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Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 Photo Gallery
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 2/21/2006
Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 Photo Gallery

Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 Photo Gallery
A pictorial of Stage 1 the riders and the finishing circuit in Santa Rosa.

At the Start Line:

Gilberto "Gibo" Simoni  Giro winner, Italian "Cool"

Southern Californian Floyd Landis in good spirits at the start

"Tour of California Blessed by an Angel" Photo c. courtesy of Mike Larro
Tour of California Angel escorts a fan; the ToCA Angel showed up on Bodega Hwy to guide the riders through the turn onto Jonive Rd.

"Levi in the Middle" Photo c. courtesy of Mike Larro

Levi in the middle with George Hincapie following on Bodega Highway caught by Mike Larro reader who was among the thousands of fans that lined the roads in California on Monday to catch the action as the Peloton passed.

 Santa Rosa finishing Circuit

Gerolsteiner, Phonak, Health Net, Colavita, lead in the 1rst lap circuit

Health Net vet Mike Sayers mixing it up with Gerolsteiner and Phonak as the teams stretch the peloton out on the second circuit at 35mph. Sayers was the highest finisher on the day for Health Net Presented by Maxxis in 11th after Gord Fraser flatted after the entrance into Santa Rosa.

Chris Horner and Davitamon/Lotto team mates put the pressure on to set up Fast Freddy Rodriguez for the sprint. Honer only 22 seconds out of the leaders jersey will no doubt factor into the race as it heads to the hills on Stage 2 today.

Today's Stage 2 is expected to be the first stage to bring about a split in the peloton. The 95-mile stage from Martinez to San Jose hits a single Category 1 mountain, the Sierra Road climb east of San Jose. But the road to the peak is so narrow that not all the peloton will be able to fit on it at once, so riders who want to have a shot at the golden jersey will need to be in the front of the peloton when the roads start to squeeze.

Juan Jose Haedo of Argentina finishes a bike length ahead of Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile) and O'Grady of CSC in third. Haedo and his new team Toyota/United Pro celebrated their first win in their first race of the year. J.J. once again started his season with a win, in 2005  he started the year with a victory at the  McClane Pacific Classic Road Race in Merced, the 125 mile Spring opener.

O'Grady's results were even more impressive considering that CSC didn't have a sprint train to lead him to the line. CSC's main priorities today were protecting David Zabriskie and Bobby Julich for general classification. " If Stuart could do something on his own, that was great," said Team CSC sport director Scott Sunderland. "He's a very capable sprinter Ė he can look to see what the other sprinter's teams are doing and can grab hold of those trains."

Dave Towles the dean of American race announcers interviews Levi Leipheimer at the finish in Santa Rosa. The paparazzi, TV crews, journalistas cicli, with the eager California cycling crazy tifosi in the background listen to the man in gold.

ďIíve been dreaming for months, training the whole winter, every day, thinking about the possibility of winning the prologue and bringing the yellow jersey into my hometown, and then to actually realize that dream is something I canít describe. Itís an amazing feeling,Ē said Leipheimer.

"Build it and they will come..." the cycling crazy fans of North America turned out in the tens of thousands to watch the first Tour of California.

All photos copyright Mark Adkison Phd. and unless otherwise noted.

ESPN 1 Hour TV Coverage continues throughout the week
TV coverage on ESPN Schedule

Stage 2
Tuesday February 21 ESPN2 10:00pm (PST)
Stage 3
Wednesday February 22 ESPN2 10:00pm (PST)
Stage 4
Thursday February 23 ESPN2 10:00pm (PST)
Stage 5
Friday February 24 ESPN2 10:00pm (PST)
Stage 6
Saturday February 25 ESPN2 10:00pm (PST)
Stage 7
Sunday February 26 ESPN2 10:00pm (PST)

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