Amgen ToC – Putting On a Good Face

Jens is back Yes they do

Not quite sure how I'm resisting the gravitational pull of the hotel bed behind me, but here goes with a few words and images from today's stage of the ATOC. Again full marks to the organizers for a good call in Tahoe, but I can't help feeling the riders blew a real opportunity yesterday to demonstrate they are ready to assume a leadership role in their own sport. With their input a good decision was made in the interest of rider safety, but what about Tahoe? Instead of disappearing immediately into the hotel and team buses I wish they'd grabbed warmer gear (it was needed) and spent an hour signing autographs, taking pictures with fans, showing off their bikes and maybe popping a wheelie or two.

It was cold, but Tahoe deserved a little more warmth from the peloton. Again I'll cite the NASCAR example. If they had to call off an event you can bet drivers would be signing autographs and t-shirts, doing donuts in the parking lot... and generally connecting with their fans.

Stage 2 Stage 2

And to the question of whether the ATOC should go back to Tahoe and risk the unpredictability of the Sierras next year; my answer is a resounding yes. This is what many of us asked for; a chance to take our race into our Mountains (capital M). We got unlucky this year, but other than the good folks of Tahoe no one really suffered. I say tee it up again, we're due for some better luck in the weather department. And if it keeps raining we have one more argument for the jackasses who still question climate change.

Two locations today. A short punchy climb just beyond the Nevada City start. The peloton went by en masse in 20 seconds or less. The finish circuit in Sacramento was a little better but my best stuff today were faces.

Bob Roll behind the camera Messick looking good in Rapha

With still photographers relegated to a position well back from the line for TV's sake, I gambled on a position in the Rabobank VIP area courtesy of a Tour for Kika friend. I was half the distance to the line in a perfect spot for Mr. Swift's triumph but I didn't count on the bloody cell phones. Virtually every person stuck an arm out with a cell phone, playing havoc with AF, and forcing me to pick up the riders too late to get the key shot. Had it kept raining hard for that last circuit it would have worked. The cell phones ran for cover when the sprinkles got heavier.

Notes: Andrew Messick, Jim Birrell and Bob Roll all looked good today in Classic softshell's courtesy of Rapha. HTC had a full complement of their New Team Issue Venge bikes; Saxo had a couple of McLaren Venges in the mix (still my favorite).

Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 Stage 2 We need lots more of this

8 Responses to Amgen ToC – Putting On a Good Face

  1. Chris says:

    Totally agree with the autographs. They totally missed out. I’m not sure it was the riders though. I saw a lot of team directors and staffers rushing the riders onto buses and into cars. I know a lot of fans would have appreciated some time with their idols. Myself among them….

    • thanks for that Chris… the teams need to hear it, it’s one thing on their side of the ledger they can actually change without UCI approval

  2. Michael you’re dead right about the fans needing some interaction when the golden opportunity was there. Where on earth were the public relations people when the fans were crying out for something for their interest and support???
    Heads should roll for a gaff as big as this, a once in a lifetime opportunity to let the fans see and chat with their heroes.
    Do they never learn who pays the wages in real terms.

    As ever you’ve got another set of interesting images and I’ll put money on the legs with the high heels never showing up in the peloton. A head turner for sure.


  3. BR says:

    I have to think that the DS’s said “it’s snowing – get in the bus!” Sick riders can’t ride. NASCAR may have a more public friendly environment but engines move NASCAR drivers.

  4. scott D says:

    Before the Cancer Council classic stage of the 2011 Tour Down Under you could get up close
    and personal with riders. 95% of riders are happy for an autograph and a happy snap.
    If your timing was right even Lance was happy to oblige. My mate got his Lance book signed.
    It’s kinda cool to see what each rider does before they jump on their bike too. Some staring into
    space half falling asleep, others up about talking strategy and the like.
    I even caught Matty White chatting to the Gar/Cer lads about their race tactics.
    Mind you, the weather was near on perfect.

  5. kaiko says:


  6. Robbo says:

    Ben King and Peter Sagan look so young; I guess they are though.

    • You are so right. Ben King in particular. Got some great closeups of Ben from the moto yesterday, will post one or two this morning.