The Tour of California got another boost and the Giro another hit. Not a major one but the continuation of a trend that’s gathering forces.
CHristian Vande Velde of Garmin-Gervelo, laid out his 2011 racing program and won’t be coming back to the Giro this year. He’s California bound.
“I really realized this last year that I appreciate riding back in the States. That’s obviously where I’m from and I feel that much more relaxed. You don’t have to fight anything. It was really hard for me to watch the guys back in California and miss out on that,” said Vande Velde.
Now that many people rate the Giro as difficult as the Tour, more riders are giving up the idea of the double or even using the Italian stage race as preparation.
Ivan Basso will likely ride the Tour of California and there’s a good chance with last year’s winner Michael Rogers now in the team, that Sky and Bradley Wiggins will also head to Cali. Last year, Andy Schleck decided that California dreaming was a good choice for this tour build-up. Will he be returning with his Luxembourg mystery squad?
Giro impresario Angelo Zomegnan, the king of cycle spectacle, has turned his country’s grand tour into a true rival to the Tour de France, His exciting routes, eye toward drama and innovative (or crazy) ideas like a Washington D.C. start have reinvigorated the Giro. Plus there’s his skillful pandering with the latin eye candy.
The only drawback to the new and improved Giro is that it’s too damn hard for anyone thinking about a podium in Paris. This as been duly noted by the organizers of the Amgen Tour of California who pitch their eight stage race as both escape from the pressures of euro racing and a more laid-back but demanding way to reach form.
Now, if the Tour of California could only master the spectacle part the way Zomegnan has, the Giro would have a formidable adversary. Think about it, fellas. Must hire more podium girls. I mean come on, it’s California.
We can do better.