10 May 2010

Tour of California or the Giro d' Italia?

To Ride or Not to Ride, which event will the best pro cyclists ride in May 2010?

There was much talk when the organizers of the Tour of California decided to move the week long cycling event, now in its fifth year, from February to May. "Compete with the Giro?" everyone asked.

Do you remember how taxing the Giro d'Italia was last year on the actual riders? The long bus commutes, the long stages, the lack of sleep, riders unable to find the start lines. The pro cyclists looked miserable by the third week of the Giro in 2009. Were they building their fitness, or taking away from it by competing in such a massive undertaking 1 month before the Tour de France starts each year in July?

Read a Cyclingnews.com article here:

California or Italy? Cyclists decide which will help best in France

"The Giro is three weeks; it takes a lot out of you," said Chris Jones, a Team Type 1 rider. "The Tour of California, it's seven or eight days. It's really good preparation. It's not going to totally exhaust you like the Giro would," . "There are truly not that many riders that can peak for both the Giro and the Tour (de France)," Jones said. "It takes a really special rider to do both races. Guys have tried it every single way.

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"Our big insight was our American cycling fans. The race they care about the most is the Tour de France," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, which owns the Tour of California. "There's a lot of exceptional athletes for whom a really hard three-week stage race in Italy in May is not what they're looking for in terms of preparation."

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"Both races have their positive and negative components," Friedman said. "It can come down to individual preferred preparation," said Jelly Belly rider Mike Friedman. "Most of the pro teams are large enough and have the means to run two programs simultaneously. It's just a matter of who to send where."

Right now Cadel Evans, Alexandre Vinokourov, Carlos Sastre and Ivan Basso are at the Giro d'Italia.
There were 10 crashes in yesterday's Stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia, only 2 riders abandoned due to injury. One of the injured was a potential GC contender Christian VandeVelde. The current participants in the Giro risk injury, fatigue or sickness.

Levi Leipheimer, Lance Armstrong, Mark Cavendish, Chris Horner, George Hincapie, Frank Schleck, Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, Tom Boonen, David Zabriskie, Jens Voigt and many many others are not at the Giro d' Italia, they instead plan to ride the Tour of California and most likely the Tour de France.

Alberto Contador will ride neither race. He is spending his time doing reconnaissance in Belgium and France and waiting for his real goal, the Tour de France.

Giro d'Italia Team Rosters
Tour of California Team Rosters
(Tentative, partial) Tour de France Team Rosters

These guys looked tired last year at the 2009 Giro d'Italia (Lance Armstrong, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer in the back of the bus). Still smiling, but tired.