Yesterday, the Tour of California (thankfully, not Tour de California) was just a grim, jagged profile in the night. Now all of a sudden *BAM* the watertight compartments are flooded and Leo’s waist-deep in 35-degree seawater, trying to find an axe to hack off Kate Winslet’s handcuffs. Congrats to the Tour of California marketing board for releasing the route in the post-season news vaccuum, before people have gotten tired of constantly checking news agencies for news that isn’t there. The media was on this story like overcrowded pirhanhas on a one-legged cow. Of course, some important things are missing, still, like, well, ANY real stage-specific details (there’s just this omnipresent map) but if you’ve read the above links, you know at least that ESPN2 (“The Duece”) will be providing nightly coverage of the race, which runs from Feb 19 through the 26th. If you’re a subject of Herr Governator, I would strongly recommend volunteering at the event, because it will be freakin’ sweet.
Though Paolo Bettini’s Quick-Step team looks not be on the start list (which is too bad, as he is from La California in Italy), one rider who’ll fit right in, courtesy of his beautifully tousled surfer hair, is recent recent Disco signing and former Postie Matt White. Whitey was, you’ll recall, another bit of fallout from the Sony-Ericsson debacle. With most ProTour rosters already bursting at the seams, it’s beginning to look unlikely that any remaining lost riders will get scooped up. Speaking of being lost, remember Igor Astarloa? Won the world title in 2003, signed with Cofidis, got forced onto Lampre due to a drug scandal unrelated to him at Cofidis, didn’t score any results and ended up out of the ProTour? Well, rumors have been flying that he’ll be back with Lampre next season. But previously, those rumors had hinged on the Spaniard’s close association with then-probable Lampre co-sponsor Valsir. With Fondital now the apparent co-sponsor of Lampre, could this jeopardoze the former World Champ’s spot on the roster? I, and cycling fans everywhere, certainly hope not.