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« Tour of California - Stage Six | Main | Smart PR or the Real Deal? »

February 24, 2008



Yeah guys, what Sara said, LTFU! But seriously, VeloNews has some good video with Neal Rogers talking to MC and then Boonen about the relegation of MC.

MC doesn't come off looking bad in the interview. He pretty much said he did it, but that everyone does. Boonen's take was that he did it, but only got called out because he went on to win the stage. Seems pretty straightforward.

Sara, your posts have been great. I haven't been able to watch the race for the last 5 stages. (My wife and I just bought a house in Connecticut that we'll move into in May.) I have been online, reading the daily reports. Sara's posts have been infused with the excitement of the race. She obviously has the passion for it and does more than just convey the results. Thanks, Sara.

Matt we race depression already setting in. Once again into that roller coaster ride of highs and lows of cycling season.

Thanks for the interview link Waddy (and so very sorry you missed the VS coverage!)...I enjoyed listening to all of them. I think Boonen really summed it up quite well. And the DZ interview was classic! He is so casually funny! ("Really? You haven't interviewed me because of my mustache? Wow..I think I'll Keep it! Stay away you crazy people!") I LOVE IT! He is just so off the wall! I didn't realize he was not feeling well for the TT the other day...I was sure seemed he'd do better. But in classic style he sucked it up and moved on. NICE!

And Sara, WOW! is all I can say. Your daily writeups were really the cream of the crop! I'd start here every day and then hit the other cycling sites after...I'd think you should have job offers knocking down your door after this. VERY WELL DONE! (Any chance you will be doing this for some of the upcoming races in Europe... such as Paris-Nice?) Please?? PRETTY PLEASE?? It will be horrible NOT to have the daily VS coverage, and your writeups are the next best thing! I get so spoiled during the TOC (and TOF) with all the coverage they get. To have to get a weeks worth of racing in just one weekend show is pure torture! (and by the time the show airs, you can't help but know the results...which takes a lot away from the viewing).

And HOW EXCITING to see George pull out the win today! He sure earned it...did a LOT of work on the road, but I was also kind of rooting for the Bissel rider...he sure stepped up and showed the world his stuff! It sure was a nailbiter finish today, thats for sure. Nice way to wrap up the week. Too bad our weather SUCKED so bad this year! But as Boonen said...Thats racing!


I absolute love Neal Roger's little interviews over at VNTV. He does such a great job of getting a lot of interview into a short time.

Congrats on the impending move, Waddy!

Awesome Sara! Between your fabulous race reports, Cathy's envy-inspiring access & updates, and Matt's photos & colorful anecdotes, we've gotten the very best of the ToC! Thanks!! I echo Matt's request for continued race reporting for your biggest fans :)


Sara, I appreciated your ToC race posts and you have some very good 'reporting' skills (as related to cycling).

As another commenter indicated, this is your blog so you can 'say' what you like. But,I think posts reflecting your comments/feelings about Mark Cavendish (or any cyclist) should be carefully parsed into your site.

I have to assume you want to be a professional journalist - maybe with procycling as your niche (I'm only guessing here). I think you have to be very careful where & when you post 'feelings' about an individual or a team. If you want to be a respected journalist, you must appear to be able to report with no bias. I realize your race reports on did not contain your 'comments' on Mark Cavendish but your blog is easily found (as evidenced by me finding it!) and people will read it. Thus an impression of you as a journalist is formed.

I'm a recent reader of your blog and see the talent you possess. I think CMehl is very much on the path to credible and respected reporting - there seems to be a professional connection and respect between you and CMehl, but her role as official Astana Team reporter allows her to be biased.

I think you would be better served to not mix race reports and blog comments in the same post.

That is just my view - like I said, I'm new to your blog but as one tries to get a sense of your site and you, I see the potential of mixing blogging and journalistic endeavors in the same post as taking away from your talents.

susie b

JoeB, Glenn, Jim, thrilled to see more readers have found Sara's site. But I must quibble with a few of your remarks. Jim, 1st of all, no one here called Cavendish a POS. If ANYone called ANYone a piece of shit, it was me & it would not have been about MC, but Michael Ball or one of the AS(S)Os. 2nd, "worthless sack"? Floyd?! As much as I love to see new commenters here, I agree with Matt & wonder how you wandered in here; auxillary headquarters of Free Floyd NOW.

And JoeB, I agree that Sara is talented & has great "reporting skills". But I completely disagree on your criticism of how she wrote about Cavendish HERE. Her post at US Cycling Report was the consumate professional report. It is only HERE, on her personal blog where she wrote of her opinion about the guy. As much as I love to read her race reports, it is the personal thoughts & feelings that I enjoy even more. One of the things I actually hate about "professional journalism" is that the writers don't lay it out & tell us what they REALLY think. Especially professional sports journalists. They are too frightened of losing access. And then of course there are all the "professional journos" who supposedly knew of all the doping going on in cycling for the past 15 years & kept quiet. Maybe, just maybe, cycling wouldn't be in the sack of shit it is now if these "PROFESSIONAL" journalists had spoke up THEN.

I happen to find Sara's dislike of MC's current cockiness not only humorous but spot on. The guy DOES have a temper, is comically arrogant & HAS acted like a pissy little brat for all to see, for ex, on last year's TDF coverage. I find MUCH more offensive a recent point-blank statement about a rider by a well-known 'professional writer' - that this cyclist can "never win the TDF, as he's "not capable". This about a guy who finshed NOT just on the podium last year, but a mere 31 seconds behind. Take away the 10 second penalty after his mechanical on one stage, give him a mere 5 seconds in the Prologue, & another 17 seconds in the 1st TT, where he was not at his best, & it would have been LEVI on the top of the gdamn podium. "Not capable". Now THAT statement is a 'worthless sack...'

And I hope Levi saw it, archives it, enlarges it, & makes it into a freakin poster & keychain. Hell, even tatoos it on his wrist. And USES it to keep himself motivated. When a friend told me about that blog's statement, I wondered if the writer wasn't just doing one of his baiting tricks as he IS a well known Master Baitor.. But whatever, I now have yet ANOTHER reason I want Levi to win the TDF. Oh, for a certain PUSHY guy to have to eat it. That would be even better than WINNING A BET. On the NYC marathon, just for, you know, an example...


Hey...lastest news: Pat McQuaid (head of the UCI) is pushing HARD to get the ASO to reverse it's Astana posture. If they don't, he is going to make it a NON EVENT for all UCI registered teams (meaning they should not participate) in the Paris-Nice! WOW is all I can say! I hadn't been a fan (at ALL) of Mr. McQuaid in recent memory, but he is really doing the righ thing here! Imagine the first race of the European season (owned by the ASO) going off with NO PRO TEAMS! Boy-Howdy..would they change their tune quick I bet! Here is the Velo News link btw:

Holy guacamole! It's about time SOMEONE stepped up and said ALL PRO TEAMS are allowed to compete, or NONE will! Now we shall see what happens. I might have to add Mr. McQuaid to my Xmas card list! Way to make a stand MQ! LET ASTANA RIDE!

(oh..and btw, NICE RANT SUSIE!)


susie b - I'd like to read the quote by the 'professional writer' in regard to Levi. Please provide a link to that article.

I think you are reading my comment wrong - I literally know nothing about Cavendish other than he is a sprinter and from reading Sara's comments. I really don't follow his career. I am however, a huge Floyd fan and Discovery fan.

My point is that Sara should simply remove her MC commentary from the race report and provide a separate post along the lines of "post-stage commentary". That provides a clear separation of journalistic reporting and personal opinion. Don't forget to provide a link to the article by the professional writer slamming Levi's ability. Thanks.


And another note: I agree w/ Susie that I LIKE to see your spirited personal side here at YOUR HOME site Sara! I can get the neuterized/sanitized/cauterized and sterilized version at any of the other cycling sites I visit on a daily basis. But I come here FIRST for your take on things! I love your sassy attitude, and you really crack me up quite often! I still went to US Cycling Report all thru the ToC (if nothing else, than to give them the web hits, and browse around and see what I might have missed) but I much preferred the same version WITH your daily monologue at the start here. But thats just MY opinion. and as the saying goes, Opinions are like As$h#les...everybodys got one).

And just in case anybody was wondering, NOW we get good weather! Mother nature was really chuckling up a storm (literally) all last week during the race. But NOW, it's supposed to be nice all thru Sunday...go figure. Hope the boys don't go telling everybody that didn't come how SH%$!Y the weather was this year...we might not get some of them back! (and it was Boonen's first time racing in America, wasn't it? He might figure he can get that crappy weather right at home!)


Boonen has raced here before--when he rode with US Postal. Think he even rode Redlands! Can you imagine!!!!

And yes, Mother Nature is up to some tricks. Today is almost like a summer day and all the bike boys have gone home!

susie b

There you go. The fact that no one called the writer on this crap statement irritates me no end.

Then again, I think most cycling fans no longer read that blog. It was hijacked last August by a pod person. Too bad. The REAL Marty Dugard was a hell of a writer.

And Matt, ABSOLUTELY! Even though the UCI has done its share of assinine moves, I'm behind them 100% in the battle with the Grand Tour owners. And thanks SO much for your "Action Reports"! I didn't have access to a computer from last Thursday afternoon til this morning & still haven't had a chance to read all. I just printed out & will read/enjoy tonight!


My favorite thing about the Neal Rogers interview with the DZ and the other mustachioed (how DO you spell that?) Slipstreamer was noticing the argyle all the way down the leg warmers!

Sara, thanks for outstanding reporting on the race! You're the BEST! ;-)


In poking around for some reaction to McQuaid's announcement regarding Paris-Nice, the reactions are interesting. Being a Fan Of Floyd, I don't support ASO. But I haven't been a big fan of McQuaid either. Over at, very few believe that the UCI has much leverage in this latest standoff re: Paris-Nice. Which brings me to wonder what our friend Philip thinks of this latest move. Philip?


Oh I love a good classic Susieb rant now and again! You are right on about that comment regarding Levi by MD. I usually don't visit "that other blog" anymore, but had decided to see what he had to say about the ToC. Decided after that post that I didn't care to know ;)

susie b

Ok, so I'm all caught up now. Sara, great race reports & Matt, great "Action reports"! You two are quite the tandem. Together with Cathy's reports on Astana, cutie pie Neal's videonews & Bruce's inside info at Active, I was able to read the most comprehensive & best coverage around. Oh, & DZ's USA Today reports too. He cracks me up. In writing or on video.

I do have some questions. Matt, when you get to a spot 5 hrs early, WHAT do you do then?! I don't know if I have the stamina to sit in the cold AND rain for 5 hours just waiting! Wow, what dedication. I'm a wuss compared to you! Did you get to walk around amongst the booths? Buy anything? (Hey, I'm female. I am genetically encrypted to BUY something when I go to an "event"! :) And thanks so much for the photos! I also wish I'd known you'd have your 1.5 seconds of fame as I would have taped the stage! And didn't Levi just FLY in that TT?!

Hey, did you all see Levi's petition is over 40,000? One more thing that pissed me off about that other blog's post. How dense can you be to not see this is good thing?! Levi IS the American hope for the TDF so he should be the "face" of the campaign here in America. Whether it helps convince ASO of the travesty of their actions is only ONE reason it is a great thing. It gives the fans at least a FEELING that they can do something to help. It becomes a freakin focal point of action. I just wish someone in the msm, you know, who has covered cycling over the past 10 years (austinmurphy) was on the side of justice & printed the site's name at their msm site. There would be a LOT more signees then. Yeah, yeah, if wishes were bikes then beggars would ride... Or something like that. ;)

Now here's a race question. Why don't the guys in a 5-10 man breakaway do the echelon thing like they do in the Team Time Trial? Wouldn't that make them faster? I think I've only ever seen that in a breakaway a couple times in all these years. And then why don't the guys continue to work together longer? They must know where the peloton is from their earpieces. Don't these guys EVER listen to Phil & Paul? :) They are ALWAYS saying that once the guys stop working together, the break will fall apart & be caught. Granted, it depends on the situation, but still, why do the break guys stop cooperating SO far from the finish line? I guess each one thinks they can attack & make it to the end by themselves. Which is possible, but I much more often see the results that Phil, Paul& Bob say is inevitable.

Next question. I know in the TDF that the winner gives his winnings to split amongst the team. Is that also done for ALL races? Or just the Grand Tours? What about the money won for an individual stage in a regular race such as the ToC? Is it dividied up too? I have always wondered this & have never read about it.

And finally, a non-cycling question. Waddy - where abouts in Connecticut? How long did it take you to find your new house? Did you do the house hunting in-person all in one day? Won't you miss the relative balmy winters of NC? At least you don't have to move til after this year's winter is over! Do you think you'll be in CT long-term? And I'm glad to see your comments again. Now, if we can only get my brother Larry to visit. :)


Susie, Whew, that's a lot to chew on.

First, We're moving to the county just east of Hartford. A little town called Glastonbury. Spent just about 5 days spread over 2 weekends up there actually going into houses, but spent a couple of months looking at the listings online. Makes it much easier when it comes time to pull the trigger. I'll definintely miss the mild winters, but not the brutal summers. It's hard to be out in the sun on 90 - 100 degree days. And that lasts for 2 months. So it's a tradeoff. Plus, my daughter loves the snow. And hopefully, this will be the last move indefinitely.

As far as Levi goes, it's just sad that it has come to this. I hate to say it, but cyclists as a group are stupid. There is no earthly reason why these guys aren't unionized. Before anyone gets behind the UCI, remember that the last person the riders want to have representing them to anybody is the UCI. Ask Floyd, Rasmussen, or Lance for that matter. This is completely political and the riders are left standing around pulling the lycra out of their asses. It drives me crazy. The riders themselves are the only element that can get the UCI and ASO to back down. I'm sure the Major League Baseball Players Association would not have called on Bud Selig to represent them. Remember the '94 strike - the year without a World Series? Who prevailed? The players.

The conspiracy theorist in me also thinks that Lance knew of ASO's intentions to keep Bruyneel out of their races and knew it was a losing situation with the sponsors. Lance, first and foremost, is a money man. He knew when to get out. And perhaps, with Big George being his BFF, George was tipped off not to stay with Johan. With only a couple of good years left, you think Lance would leave his buddy to waste his last years?

As for the breakaway/eschelon question, on a long stage, the pace is such that an eschelon is usually formed when they are dealing with a cross wind. Other than that, their greatest advantage is to draft right on someone's wheel, and take turns pulling as hard as you can at the front. TTT are usually much shorter and done at higher average speeds. Fast enough that being directly on someone's wheel for an extended period is very risky. Think of it kind of like a slightly slower lead out on a sprint. Also, teams generally practice that formation like the Blue Angels practicing an air show. On a TTT course they have to fly in tight formation. Riders unfamiliar with each other would be ill advised to risk crashing. And the biggest factor, of course is that riders in a break seldom have a common goal. Often, riders are out there for strictly for some bonuses on the road and sponsor exposure time. The peleton always has much better odds at catching than breaks have a chance to stay away. That's because it's not hard if a team or 2 really want to catch them. Whereas the riders in a break are usually at or beyond their limit by the time the finish nears.


Oh,my, look at all the information, and opinions we have today!!
Re: the breakaway, Zirbel said everyone was pulling and not sitting on to long, working to gether. Then I watched GH's interview, and George says that they all wanted him to do the most work! I believe George, and Tom is still young. In the ToM, the breakaway on stage 2 (finish here in Sfld); would have fractured if not for Big George keeping it organized and focused. THAT's the kind of stuff, that our young riders can learn from the older "Pro-Tour" riders!

I had also forgotten that Tom Zirbel had the same blood clotting problem that Mike Freidman has, til Brad Huff reminded everyone on his blog!!


Susie, I don't get to a spot 5 hours early...that would kill me. We went down to SLO for the finish to stage 4 I think...only a few hours early (turned out to be a bit more due to the SLOW stage that day). We took turns keeping our SPOT and browsing the schwag tents (and yes, I bought a new Voler wind-vest...very cool!) For the solvang TT, I was parked by 8:30am (race starts at noon) but I rode the course, AND once again browsed thru the schwag-village down in solvang...THEN I headed back to my spot, was only there about an hour before the Pro's started. In the TDF, people camp out for DAYS on the big climbs...(it's all a party though).

to add to Waddys info on the breakaways...most riders in a break have hopes THEY might prevail and win the day (unless they were in the break purposely to slow it down for their guy back in the Peleton). You get a few guys working their asses off taking proper turns, and one or 2 guys NOT doing their share, realizing if they can hang on till the end, they have a much better chance to out sprint the dudes who did all the work... as they are not as the guys doing the work know this, and sooner or later they might sit up and say ' it yourself, I'm NOT dragging you to the finish just so you can outsprint me...we work together to the end and each have a shot, or we will sit up and let the peleton catch us, and none of us will have a's your choice....and so many times, the wheel-suckers will still sit back not taking turns, and then the break falls apart and is caught. And sometimes the guy wheel-sucking is already at his limit and CAN'T take pulls (or is faking it making it LOOK like thats the case Nobody wants to pull another guy to the finish line just to get beat by them.

Waddy, I agree it surely is not (normally) in the best interests of the riders to have Mr. McQuaid doing their heavy lifting...but as there is NO riders union to do this for them at this time, he's the only game in town for Astana right now...(as distasteful as that thought is)...there is no way the riders will ALL stand up and say NO to the ASO without a union telling them they have to. If you go to Rant's blog, he talks about the McQuaid thing... and the fact that the UCI's stance is a hollow they apparently have no real way to sanction any teams that defy his 'suggestion' that they skip Paris-Nice. That would be too bad, I'd surely like to see what happens if NO pro teams show at the race just once. The riders REALLY need a Union..but that would be very difficult to make happen, as EVERYBODY ELSE would surely NOT want to see that. They would get too much power. They could start making sure ALL pro riders get a decent contract, stand up for riders in peril, and STOP all this 'ooh...your name was found scrawled upon a yellow sticky blowing down the street in zimbabwe, and it mentioned that your uncles 3rd cousin on your moms side actually knew WHO Dr. Fuentes you can't race untill we sort this out...which hopefully will be by sometime by 2013'. If there are no ACTUAL CHARGES filed against a rider, then he gets to ride...pure and simple. Ahhh...the perfect workd.


ahem...'perfect WORLD'..apparently my fingers were tired and I didn't proof the last bit..


So next year will be "Welcome to Winter", Waddy ;)

"ooh...your name was found scrawled upon a yellow sticky blowing down the street in zimbabwe, ........"
BMOMN funny, Matt!

susie b

Thanks for the input. New question, in a TTT, when the riders are all wheel to wheel but straight back & not fanned out across the road, isn't that an "echelon" too? Or only when they fan out to battle the crosswinds?

And I also laughed OUT LOUD over the Zimbabwe post-it. Y'know, that right there is probably enough to get a rider flagged. Hope you're happy now Matt! :)

Oh, & I thought you wrote you got to the one stage site at noon. That was the 7 hour stage & if the riders left at 10 that morning.... Um, doesn't that make you there 5 hours? Yes, I know, I've got mad math skillz. Maybe you're trying to repress the memory. All that cold & rain, who can blame you! :) And no ToC t-shirt? I probably wouldn't have been able to resist. I'm an 'occasion t-shirt' fiend. It's a sickness.

Ooh, one more question. Do ALL the cool Cali kids refer to Slovang as SLO? I've seen it referred to as such by both Mat & Cathy & I want to know so I can at least PRETEND to be cool!


Hey, Waddy, I have two friends, one of whom is a biking buddy, who just moved to Glastonbury last fall! Small world... but then we knew that. Enjoy - I hear it's a great place to live and a great place to raise your kids.

This has been a very enjoyable and educational "conversation" - at times rant (you go, Susie!) and at times a clinic on tactics - a great capstone to the ToC. Can't wait for Paris-Nice.

Sara Best

Susie B, I don't think it's Solvang that those cool Cali Katz refer to as SLO, I think it's San Luis Obispo.

Being the farthest of all of us from Cali though I certainly have the least chance of ever being that cool so I could be wrong on that.


Weird, weird, weird. I picked up my daughter and her friend from preschool today. The Dad of my daughter's friend left their kiddy car seat in the office of the school for me to pick up. It had, and I'm completely serious, a CANARY YELLOW STICKY on it with her friend's name on it. I grabbed it and we walked outside. The yellow sticky blew off and into the street. I ran out to chase it down, thinking it wasn't a good idea to litter and have a sticky note with my daughter's friend's name on it floating around town. I just got a chill. Hold me.




Hi, everybody! I came back from the race on Sunday afternoon (a day later than planned because my flight was cancelled, and I was devastated, so devastated to have to stay and watch another stage...). After work yesterday & today I have been trying to catch up with the media coverage of the race to fill in what I didn't see--and Sara, your reports are really good! And the rest of you, your comments are also so helpful, enlightening,& entertaining! I am glad I know this site.

Anyway, I saw the beginning &/or end of most of the stages last week & spent a lot of time wandering around the team buses; I was a course marshal at the start in Sausalito; did traffic control in SLO (after 4 hours in the pouring rain I was a bit hypothermic myself, fortunately was able to hang it up at that point & see the race finish); Oh, and I was also one of those doping control moniters in Santa Rosa--The woman who watched the team shower was doing exactly what she was supposed to do. The rider is not supposed to be out of her sight until he reports to the medical camper, he has a time limit to do so, and we were firmly instructed to go into the team bus with them if they chose to do so. The rider who chose to shower with her there knew exactly what he was doing & probably hoped to embarrass her into leaving. One of the 2 riders that I was assigned to escort was clearly not happy to have to do it & kept trying to rummage around in knapsacks & the team van out of my sight--I have no idea if there is some sort of substance that could be consumed to act as a masking agent just before giving a sample, but the idea is to prevent that.

Cathy, I am sure that I saw you at least twice, but not close enough to hail!

I watched the riders pass on the road between Mt. Hamilton & Sierra Road with Steve Cozza's parents--A very friendly couple. His mom was lamenting the mustaches that he & DZ have grown! "Why do they want to look like that?" Hehe! Saw DZ several times pre stage at close hand & he always looked rather grim -- hearing he wasn't feeling well makes sense. I wouldn't be surprised, though, to hear that there is some exasperation & annoyance on the part of the riders at the spectators milling around in the areas where they are trying to warm up, I saw a few close calls.

Matt, if you were the only one in that jersey, then I saw you, too!

My favorite picture that I didn't get--at the start of the time trial in Solvang, there were bright yellow placards that said "Hey TdF 08 No Astana NOT WATCHING" Well, someone stuck one on the back of the Quickstep car set to follow Hulsman & it was pulled off at the last minute by the Gerolsteiner driver behind. Neither of them seemed to be amused! But I stuck one on the back of my car as I waited on the road outside of Santa Paula (stage 6) & got quite a few honks, waves & cheers from the cars preceding the peloton! Even a few smiles from riders; even so I got the feeling that the european teams may be quite content to let Astana absorb the wrath of ASO & shield them from the heat.

What a fun week this was!

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