Cali Clarification, Haedo Takes Stage 1, Cabreira Steals Algarve

Feb 20 2006

I never realized I had so many ventriloquists in my readership, but I must, for they are so adept at putting words into my mouth. “Insignificant”? Pshaw, I never called the Tour of Cali that; it’s just not a huge deal. I still found it important enough to stay up until 2am to watch. What I meant to say was conveyed pretty clearly in the rides of Mick Rogers, Mark McCormack, and so many other riders, who seemed more to be out for a good spin than a victory; certainly a contrast to the TdF prologue, where not a brow goes by unfurrowed by lactic acid. The race is not certainly not “rinky-dink” (I did use this phrase) in and of itself, as according to Levi Leipheimer, some riders have been scouting stages (search “recon”), but it will never be a Grand Tour, not while located as it is at the beginning of the season, and with riders and managers alike already yelping about the excess of competition days. It’s a great race for popularizing the sport in America, and for showing that the American peloton can compete on the world stage. But you want the Tour of California taken as seriously as an event that the best riders on the best teams in the world are gunning for, just because it’s on American soil? Who’s being snobby now?

Anyway, the race continued today, progresing a little slower than expected before whipping itself into a frenzy around the final circuits. in the end, J.J. Haedo and his dashing Argentinian sdieburns blew past the Euros to give the recently inaugurated United Cycling squad it’s first win ever. A good start for a new team and an exciting first finish for the new race. Those not winning today’s event were forced to content themselves with the free iPods (search “i-Pod”, though that’s not the correct name) handed out to the peloton. Such vanity was most likely not bestowed on the pack at the Volta ao Algarve, where Joao Cabreira of Maia-Milaneza stunned a host of ProTour teams and riders to slip away on the final climb and steal both the stage win and the overall in his native Portugal. Reads like another exciting finish I won’t be catching on ESPN2 anytime soon. Of course, if they covered more than one bike race, how could they bring me the “news” that Ricky Williams failed another drug test.

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