The Tour of California men's race is underway and so it's time for me to post my picks.
So without any excess discussion, here's my picks:
- Andrew Talansky, Garmin-Cannondale
- Phil Gaimon, Optum
- Joe Dumbrowski, Garmin-Cannondale
Darkhorse picks for the top 10 are the Morton brothers on Team Jelly Belly.
Talansky is an established stage racer, and his teammate Dumbrowski did a breakthrough race here in 2012 (story on Dumbrowski here). Phil Gaimon honed his form with Garmin in the World Tour last year, and is focused on this race. He won the Redlands Classic fairly conclusively and knows what it takes to do well in California. A lot of the pack is here just for training or stage wins. So the battle for GC is fairly limited. So these are my top 3.
Really funny with Gaimon: Diamondback had a special cookie-themed bike built for him for the race but they did it in the wrong size. That's perhaps the difference between the pro tour and pro-continental.
I'm really glad to see the race do a women's stage race this year and that seems to have gone very well. It was more the "Tour of Tahoe" than the "Tour of California" but that's better than it has been. The first two stages were exciting and ended in climbs and the result was a tough GC battle which ends today on day 3 with a crit. Hopefully the race can build on this next year, extending the women's race by maybe two days to yield something more worthy of a top women's field. I wish I could have seen some of it: a trip out to Tahoe isn't a terrible idea in any case. It would have been possible to combine the race with a nice ride into the mountains. But other stuff has gotten in the way, in particular a cat which required major medical attention. But maybe next year.
added: Well, Talansky didn't work out so well... I relate since allergies have been really bad this year.