Worth considering a name change: The Pete Sagan Tour of California or The Golden Bear State presented by Pete Sagan or maybe just some dramatic like the Slovak0-Cali Pete Sagan Lime Green Adventure.
Whatever, right? Three wins in a row in the 2012 Tour of California on top of the other three stages in previous two editions make you the boss man of the biggest stage race in the States. This is starting to feel like Mark Cavendish and HTC Highroad, Tour de France 2010 and 2011. In other words, dominance.
Do we simply need to make the switch from the Gold Rush State to the Lime Green State? Is Pete, at the young age of 22, ready to be the dictator of the roads of California? Crap and crapola, he likes it here. The kid is starting to opening smile when he hears the roar of applause.
Once again the talk was ohh, scary climbs, sure to break up, GC teams set to hammer and then … not much action. At one point Garmin-Barracuda went to the front to jack up the pace and set the stage for their fast man Heinrich Haussler but that didn’t last long. The Germanic-Austrailian is Mr Second place in Cali — he’s starting to feel like Tyler Farrar up against Cav.
Veteran sprinter Fast Freddie Rodriquez called the sprint “disorganized” and that may be true in the strict sense but the results sure didn’t change. This is getting to be one of those embarrassing situations where next year the organizers will hope Liquigas sends Sagan to the Giro. And after six wins, would he really have to come back for more? Gluttony gets embarrassing after a while.
After the first win, Liquigas stuck their stuffed black bear with a Liquigas cap out the bus window. Amusing, great photo opp. After two wins, it was two bears sticking heads out the window. What now? — you can hear the phone conversion with the bus rental company — “can we get a vehicle with more windows? Uhh, why, asks confide rental agent? Because we are running out of windows for the bears.”
Tom Boonen, the number one rank rider in the world, Mr Paris Roubaix and Flanders, wanted stage three. He put his guys on the front and the result was third. Heinrich Haussler was fed up with two second place booby prices so Garmin-Barracuda went to the front and the result was yet another deuce.
Now maybe if they had Timmy Duggan absolutely killing himself closing gaps and destroying breaks, they could win. If they had Vincenzo Nibali, who made the decisive moves in Milan San Remo and Liege Bastogne Liege, they would have cruised home in first place. If they had even Ted King and his banged up knee, who knows. Fact is, Liquigas Cannondale puts hammer down and Pete Sagan wins and lime champions takes swig of California champagne, not that Astoria crap they’re pouring in the Giro.
Two years ago in California, Sagan stunned race winner Michael Rogers of HTC Columbia by winning an uphill sprint to Big Bear Lake. That’s stage six this year and then there’s the final sprint in downtown Los Angeles.
That’s a lot of bears sticking out of a lot of windows.