San Jose Welcomes Amgen Tour of California

Lance Armstrong rides to the start line in San Jose

The warm welcome received by the 124 cyclists who showed up for the start of Amgen Tour of California, stage 4, in downtown San Jose on a mild Wednesday morning sure beats the days of old. Back in the late 1960s, the “tour of California” was pulled over by the CHP and told to get off the road. That incident made the pages of Sports Illustrated.

Such misunderstandings are a thing of the past, thankfully, and now we have rolling road closures, 30-motorcycle escorts, and dozens of follow cars supporting the riders. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is an avid cyclist and we have him and the city to thank for bringing the race downtown.

I got there early to check out the scene, but since it’s a weekday the crowds were manageable. The riders, hunkered down in their RVs, stayed put until about 15 minutes before race start. I’m one of those fans who can’t tell a racer without a score card.

There is no mistaking Lance Armstrong though, and that’s where most of the fans gathered — at the team’s Radio Shack RV, parked right in front of Adobe headquarters. Adobe has a hand in the tour, providing some of the Web technology used on the website.

Once Lance mounted his bike, he was all business, riding directly to the start line. The riders made a loop of downtown and then headed out to Sierra Road for some deep-breathing exercises. They’ll finish their day in Modesto, 121.5 miles later. Enjoy!

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