Pretend with me here that I actually had time to put up links to my VeloNews.com race articles each day that I was at Redlands....here's the report from Friday's Stage 1.
And here are a few snaps from that day. Remember that I was an "embedded reporter" at the host house of ValueAct Capital, as I'm working on a feature article that includes them, and this is Caroline, the daughter of our hosts. She is decked out in a VAC jersey because she worked the feed zone for the team today -- she's an expert at it, having learned the ropes last year. There's rumors circulating that other pro teams are trying to woo her over to their camp -- but she's a devoted VAC fan!
The start line in Beaumont, outside Redlands.
Some of the women who were called up at the start. From left, Cheerwine's Leigh Hobson, Webcor Builders' Christine Thorburn, Team High Road's Kim Anderson and teammate and race leader, Mara Abbott, and Aaron's Katharine Carroll.
I rode in the media car. This is an advantage not because you get to actually SEE the race up close -- as is obvious here -- but because there is a race radio in the car through which we can hear the officials along the course shout out what is happening. It's a bit chaotic as the reports aren't always timely and sometimes we miss important details, but our driver, Hoss, did a great job getting us through the course on each of the five circuits the best he could.
The women's stage 1 podium: Alex Wrubleski, a Canadian on Webcor Builders, took second; Kat Carroll took first, and another Canadian, Cheerwine's Leigh Hobson, took third.
This is Argentinean Sebastian Haedo, JJ Haedo's little brother, in the media tent waiting to step onto the men's podium. His team, Colavita-Sutter Home has taken a podium at EVERY SINGLE race they've entered this season. They're crazy-fast right now.
The men's stage 1 podium: Sebastian Haedo in second, Cuban Santiago Botero of Rock Racing in first, and Bissell's Burke Swindlehurst in third. Today was the first time I interviewed Burke, and he wins the "best interview" award -- a very prestigious award in my own mind, of course. He was incredibly gracious and fun to talk to. It's got to be very tough to talk to reporters after a long hard stage like this, and it's always refreshing when a rider makes you feel like you're not putting them out.
Botero is a former World Time Trial Champion and has won numerous stages at the big European Tours -- he's a rock star...pun intended, I suppose. This is his first race in the United States, and today's stage put him in the green sprinter's jersey...
...and the red climbing jersey...
...and the leader's yellow jersey. And he was wearing all of them at once, which I've never seen anyone do -- usually they take the previous one off as the next is put on! He was also a good interview, and was quite gracious.