Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tour of Utah

The breakaway forming on the first lap. Trailer Captain and I found a shady spot on the grass up at Presedent's Circle at the University of Utah, which gave views a small climb and descent around the circle.

The chase. Levi Leipheimer's Radio Shack squad took control of the peloton from the very beginning to control the break.

The descent off the circle was hair-raising, especially the team cars' tire-squealling fun.

Here it is. The pro peloton. In my town. Seeing it in the flesh makes it both amazing and so human: they were averaging 30mph on climbs and descents I know well, which is stupifyingly amazing, but the guys shelled off the back after big pulls at the front reveal the same-old dead tired expression that hangs on anyone's face after a hard ride.

Garmin-Cervelo, Realcyclist, HTC-Highroad, BMC, Gobernacion, Geox, Radio Shack, Spider-tech. Wow. Star power. Even Cadel Evans paid a visit on the next day's queen stage.

Even at the continental pro-level Garmin-Cervelo is a team that seems to have a lot of talent. Three blue helmets in the break...

After 7 or 8 laps, the Radio Shack was shelled. They never closed the break. With all Levi's riders gone but one, he had to lay it on the line in 97-degree heat and drive the pace at the front. It was exciting to watch the man in yellow work for it. He never closed the break, but he closed the time gap enough to protect the lead comfortably. The next day's queen stage (on Sunday) up Little Cottonwood Canyon (Utah's L'Alpe d'Huez) he handily marked the wheel of Gobernacion's Henao, who was the main threat in the breakaway on Saturday.

All told, the addition of the Columbian team Gobernacion was the exciting element to the Tour. With Columbia's heat and high altitude and a group of really strong and lightweight climbers, it made for exciting action.

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