This sure is going to be an exciting Giro! It's already gotten off to a great start with today's beautiful team-time-trial on Lido Island just outside Venice. Can there be any better place to begin a race?
Actually, I take that back. Start it in Venice itself with the racers leaping their bikes over the canals -- now that would be awesome!!!
Ahem ... anyway ... it was a nice outing today by Team Columbia High Road, whom I've decided to root for along with Team Garmin Slipstream, as the only two American teams in the race. Of course I'll root for Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong on Astana as individuals. But it's nice having a couple of American teams to cheer about as a whole as well. And the Team Time Trial has to be one of the most graceful events in all of sports -- the way the riders keep that perfect straight-line formation, each taking a brief turn at the front of the pack before dropping to the back in a smooth, seamless motion. Watching this occur on the beautiful streets of the Lido was an incredible sight.
The only downside to this year's Giro is not having television coverage by my favorite commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen (see my post from April 11). Races really take on a mythological, epic flavor with them. So I've decided to go an individualistic route when it comes to following the 2009 Giro D'Italia. I'll be pulling in news from a number of sources, including the streaming coverage on the Universal Sports website (www.universalsports.com), some blogs and articles, and a Twitter or two.
Today I watched a bit of the archived Stage 1 live stream on the Universal Sports site, followed Lance Armstrong and Paul Sherwen's Twitters, read a blog by Michael Barry (who is riding with Columbia High Road and keeping a journal with VeloNews [www.velonews.com]), and read articles on Versus.com by Frankie Andreu, Connie Carpenter, and the ever-eccentric, always-entertaining Bob Roll. That's really what makes bicycling so much fun. It's not just about the races; it's all these one-of-a-kind characters who also happen to be great writers.
So tomorrow it's off to Trieste in Stage 2...