27 May 2010

Pictures from the Tour of California, Part Deux

Stage 7 Tour of California, ITT in Los Angeles, CA 
All year long I look forward to my trip to California to watch a stage or two of the Tour of California with my family. My family and I are huge pro cycling fans. This year I attended Stage 7 in Los Angeles, with my brother Tom and my nephew Kenny. I also snuck in Stage 6 in Palmdale and Stage 8 with Kenny in Westlake. My brother Mike and my sister-in-law Suz had to cancel last minute because they were flying to France the next day. We missed them tremendously.
When it comes to being experienced fans at the grand tours, Mike and Suz are about as good as it gets. They spend their vacations chasing the Tour de France, Tour de Suisse, Dauphine Libere, Giro d'Italia and Tour of California. To witness Suz working the rider area is an amazing sight, she knows just when to slip in for the best photo, she comes away with tons of freebies, laughs and smiles. We have many stories of jumping the barriers, and VIP passes. Suz challenged our nephew Kenny to follow her footsteps this year in her absence, and follow them he did! Kenny made Aunt Suz (and me) proud to be a fan.
Kenny's story began here, in the rider area at ATOC on a warm Saturday morning in May in downtown Los Angeles. We were able to access the rider area via a circuitous route around buildings, parking lots, blocks of walking, and a metal bridge. Located on the less crowded side of the street, away from the masses, most spectators did not find this hidden gem of an area. We walked freely from team bus to team bus (more like rented RVs). We snapped photos and then ran to the curb to watch the riders pass by. It was great fun.
The BMC team area on the morning of the ITT in Los Angeles at ATOC, hardly a soul around (except us!).
Kenny started jumping in for his photo ops ... he had spotted Chris McCormack (a fellow triathlete) on the way to the rider area.
 then Jens Voigt standing out on the street ...
and finally Mark Cavendish outside the HTC Team RV...
then watched the ITT with his Dad ... (yes, these guys are 6'4"and 6'8")
Here are my money shots from the day at Stage 7:
An ITT in downtown LA, who thought of that?
The Quick Step team waiting to weigh in their bikes at the Start line
Tom Boonen weighing in prior to his start
Fabian Cancellara waiting to start
Mark Cavendish (who did not meet the cut-off time on Stage 6 Finish but was on hand)
Levi Leipheimer checking out his Trek TT bike set-up
Some of the Radio Shack riders warming up
Manuel Quinziato warming up
This was pretty much the relaxed scene at the rider area at the ITT in Los Angeles
Andy Schleck warming up
George Hincapie warming up (and receiving some new sunglasses)
Matti Breschel warming up
Jens Voigt warming up
Action shots
Manuel Quinziato on course
The scene in LA
George Hincapie coming round the bend
George coming down the straight-away to the Finish Line
(now you can see where all the masses were)
Levi Leipheimer coming down to the Finish
Peter Sagan into the Finish
 and finally Michael Rogers (I guess he was too fast!)
Kenny - eating a pancake and having some fun, what a day!!
More pictures of Stage 8, our experience in the Rabobank VIP area, and the Finish of ATOC in Westlake Village, CA coming soon ...