Lance Armstrong, left in yellow and black and Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer head up King Ridge Road near Cazadero on a training ride, Wednesday February 3, 2009 (source)
The 2009 Tour of California featuring Lance Armstrong, Ivan Basso, Levi, Mark Cavendish and George Hincapie starts next Saturday, February 14 - Valentines Day - at 12:00 noon.
Shari Nicholls, my Burbank High School friend, is on the support team and I'll be meeting up with her next Sunday in Santa Rosa, so stay tuned!
Update from TV-50
And from the Sonoma Valley Sun
February 6, 2009
Lance Armstrong rides in Sonoma
Chip Roberson Special to the Sun
Soon, Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France (TdF) champion, will roll into Sonoma County once again. On Sunday, Feb. 15, the Fourth Annual Amgen Tour of California will pass through Saint Helena, cross over the Mayacamas Mountains and dive into Santa Rosa.
This year the season, the tour and the Santa Rosa stage are all primed to provide some excellent drama.
First, we have the return of Lance Armstrong – undeniably the superstar of professional cycling. His participation in the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia has once again brought out record attendance, and the buzz is building for the Amgen Tour.
Second, Lance has become the fourth man on Team Astana, which already has a TdF winner (Alberto Contador), a two-time TdF secondnd-place finisher (Andreas Klöden) and a third-place and four-time top-10 TdF finisher (Levi Leipheimer). Then we have the always interesting three-time USA Cycling Champion (Chris Horner). Who will reveal himself as the leader during the 2009 Amgen Tour of California?
Finally, did I mention that Santa Rosa is the home of Levi Leipheimer, who happened to win the last two Amgen Tours, in 2008 and 2007? Stage 1 of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California is going to be an opening scene in a multi-act drama for the American cycling fan. But that’s not the beginning of the cycling story in Sonoma.
Sonoma County has a special place in the history of American cycling. In the ‘80s the great 7-Eleven cycling team based its training camps at the north end of the Valley of the Moon and made many of the rides around the county famous, including our own Cavedale and Trinity road climbs. 7-Eleven boasted some of the great riders of the day and eventually became the Motorola team that launched Lance Armstrong’s career.
Over the last several weeks, Lance has been spotted riding around the world, including Sonoma Valley. How do I know this? Lance has been sending me updates and even pictures to my phone! Like an increasing number of professional athletes, Lance is using Twitter to keep his fans informed and engaged.
I imagine that more than a few readers are unfamiliar with Twitter.com, which is technically a “micro-blogging” service. I just like to think of it as a personal news feed to which athletes, newspapers, etc. post breaking news. Lance has used it to tell us about his training, his races, the places he has visited, his foundation and even when “Drug Control” comes knocking (which is quite often)!
I wasn’t following Lance when he was last in Sonoma, but after reading what he has written about other areas (e.g., describing the Old Mamalahoa Highway on the Big Island as “One of the top five finest roads I’ve ridden. A must see.”) I regret that I wasn’t following him back then. However, he’ll be back and I’ll be following his every word.
Finally, thanks to Twitter, we have Lance’s daily schedule from when he was on vacation in Hawaii recently:
“The schedule is always the same here. 5 a.m: wake up, drink lots of coffee. 6 a.m: eat breakfast. 7 a.m: start the ride. Noon: finish. 12:30: lunch. 3 p.m: massage. 4– p.m: six holes of golf. 6 p.m: dip my beak in a frosty beverage. 7 p.m: dinner. 9– p.m: bedtime. Repeat.”
Addendum: Team Astana just announced on Twitter that they’re on their way to Santa Rosa! You might want to keep your eyes open as you drive around our Sonoma roads. If you want to follow the race on TV, you’ll find it on Versus.
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A portion of the Astana team rides over the Jenner Bridge above the Russian River here in Sonoma County, Wednesday February 4, 2009 with Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer (source)