Breaking Away

Wasn’t there a bicycle movie where the protagonist breaks away early in the race and manages to hold the lead for the entire race?

The Peloton Stage 1

That happened in real life Sunday during Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California when Rock Racing’s Francisco Mancebo broke away shortly after the neutral start and rode — all by himself — for 100 miles. A small group gave chase but Mancebo crossed the finish line alone and victorious as the huge crowds in Santa Rosa went wild.

One man race

Fabian Cancellara of Saxo Bank, who wore the yellow jersey in today’s stage, dropped out of the race, as did AG2R rider Tadej Valjavec. Several riders — including Lance Armstrong and Carlos Sastre — crashed on the wet, windy mountain roads. At least one team reportedly ran out of wheels they had so many flats.

Vincenzo Nibali got second place on Sunday; Jurgen Van De Walle took third.

Tour of California Stage 1 Podium

A shout out to the people I ran into today: Ken Conley, David Bernstein, Mike Norris who was shooting for Steephill.TV, and a writer (whose name I forget) for Bicycle.Net. Visit their sites for great photography, news, and coverage. Apologies to all the people I missed today — I intended to spend the day in Santa Rosa, but stayed out too late in Sacramento last night and got a very late start Sunday morning.

Tomorrow: Sausalito to Santa Cruz.

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