Tour of California: Early fun for fans who meet Team Garmin
For Team Garmin-Cervélo, the 2011 Tour of California festivities began a few days early here in the Reno/Tahoe area. On a beautiful Thursday evening, fans flocked to REI in Reno to meet two-time Tour de France top 8 finisher Christian Vande Velde, 2010 Tour of Poland champion Dan Martin and Tour of Romandie’s best young rider Andrew Talansky.
And as children and their parents lined up to introduce one generation of cyclists to the next, we were reminded of one of our favorite things about cycling – that fans get to cheer and chat with the world’s best with access not seen in other professional sports. When crowds line the streets of California for the next week and watch the peloton fly by, they’ll do so for free from the equivalent of 50-yard-line seats and courtside tickets. In addition to the posters and water bottles that were signed by the guys, a couple kids brought their helmets for autographs – which led Christian to quip “We just devalued your helmets by marking them up.” But judging by the smiling faces that will be wearing those helmets, they’re now priceless. And one man brought his bike (complete with Edge 500) and had the three pros sign the frame. We’re guessing he’ll be even more careful now not to crash.
With winter weather rolling in this weekend, all eyes are on the forecast and what effect the predicted snowfall could have on Sunday’s Stage 1 around Lake Tahoe. We’ll be tweeting from the Tour, so follow @Garmin on Twitter as well as Jake's list of cycling media and see how America’s top race plays out.
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