Okay, so this is really late; what can I say, life gets in the way.
I’m a lucky guy – my wife is almost as much into watching pro bike racing as I am. She loves the Tour de France, watching every minute of the live coverage of every stage along with me for the past several years now. She has also joined me in watching the local stages of the Tour of Missouri since it’s inception in 2007. Since the wife likes to watch, the kids come along too. Let’s call her “AW” for awesome wife (term shamelessly stolen from Alex Watcher)! This year, after watching the opening ToM stage in St. Louis, AW and I traveled to Kansas City with the kids in tow to watch the final stage. We arrived well in advance of the start to ensure that we had enough time to visit all the vendors (the kids love the free stuff!), and after some debate about where we wanted to watch the race we both decided that we really wanted to be as close as possible to the start/finish line. We found a spot on the barriers ~50m past the line and setup up our chairs – much to the chagrin I’d imagine of the latecomers who found us unwilling to just pack up and let them squeeze in.
I got some pretty good pictures of a few of my favorite racers, including all-around tough guy Jens Voigt (Team Saxo Bank), racing again after his horrific crash in this year’s Tour de France:
…green jersey wearer Thor Hushhovd (Cervelo Test Team), my favorite sprinter because of his versatility (fast sprints, uphill sprints, and even prologues) and badass name (if I ever have a son, I’m naming him Thor):
…and overall race leader David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), probably my favorite time trialist outside of Fabian Cancellara:
It was fun seeing all the top names lined up in the front row at the start of the race – view the gallery below and see if you can pick out this year’s TdF best climber jersey winner Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), 2007 TdF podium-finisher Levi Leipheimer (Astana), best climber Moises Aldape Chavez (Team Type 1), overall race leader David Zabriskie, Thor Hushhovd, Stage 6’s most aggressive rider Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo Test Team), U.S. road champion George Hincapie (Team Columbia-HTC), and the disgraced but ever-popular Floyd Landis (Ouch Presented By Maxxis):
I tried like heck to get a good photo of Hincapie, resplendant in his beautiful national champion jersey, but the best I could do was the distant images at the start (above) and this photo taken while he chatted with Levi mid-race:
Sprint phenom Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-HTC) had to withdraw after winning Stages 1 and 2, but he stuck around for the duration of the race, and I was able to catch a few photos of him chatting with Paul Sherwin and Frankie Andreau in the broadcast tent:
I was happy when my man Thor got the victory in Stage 3, and I was hoping to see him close it out with a victory in the final stage as well on his way to securing the green jersey in the final classification. Martin Gilbert (Planet Energy) had other ideas, however, and took the stage, and Floyd’s teammate Andrew Pinfold (Ouch Presented By Maxxis) nipped the big Norwegian at the line for 2nd place. In retrospect, I was glad to see a domestic squad take such a high-profile win. Click on the image below to see a gallery of photos from the finish:
As we were walking back to the car after the stage, I embarrassed my older daughter by calling out to the different riders that I recognized as they went by on their way down from the team busses. Someday she’ll understand.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009