour of California is maybe the most exciting race to happen in at least three months. Maybe longer, but at least three months. Let’s not quibble about the time period. That’s not what this is about.
What this is about, however, is the fact that Landis, Hamilton, Armstrong and Basso are all racing against each other for the next several days. And frankly I never expected to see that happen again.
So hey. I think I’ll liveblog it.
3:04: What? Craig Hummer is alongside Phil and Paul? Where is Al Trautwig?! I DEMAND AL TRAUTWIG.
3:06: Phil’s going through the who’s who. He reveals that Armstrong being here is a big deal. This, my friends, is why Phil’s perspective is so crucial.
3:08: First commercials. Here’s where we get to find out what ads we’re going to see over and over and over and over and over for the next ten days.
3:09: We start out with an Amgen ad. That makes sense, but why should Amgen advertise to a bunch of cyclists? It makes no sense. It’s not like cyclists are a target audience for their products, are we? Oh.
3:10: Ads for Sears, The Watchmen (very excited for that film), and Las Vegas follow. I’m looking forward to coming to loathe each of these commercials over the next several days.
3:11: Now let’s learn about the route. Except we’re not seeing the route. We’re seeing pictures of the sea and the state capitol and mountains. Nobody learns anything from these route previews. Is Versus required by law to do this kind of preview?
3:13: When Paul says a stage “showcases the beauty of the whosamawassit valley,” do you suppose anyone in the world besides the person who’s job it is to make sure the Tour talks about how beautiful California is buys in?
3:15: “Sadly I have to agree with Phil,” says Paul. Paul, don’t be sad. I’m sad when you’re sad.
3:17: An ad from Rabobank? I had no idea that it even had branches in the US. Which means I just learned something from an ad.
3:18: The twins are now saying “Rabobank Rabobank Rabobank” over and over, and giggling hysterically. I never knew before what a funny word that is. But it is. Try saying it out loud, several times. It sounds like something the Hamburgler would say.
3:19: PureSleep is evidently a mouthpiece that smothers you so you stop snoring. Just ordered one; Kenny’s birthday present is now taken care of.
3:20: Oh good! A little bit of background about this new racer guy known as “Lance Armstrong!” I think we’ll hear more from this youngster someday.
3:21: Ha. A quick cut away from the Lancefest to briefly show a racer. But then the executive decision is made: the Lance montage is more important than the race.
3:23: And now, Levi is selling us some California.
3:24: “I’m a vegetarian because I love animals.” That’s funny, I’m a meat eater for the exact same reason!
3:25: Here’s an interesting bit of inside information. Chuck Ibis himself is working behind the scenes at the Tour of California. He’s mentioned to me that he might do some Twittering during the race. He hasn’t started yet, but hopefully we’ll see some interesting insights and hilarity here: http://twitter.com/chuck_i .
3:26: Craig Hummer just said of the Garmin/Slipstream Team: “They’re not just here to stay, they’re here to win.” A Jab at Rock Racing?
3:32: Floyd’s turn to be talked about. Nobody is talking about the suspension. Versus evidently taking the “Let bygones be bygones” approach. Good.
3:36: OK, I’ve been here for more than half an hour and have seen no racing, but I believe we’re into the seventh commercial break. I sure am glad I tuned in live.
3:37: Next stage, I Tivo-blog. And I don’t start watching until at least 90 minutes has elapsed.
3:38: So evidently they hired someone named Rasika to do little comedy pieces, acting like she has no idea about cycling. That’s hilarious! Except it wasn’t.
3:39: And now Mark Cavendish is making coffee. And riding. And petting a dog. And speaking in an adorable accent.
3:42: Rabobank Rabobank Rabobank!
3:43: More ads, after which we are promised more about Lance Armstrong! Here’s the thing. I actually decided to watch this race because I am interested in Armstrong’s comeback. However, as I face the likelihood that I will have watched a full hour of fluff before I see any racing at all, my enthusiasm for this comeback is fading fast.
3:46: Yeah, Craig, I’ll be sure to watch that hockey game. I’ll set the Tivo to record it right after the bullriding event.
3:47: I still find it jarring to see Armstrong in an Astana jersey.
3:48: It makes me glad to hear Armstrong say that he’s here to be a domestique for Leipheimer.
3:49: Oh, good. More ads. I haven’t seen ads since six minutes ago.
3:51: I wonder how much it would cost for me to buy a 30-second TV ad? $50? $100?
3:52: I would love to see Zabriskie win the prologue today.
3:53: Hey, there’s Bob Roll. Hi, Bob! Your voice is cracking. Also, it’s time for you to get rid of that little fin of hair on the top of your head.
3:55: Magically, we are now watching the race, pretty darned far in progress. I’m not at all disappointed in the fact that I’ve watched an hour of fluff instead of the race that I tuned in for. Al Trautwig would never have stood for this, I’ll tell you that much.
3:57: More commercials. Makes sense. It’s been almost five minutes.
4:00: Only one comment so far (thanks, solidjack!). Which means I’m mostly doing this for myself. Yay for me doing stuff for myself!
4:01: Floyd’s being interviewed. His focus is to make sure his hip is good. Has he seen the race roster? Why yes he has. Nice interview, Mr. Roll. Versus is certainly getting his money’s worth out of Bob today.
4:03: Andy Jacques-Maynes racing for the Bissel squad. I had no idea any vacuum cleaner manufacturer had a pro team. I hereby assert that my next vacuum cleaner will be a Bissel. If they’re on sale.
4:06: A Tempurpedic mattress ad. To me, those mattresses look terrible, like you just sink into and are eventually suffocated by them. Anyone else out there terrified of Tempurpedic beds?
4;08: Tyler Farrar (Slipstream) racing now. It looks like he’s wearing a sleeveless jersey — with “Garmin” actually magic-markered on his arm. I’m not the only one to notice that, right? Also, people are wearing coats outside. What’s with the sleeveless jersey? Looking to impress the ladies with your vestigial arms?
4:10: Wow, I’m really interested in what Patrick Dempsey thinks. He just listed some of the people in the race, and says he’s starstruck by them. Which is incredible. I mean, that a VERY IMPORTANT TELEVISION STAR would be starstruck by athletes. That’s just crazy.
4:12: Oh, Tyler’s not wearing a sleeveless jersey. It’s just that the long-sleeve jersey has an argyle diamond that’s very flesh colored. And Tyler’s now in fifth place. Nice work, Tyler.
4:14: Has anyone seen any “Keirin Cut Jeans” chalkings on the road yet? I’m curious as to whether Beth’s campaign is working.
4:15: And here comes Chris Baldwin with Rock Racing. I believe he is wearing the jersey of the day: Crusifixion in Black And White With Just a Smidgen of Revenge. Buy yours today! Only $13,000.00. Cheap!
4:19: Bob Roll asks Lance what he thinks of the race roster in the Tour of California. Is Rob only allowed to ask this single question? Is it possible that anyone in the universe could do a worse job of asking these guys questions?
4:21: Oscar Freire is on the course. Racing for Rabobank. Rabobank! Rabobank! Rabobank!
4:24: A shot of Fabian Cancellera, warming up and wearing sparkly gold sunglasses. I don’t believe that I could pull that look off.
4:25: You know what this bike race needs? More ads!
4:28: Astute commenter BornFelt asks, “Have you heard that Lance is coming back? Who knew?” It’s an intriguing question, BornFelt, and I will look into it.
4:29: Tom Zirbel rides for Bissel! Zirbel for Bissel! Bissel’s Zirbel! Rabobank Rabobank Rabobank!
4:30: Team Jelly Belly’s team car is a Lexus. Which raises the question: who approved the Jelly Belly color scheme on a Lexus?
4:31: Bob Roll asks Tyler Hamilton if he wants to race fast. Hamilton punches Bob Roll in the throat. Hamilton’s changed. By the way, I made the part about Hamilton punching Bob Roll in the throat. But not the rest.
4:33: An ad for the Monster energy drink. Followed by a Pizza Hut ad. I believe those two things would go great together.
And now, back-to-back Enzyte commercials. TV now on mute.
4:35: Thor Hushovd is now in first. Go Thor!
4:36: Hincapie out of the starting gate. Here’s a question. Is there a single person in the whole world who doesn’t think George is a great guy?
4:37: Hamilton out of the gate. Paul makes fun of his position. I find myself unable to not root for Hamilton. In spite of his team.
4:38: And Zabriskie’s out of the gate. I wonder what kind of chamois cream he’s using?
4:39: Crowd goes wild as Armstrong goes down the ramp. Armstrong does a bunch of standing as he rides.
4:40: Hincapie coming down the home stretch. 2nd place by .21 seconds. Nice try, George.
4:41: Here comes Hamilton. 64th place.
4:42: Basso out of the gate. You know, this is not a particularly weak field at this race.
Zabriskie is now in first! Remember when earlier I said I’d love to have Zabriskie win this prologue?
4:43: Here comes Lance. Gonna beat Zabriskie? No way. 7th place. He should be able to give Leipheimer some good beta from that.
4:44: Landis is out.
Vandevelde on his way in. 19th place.
4:45: Leipheimer out of the gate. That guy looks focused.
Cancellera takes first, with a 2.X advantage. He must not have known about how I wanted Zabriskie to win.
4:46: Basso coming down the home stretch. finishes in millionth place.
4:47: Here’s Michael Rogers. 3rd place. Nice.
Here comes Floyd. C’mon Floyd.
He’s not even close. He finished in the top 100, I think.
4:49: Here comes Leipheimer. 2nd, with a 1.2 second deficit. A good prologue for him. Strategically perfect, really.
I have just discovered that it’s just as easy to liveblog as to simply watch TV. So I think I’ll do this for at least a few more stages.
Hey, let’s see how they wrap this up. Maybe Bob Roll will have some more awesome interviews.
4:57: Which is more irritating: Al Trautwig or Craig Hummer? Why? Provide examples.
4:58: Tomorrow: 3 mountain passes, 107.6 miles. 4:00pm Mountain time, which is the time we all reckon by.
4:59: Craig Hummer sounds desperate. Running out of things to say. Schwarzanegger looks wrinkly.
That’s it. Should I do the next stage this way? Or not?
PS: OK, I’m doing this again at least tomorrow. 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT). Though I reserve the right to take naps during the pre-game show.
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