Day one of the tour:
Wow! Fans are everywhere, riders are fit and the media circus is in full effect. I had my first big assignment this morning. We had to do a prologue course report on a closed course which is never easy.
Before I get to that, my day today started great with a bike ride over two laps of the prologue TT course. I went out with Jesse Barthalmue for a couple of hot laps to get a good read on this challenging TT course. After get lost a couple of times on our way we figured out where the start was and we were on our way. My legs were killing me this morning. I have not run in some time and I have run twice since I have been here. My legs are just not used to that sort of pounding, but I marched on up the very difficult first 7.5k of this course.
The course is stunning with one picturesque view after the next. These riders will be suffering but if there is a silver lining and they can pick there head up for a second will enjoy one of the most beautiful TT courses I have ever seen. I am so glad I got to do a couple of laps on the course and experience a once in a lifetime bike ride. I have raced here in Monaco over 14 years ago when I was a neo-pro racing in the NCL bike league. Suffice to say this is a much bigger event and this town has down an incredible job preparing for the grand depart!
After the ride I went back to the hotel (got lost a couple of times in the process) and prepared myself for the course report. I set up the course report nicely and discussed the challenges of the climb. I then threw it back to Frankie and he closed the deal with a little piece on the dicey corner about 5km from the finish.
Well, the race today clearly eliminated some of the pre-race favorites. Some of the riders really struggled on this very challenging course. One of the most exciting feelings I have had in a long time was waiting for Lance to start his time trial. From his first pedal stroke to his last, everyone was glued to their radios and the big screen. I think the heat effected many of the cyclists today. It was really hot today and I was sweating like mad all day. Riders like Frank Schlek, Sastre, Kim Kirchin and Denis Menchov all lost heaps of time today and it will be difficult to make up all that time.
I do believe that Lance ripped it today: 10th overall is plenty good to give him a great chance to win the race. Gonna be a great tour!