Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time Trial Returns to Solvang

Peter Sagan greets fans
The Tour of California arrived in Solvang on Friday for the Stage 6 individual time trial. Normally a quiet town dotted with Danish shops and bakeries, Solvang was buzzing with the teams, vendors and fans. The charming streets were packed, but there were fewer fans than in 2009, the last time the town hosted the time trial and when Lance Armstrong was competing.

Solvang offers a warmer and more welcoming setting for the event than the downtown Los Angeles site of last year. While the course starts with a tough grade making it challenging for the cyclists to get into a fast pace, the cozy set-up adds to the excitement for spectators, and the views of green hills definitely beat the concrete and construction scenes in L.A.

The day included an amateur time trial and first-ever women’s international time trial, before the men’s race. David Zabriskie won the day, a disappointment to Levi Leipheimer who was still looking for good results in this Tour. Leipheimer missed the win by fourteen seconds, and Tejay Van Gardaren came in third and moved up in the overall standings to sixth as a result.
BMC rider warming up
One spectator confronts the Contador issue
Phil Ligget poses with fans
Leopard-Trek team bikes

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