Boz and Tao show at Tour of California

Boswell thinking about Cali.

Boswell thinking about Cali.

There’s a certain irony that thanks to the UCI upgrade of the Tour of California, an amazing development team like Axeon didn’t get an entry to the big show but the pro riders they’ve sent up to the big leagues are welcome.

Tour of California organizers were able to secure an exemption to the “WorldTour and Pro Continental teams only” rule, but only for two Continental squads, not four. That’s a yes for Jelly Belly-Maxxis and Rally Cycling and a no for Axeon and Holowesko-Citadel.

So while Axeon guru Axel Merckx and his young guns find another, far lower profile race for mid May, his former student Ian Boswell (Team Sky) and recent Axeon grad Tao Geoghagen Hart will be in California. In fact, Boswell will take the leadership role in his first attempt to win a week long stage race.

Merckx can take some solace in knowing that while his development team didn’t make the cut, his developed riders will have a huge impact and shape the Amgern Tour of California. He can watch from a distance as athletes Lawson Craddock and perhaps Taylor Phinney light fireworks on a stage or two.

Perhaps we’ll also see Ben King (Dimension Data) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory Racing). We’re assuming Joe Dombrowski is Giro bound but who knows and we’re always good for watching former Nice, France roommates Dombrowski and Boswell duke it out on Mount Baldy.

In any case, it’s a kind of Twilight Zone effect for Merckx and his merry band of future stars at Axeon. Not physically there in California but there. Which does have a nice Cali-Buddhist vibe to it all and it’s just too bad that show host Rod Serling isn’t alive and running the Tour of California. He’s know how to bend time and space and imagination to get four Continental teams in, not just two.

So we’ll just watch The Boz and Tao put on their own little showcase while Axeon is somewhere else riding something smaller and far from the big crowds. That’s bike racing to throw out the cliche.

“For California, it’s not like I’m a proven winner so I won’t have the team on the front from stage 1. We have some cards to play and Tao is riding well this year,” said Boswell.

We’re ready for the 2017 Tour of California which kicks off on May 11th. No Axeon, but plenty of Merckx riders.

 

 

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