Nevada City – Lance Wins Decisively and Delights the Fans

Leading the Charge up the last kicker

Nevada City isn't in France and 90-minutes of tough circuit racing may not translate into great things when the Tour starts in Monaco, but Lance Armstrong took his first win of the season in decisive fashion, and looked damn good in the process. Within two or three laps he, Levi and Ben Jacques-Maynes had built a 20 second lead on an already fragmenting field. By the time the dust had settled they'd lapped the bunch. Basso may be right when he predicted Lance will be a beast in two weeks. There was definitely a feral look in his eyes behind those glasses.

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Lap 1 Levi pulled long and hard the first few laps Levi now alternates behind Lance Chris Horner a few second back but riding strong Wild Eyes The crowd jumps onto the road to high five him

Lance, Levi and Chris Horner put a charge into the thousands who lined the 1.1-mile circuit in the very pretty town of Nevada City and the roars came up the road like a wave every time the Armstrong express train approached.

I loved the town, the incredibly friendly people and the lemonade stand that kept me hydrated throughout the day (thanks kids). During two of the earlier races I jumped on the back of a moto for some on course action... first time shooting that way. Difficult with all the bumps but an amazing perspective on the racing, and not the least bit scary considering I'd never been on a motorcycle before. There's a mountain of images yet to process but I wanted to get these out immediately. Look for more during the week.

47 Responses to Nevada City – Lance Wins Decisively and Delights the Fans

  1. Tim says:

    Congrats to those amazing pictures !!!! Really stunning I have to say. Keep up the good work, and I am looking forward to see more shots of the race….

  2. Thanks Tim, I’m dead tired and calling it a night. Suggest you pack it in too, hope you’re not burning the late night oil for Krillion.

    The moto circuits were a blast.

  3. Eric says:

    Top shelf stuff. Can’t wait for the rest.

  4. BR says:

    Another super set of images…thanks Michael.

  5. Christopher says:

    Great shots.

  6. Dave Wyman says:

    I knew I was in for a treat (from your tweet!) when I went to bed last night – I could hardly wait for your photographs this morning. Lance didn’t disappoint – and neither did you.

    Thanks so much for such an arresting (if that’s the right word for such a mobile sport) set of photos.

  7. willy in pacifica says:


    Those are some great pictures.

    Big day yesterday for our household. For Fathers Day I usually take Jaci (12) and Gabi (9) out on the triplet for a meander thru Marin. Nice and flat and we hit a coffee shop for coffee and hot coco no matter what the temp outside. Well yesterday Lulu (5) got her big break as her older sister had plans with Mom. Now she is hooked. She may never give up her seat now. Kind of like that guy who was replace by Lou Gehrig.

    She was a bit intimidated being high up on the bike compared to her little training wheeled bike. But after all the waves and comments from our fellow riders she would not keep quiet. We started just on the north side of Camino Alto and rode to the base of Whites Grade before riding back to San Anselmo for our coffee break. I would say between 15-18 miles all in.

    The wife called me this morning telling me Lulu’s little legs were sore. Damn, it didn’t even dawn on me that she would be sore. I guess I owe her a rub down tonight.

    Proud Daddy in Pacifica

  8. i just swooned.

  9. ken hong says:

    Awesome pics and congrats. Keep on keepin’ on man.

  10. jesus perera says:

    beautiful pictures very professional!!!!

  11. the girls says:

    Absolutely in love with cycling, lance and these fabulous photographs!

  12. Mark says:

    u rock, Bruv!

  13. Christopher says:

    You know, Horner is always smiling no matter what. That is the kind of guy I want to have in my group ride or on my team. He seems like a nice guy just having fun on his bike. We need more guys like that- it makes the sport better.

    • He had a bunch of supporters at the top end of the circuit and every time he rode by they’d yell stuff at him that produced the big grin.

  14. Theo says:

    Wow great pics! Looks like Lance is carrying a bit more muscle than he used to a couple of years back?

    Hopefully it won’t hold him back in the mountains!

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  17. Joe says:

    Lance dominated the circuit. He has succeeded in keeping low on the TDF radar. NĂºmero ocho coming right up…

  18. Dave says:

    Another happy day is here again! Go Lance Go! Great Pics.

  19. Grant says:

    Wonderful photos! Very nice work. Can you contact me about purchasing one or more of them? Thanks.

  20. Anna says:

    Gotta say, this was my first cycling race and we had such a great time! Lance, Levi and Chris were all flying… quite amazing to see such talented riders in person.

    What a way to see world class racing… can’t wait until next year!

  21. Jimmy says:

    HELL YEA! Awesome pictures – I love the angles and the black and white texture!

  22. Nice work as usual! Also congrats on the shout out from LA himself on Twitter!

  23. Holly LaChappell says:

    Fabulous pictures! Nothing like black and white to emphasize and give a chromiumlike effect! I love them!
    Excellent job! You captured the very essence of a great day, incredible riders, great town (mine) and people!
    Thanks so much for sharing your talent. Come back for more great shots… Amgen T of CA in May 2010!
    :)Holly spingirlspin!

  24. Damien Mitchell says:

    I never thought I’d see an image like that again.I hope I see more.Roll on the tour de France and the tour of Ireland.

  25. f maguire says:

    Very nice pics. Wallpaper material. Great job.

  26. Patrick says:

    Great photos. Really good work. As for LA, I’m going to have to take the contrarian view. I thought it was kind of lame actually. To go and beat up on a bunch of guys who make 15k a year and slept in a van the nigh before just showed poor form. We’re not talking being a junior and spanking the field (see LeMond), we’re talking taking your express train (i.e., Levi and Horner) and just depantsing everyone. For what? It doesn’t reconcile for me. Gotta bring it up – was there any testing going on? Answer – No. All this while Conti was making friends with the Spanish armada and it seems we’re in for a LA show come July with some added drama with Conti. Good photos non the less.

    • Hey Patrick,

      It’s worth considering those points, but I don’t think that’s what happened or riders felt. First off, one or two residents who live on the course itself contrasted the turnout this year with last year, commenting that they wondered if the race would actually survive after the comparatively tiny turnout a year ago. The race clearly benefited from Lance, Levi and Chris riding.

      Everyone including the riders in the Pro/1/2 appeared incredibly pumped to have the Astana boys riding with them, and for his part Lance is approachable and social in a way that’s a departure from his methodical, some might say robotic past. He’s enjoying himself and the field looked energized not demoralized.

      As for the racing. Oregonian Chris Horner is almost a local, and up near the top of the climb, he had a bunch of people who seemed to know him. Every time he passed they screamed stuff at him which never failed to produce a big grin. He held his own but wasn’t part of the big move (Lance, Levi and Ben Jacques-Maynes). I hope he’s recovered enough from his injuries to make the TDF trip.

      Levi looked very strong in the first few laps, but from that point on it was Lance powering along, and towards the end Levi looked a little cooked (he’s had an awesome season). And though the three leaders lapped the field, this was no cakewalk because Ben Jacques-Maynes was right there till the end. Major props to him and Bissell.

      I completely understand how you can have concerns about LA and doping in the past, but I can’t see how you can be worried he’s not being tested now. He’s been subject to continuous and I presume rigorous testing from the moment he decided to race again. There’s no question he’s racing clean now. The history questions, well that’s for each of us to draw his/her own conclusions.

      I don’t think I’m a LA apologist, I’m just reporting what I saw in Nevada City. Astana’s participation left the race healthier than it was before they came, 20,000+ fans had an amazing day from first race to last, and LA gave them the win they all wanted to see, judging by the noise they were making. They jumped onto that course to high five him as he rode an extra lap AND they high fived any other rider who wanted some skin. It was pretty cool.

      You’re right the TDF is going to be very interesting.

      • BR says:

        Patrick, I never competed at the 1/2/Pro level but I am certain that the field on Sunday all felt honored to be in that race with Lance & Co despite the thrashing. I think I saw a picture of Lance autographing a jersey of a competitor right before the gun went off. That summed it up for me. Michael brings up a good point about Ben Jaques Maynes hanging with Lance and Levi. Ben is a super talented rider and showed the crowd that we have world class talent in Nor Cal. Bottom line is that #1 came to race in a US Crit weeks before he makes history…again. Enjoy this.

  27. Cora says:

    Dear Lance, congrats again for winning the Race in Nevada. What a pity that it was not shown in german TV. Your new livestrong- Team-Race-Clothes are very beautifull and much nicer than Astanas team Clothes and I hope, that you can, will be allowed to also wear it during the Tour de France. It suits you very well and also brinsg along your message of Livestrong very good and it is also wise that have you let produce it not in black and yellow but dark blue and yellow cause black would be to hot to wear for you and your Team in the high Temperatures of July in France.

  28. Cora says:

    If you let produce a calendar for 2010 made with all your latest pictures in I would like to bye it, if it can be bought in Amazon or in german Book- Shops, which also sell Calendars. You are looking very good and fit again and I hope, that you will finish the next Tour again very good among the best ones or maybe really win it again. If you win the Tour again after 3 years break that would be the next 3 rd miracle after your survival of cancer and winning it 7 times and after your birth of Max after surviving testicular cancer. You should really let produce a movie on your life cause it is really like a fairytale. If an author had thought out those things noone would be believe it all, but it is all really true in your life. That gives also courage to me never to give up even in difficult situations. If one door closes, 3 others open…all the best Lance for you and your Team for the Tour and for Max and Anna. You make me happy, make my day better each time a read about you and see your pics.

  29. Cora says:

    sorry for mistakes. I meant: I would like to buy an calendar with all your latest Pictures in. Always mix up bye and buy.:) Can you speak German? I love English very much and was good in it in school, but my schooltime is so long ago and I have forgotten some things.

  30. Kurt says:

    It appears you are now coming into your own with this hobby (or better yet, obsession) of yours. I am sure your relished this opportunity as it appears you took full advantage of it. Nice shots.

    Congratulations on the recognition from Lance. I agree with Theo, he looks like he’s packin’ some serious muscle. Maybe he is after the green jersey as well!

    I hope you haven’t been neglecting your own riding experiences too much. I do miss your reflections on the ride, TSB, commuting miracles, celbrations of truly bad driving, etc.

    I may be interested in a photo purchase. Are there others to choose from as well?

    Can’t wait for the TDF.

    • Kurt,

      I’m posting a gallery of selects shortly. I’m amazed by Armstrong’s legs. He’s a rolling Grey’s anatomy of musculature.

  31. Dave Ross says:

    Great photos, I especially like the “grittier” ones that show the athletes’ effort.

    Will you be in Benicia on Saturday?

  32. Shannon says:

    Wow! BEAUTIFUL Photos!! I would love to buy some..please contact me.


  33. Kial James says:

    Beautiful shots, really sharp. The hand that missed the high-5 is my wife’s :)

  34. Scott says:

    I would to comment towards Patrick’s comments regarding Lance participation at this years Nevada City Classic. One word “Electric”!! As a rider in the P/1/2 field it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of us. I know personally for me the photos that have come back with me, Lance & Levi will be priceless in my scrap book. LA has put the Nevada City Classic back on the map.

    After losing NRC status a few years ago the race has gone down hill ever since. In fact 13 P/1/2 riders were registered when registration was closed. Once the announcement was made it swelled to 130 riders and even Floyd Landis was turned away. So Patrick you talked about the pro riders that are making $13,000 and sleeping in their cars the night before…where were they. Its wasn’t until LA’s announcement that the Ben and the Bissell boys and Roman and OUCH team showed. Without LA this year we would have seen part-time racers like Justin England and his over the hill semi-pro Strawberry team ride in circles. For me and the 15,000 fans that wouldn’t have shown up, would have been disappointing.

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