Even though I spend more time in Belgium than my home town of Mill Valley, CA, I am really excited about the Amgen Tour of CA. If I weren't a pro cyclist myself, having conflicting obligations to be in Southern France at the Pruneaux D'Agen Team Presentation and Training Camp, I would have considered flying home just to watch some of the fastest cyclists on earth travel my local training roads at mach speed.
I know where I would have stood to watch them - along the first climb of stage 1 that runs through Marin County, at the intersection of Shoreline Highway and Erica Road as they make their way up Mt. Tamalpais. It is a pity they will bypass last year's stretch of Highway 1 between Muir Beach and Stinson Beach as it is postcard gorgeous! It undulates along a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
What i don't understand is why name brand euros such as current World and olympic Champion Paolo Bettini will travel for 15-25 hours on a plane for this race which is completely out of their way. For the views? Financial incentive? Maybe the weather? Team orders? Why are the teams willing to put in the time, effort, money to travel across the world for one early season bike race?