I watched most of the Tour of California and I am continuing to watch all of the Giro d Italia. As I watch both of these races I wonder why race promoters in the US are so afraid of putting on a stage race that would compare to even the smaller Euro stage races such as the Tour of Switzerland or even Paris-Nice. I don't like to talk negative in my blog so I will say I grew up in the Bay
Area in California and I have ridden most of the roads that were used in this years ToC. They are great roads for a 15 year old to learn how to cycle, and I enjoyed watching the pros use the very same roads I grew up on. The problem I have is there are some real hard mountain climbs in California that were not used. The "Queen Stage" was hard but not hard enough. It was basically a big ring climb for a very long time. If you see my photos you will see the pack going up the climb in the ToC and then in the other photo you can see Evans and Basso going mano a mano on one of the hard climbs in the GIRO. It was awesome to watch as the other strong riders fell behind one by one leaving only the two strongest and then there was a little acceleration by Basso and Evans was left behind, he still looked strong but not strong enough. There was a crowd of 50,000 on top of the Zoncolon. I would think in the USA we could muster a crowd that large on some mountain top finish far from our cities and our resorts. For racing to prosper in our country we need to look at what has worked in Europe and emulate it. The ToC was won with time bonuses and the TT. The GIRO will be won in the mountains. That is the way of the Grand Tours. I guess the bottom line for me is the GIRO, TOUR and VUELTA are travel logs for their prospective countries, why can't the ToC go to Death Valley, the Grand Canyon, the Sierra Nevada, Mt Lassen and show off the most scenic parts of our country with some tough roads thrown in.
A little about Floyd and his confession. First of all I don't really doubt most of what he has said. I do wonder about the timing and his motivation. Cheating has happened and it will continue to happen. I wish it didn't. I race masters and there is quite a bit of evidence that performance enhancing drugs are rampant. I race anyway and don't even think about what my competitors do or not do. It is more about how I do. Floyd has said he wanted to clear his conscience, but I think it is more about revenge than clearing anything. He got caught and his comeback hasn't been all that great. I think he might just try to be honest. Not for us but for himself. Being bitter is not a healthy state of mind. Winning at all costs is not unique to Floyd, those that have cheated are paying the price everyday. If some of those that Floyd named are guilty and the US Government goes after them I would imagine their nights are not so restful, their training rides not so peaceful and in general their lives a bit like hell, even if they are not caught.
I just read the diary of Mary and Mike after their first two world cup races in Europe. Now there is couple where there is no suspicion of anything but hard work, and dedication. You know they sleep well at night and are at peace with themselves.