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ATOC 2012 Day 3
PHOTOS: John Watson - Prolly Is Not Probably
Chris Jones is at the start of Stage 3, but unlike the stone cold gaze that some of the others wear, he is all smiles.
Today his grin is all the more pronounced because of the large patches of tegaderm and stretchy gauze that cover his left leg. His right knee is also the recipient of 20 brand new stitches, the result of a crash within the final 5km the day before. However, his injuries don't seem to be affecting him enough for the approaching fans to realize that Jones was unsure if he would even be able to start today. In fact, his teammate Rory Sutherland dislocated (and then re-located) his finger in the same incident.
In this form Chris is a stark contrast to what we had seen the day before. SRAM Neutral Support had been set up at the Rapha Cycle Club in San Francisco and the ATOC was live on the TV. There was some chatter happening as the race progressed, but all the talking stopped when they got near the summit of Bear Creek. It was here that Chris took charge up front for his teammate Jeff Louder and was churning his way to the top of the mountain, all the while spewing riders out the back of the peloton.
This would not have been the day to check in on our Colombian Coldeportes as they rolled through looking like they were ready to change their team tagline from "inspired by climbing" to "doing some climbing." For the final kilometers to the KOM banner, Jones was the only rider on the screen and his image was one of sheer concentration as he decimated the field for his United Healthcare Team. It was a two pronged attack on our part as well, because the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club was positioned neatly under the banner at the top. If only we knew what was to come in the final stretches to the finish.
But today is a new day and Jones is already on the mend. He leans over his bike and listens to the droning of Optum Pro Cycling racer Michael Creed as he tests some of his new stand-up material on Jones. All the while Star Spangled Banner plays metallically in the background. The riders are all facing forwards and small pockets of team colors begin to emerge from the chaos.
There's discussion that nearby Robbie McEwen possibly knows if he hangs just off the back of the group the cameras can capture his deeply brooding looks (although behind Oakleys isn't everyone deeply brooding?) and calm air.
The tegaderm stretches and holds, and before you know it the town of San Jose transforms back to another arid Californian town on the route of the Amgen Tour of California.
Keep in touch with Rapha North America on twitter/instagram @Rapha_N_America and Hennie 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.
- RT @nedboulting: Kristian House's Grandad was a fantastic man. He told me about him once. Then I read this: http://t.co/ZCeYbm4sFU
- @DeanHardman @nedboulting @j_t_locke such a shame...
- @TeamSkyGirl @nedboulting @j_t_locke we've asked JTL to change his name.
- RT @Ed_Clancy: Watch @raphacondor team mate Kristian House take another win (and lap me in the process) around his favourite circuit to…
- RT @TourSeries: Catch-up with all of the #Durham #tourseries action on ITV4 tonight http://t.co/YE9zgNaZem
- Some helpful #womens100 tips from Australian pro @tiffanycromwell that you might find useful over on @gcntweet → http://t.co/ZqgODQ6Tz3
- New Media, New Myths: @TrueBS writes for our blog about the building of legends at the @AmgenTourofCali → http://t.co/SEEBqxorZh #AToC
- Starting this Sunday, the Irish tour @anpostras is being raced by @raphacondor JLT and our very own Ultan Coyle. → http://t.co/gJmiGGr2zy
- Atoc photographers come in all shapes and sizes. Like this one @johnprolly. #atoc http://t.co/yWV0121rRB
- Tejay on the front of the 17 man break that includes more than a few heavies. http://t.co/hJmdvUHLeS