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ATOC 2012 Day 1
And they're off!
Santa Rosa exploded in the brightest colours of bicycle racing today as the 2012 Amgen Tour of California began its trek down the coast.
More than the usual fanfare that surrounds US bike racing was present in a city that skipped last year's edition. One of the AToC's largest crowds in recent memory lined the streets of downtown Santa Rosa (home to Omega-Pharma's Levi Leipheimer) to see multiple views of the race before it headed out to the California coastline and the steep pitches for the KOM competition.
Coleman Valley Road is one of the most popular climbs in this region and provided what looked to be a more than adequate challenge. South American team Colombia Coldeportes, whose team motto is 'Inspired by Climbing', seemed slightly less than inspired upon cresting the one hill of the day.
In the coming days we'll document the fate of the US-based riders against their overseas adversaries, with the likes of Tom Boonen, Jens Voigt and Henrich Hausller likely to pull no punches. The real surprise on Sunday, though, came in the form of Team Exergy. Not only did they take third overall with the return of American race scenester 'Fast' Freddie Rodriguez, but their rider Sam Johnson was in an initial break of eight that lasted almost the entirety of the race.
We should also mention the Mobile Cycle Club did well to position itself at the top of the Coleman Valley Road for the KOM points. If you happen to be at the race, they do pull a fine espresso (or two). Keep an eye out for them as the coverage (including live TV) continues.
Other things of note:
• Pro Rapha-FOCUS cross racer Christopher Jones is here representing United Healthcare Cycling.
• The French guys who are driving the TV motos also drive them for the Tour de France.
• Brad Sohner and Dave Towle (the voices announcing the action) will be representing Rapha this week on the podium. Every podium.
• The Mobile Cycle Club serves delicious, absolutely free coffee all day (and sometimes all night). Stop by and hang out with Ryan and Ben.
Keep in touch with Rapha North America on twitter/instagram @Rapha_N_America and the Mobile Cycle Club @RaphaMCCNA for the rest of the week as we chase, keep pace and ultimately race the peloton down the length of California all the way to Los Angeles.
- @tribryan Hi Bryan, that’s a discontinued Irish Country Jersey which is no longer in production, sorry to disappoint.
- @vickiewoodsford @richardhier @daithetooth Thanks Vickie, glad we were able to help too.
- @ServiceCourse @richardhier @daithetooth You’re all too kind, thank you.
- @richardhier Thanks Richard, have a good weekend. Will pass on your thanks to Peter.
- Stylish, creative, sharp? We all know a sartorial city rider that can be tricky to buy for. See our guide for hints → http://t.co/dul9phwMoX
- Who's excited for snowy racing #inbend this weekend? We brought tshirts and coffee for the weekend.… http://t.co/aYYPjQEXTG
- @playa_mansa Sorry, somehow missed this. Our backpack is great for general use. Most of us here use it both on and off the bike.
- @TheRaceRadio A man experienced in sheep aerodynamics, perhaps. → http://t.co/4ysrDy5bie
- The most recent Rapha Gentlemen’s Race took place in Adelaide with 18 teams lining up for the rolling 160km route. → http://t.co/ZQ3Dzz0NEX
- @andersmagnus Hi Anders, there’s been a delay unfortunately, but thanks for being patient. It will be out as soon as possible.