Next years tour of California...

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TeamSkyFans said:
Im sure there is great cycling available in the US. AS i say, from pictures ive seen of rides or descriptions from forum posters there are some amazing rides out there. Im sure many americans find it frustrating that the showcase event of cycling in their country is the Tour of California. Im sure many forum members here could create a much better route that would intrest fans from all around the world.
If the promoters listened to the people who have raced and or ridden California I think we could really interest fans. I have not been to the Alps or Pyrenees or the Dolomites. I doubt we can match those mountains in their grandur.
Yes we have epic climbs. It is up to the promotors to pick courses that are interesting. I do not know why they can not find interesting mountain stages for instance.:mad:
 
Nov 17, 2009
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online-rider said:
Well its not a problem per se. But I can see your point with HTC columbia and Garmin, Bissell etc wanting to gratify their sponsors. But the fact is the TD Catalunya people don't squeal as much useless hype about their race as the TD California people did this year. Not that I've got a problem with promoting their race, good on them. You've also got to consider what pros are going to want to do their Tour prep in Cali racing a weird sprinters race or doing Catalunya ...? Am I right?
Catalunya is a race that was first raced in 1911 with a storied history in one of the most cycling crazy nations in the world.

California is a 5 year old race in a country where cycling ranks about 18th amongst sports, fighting for visibility and financial viability. US multi-stage races that have tried to reach the UCI registered level have all gone under within a decade.

I'm sorry you're upset by the promotion of the event... but it's not like they have a choice. The hype is necessary to get enough interest to have the race be financially viable... otherwise it will go the way of the Tour of Georgia and Tour of Missouri.

In May... Tour prep is just about getting race days. Most aren't concerned about testing their mountain legs until the June prep races... the Dauphine Libere and Tour de Suisse. And it's not really a sprinter's race in any way... it's a race dominated by time trialists who can climb some... not by sprinters or high-mountain climbers. You're looking at guys in the top 10 over the years like Leipheimer, Armstrong, Voigt, Zabriskie, Nibali, Gesink, Lovkvist, Rogers, Horner, Hesjedal, Brajkovic, Millar, Vandevelde, Cancellera, Larson, Jullich, Pellizoti, Evans, Hincapie and Danielson. It's basically a race designed for a Leipheimer/Rogers type rider.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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TeamSkyFans said:
Im sure there is great cycling available in the US. AS i say, from pictures ive seen of rides or descriptions from forum posters there are some amazing rides out there. Im sure many americans find it frustrating that the showcase event of cycling in their country is the Tour of California. Im sure many forum members here could create a much better route that would intrest fans from all around the world.
That's the problem I have with the ATOC. This could be a great race even if many marquee names aren't riding for the win. But the organizers talked it up as such an exciting race and then gave us a view of Californian multi-lane highways. That state has as much to offer as any racing venue. I appreciate they can't take the race too far away from where people live, but hopefully they plan future editions a little more around the best route and not the proximity to the biggest urban centres.
 
The mid May slot is not all it is cracked up to be.
For serious racing, the best options would be a week after Pais Vasco, in mid April, or the week between Giro finish and Dauphine start.

It has swapped being an early season leg warmer in February, for a very early Tour jaunt, in late Spring.
 

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Aug 17, 2009
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pedaling squares said:
That's the problem I have with the ATOC. This could be a great race even if many marquee names aren't riding for the win. But the organizers talked it up as such an exciting race and then gave us a view of Californian multi-lane highways. That state has as much to offer as any racing venue. I appreciate they can't take the race too far away from where people live, but hopefully they plan future editions a little more around the best route and not the proximity to the biggest urban centres.
Between Marin Counties' mount tam and beyond. Sonoma(Kings Ridge) and a TT Pine flat road. San Francisco circuit race(like t-mobile. Santa Cruz( hilly counties,) with some big redwoods humboldt county mendocino and High Sierras North and South. How about a TT in LA around griffith park. The border mountains east of San Diego. Some epic dirt mts. south of Ensenada Mexico.

Absurd run-ins going through 70s car friendly suburbs is not showcasing our state. Make the stages more competetive for our dometsic pros. Maybe an omnium style.

Forget trying to make it into a grand tour. This is California. Forget copycating Le Tour! Work with the environment here.
 
Mellow Velo said:
The mid May slot is not all it is cracked up to be.
For serious racing, the best options would be a week after Pais Vasco, in mid April, or the week between Giro finish and Dauphine start.

It has swapped being an early season leg warmer in February, for a very early Tour jaunt, in late Spring.
Respectfully disagree. I think it should be held together with the races in Canada which had good fields despite the Vuelta.
 
Feb 27, 2010
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Exactly what pedaling squares says!

They definitely haven't shown the best of the state.

With most of the true GC contenders racing on US bikes or backed by US companies, they're guaranteed to always pull in the best racers. Now give them a route to do the level of talent a bit of justice!
 
The ToC doesn't deserve quite as much negativity it gets around here, but it's certainly been boring for the most part. Sad, considering the terrific terrain they have to work with in Cali.

A few things make me hopeful that things will be different next year.

1) Going Pro Tour will guarantee an even stronger field and will ensure there are more guys going for the win with the added prestige and points a PT win would provide. No, PT status doesn't automatically elevate an event (especially a relatively new one) above more established races, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

2) This article that says they may go up Mt. Baldy. If they do, It would be the first true Mtn top finish (it is a dead end road) and I can guarantee Zabriskie will be nowhere near the final podium. I've done the climb many, many times and it will be tough enough to prevent 30 people from coming to the finish like in the Big Bear stage. It's almost 21k long. The first ~12.5k averages about 6% but the last ~8k averages about 8.5% with lots of tight switchbacks. Assuming they go all the way to the ski lift parking area, the riders will finish with a nice 23% grade. There is another way they could access it, but it would only affect the bottom section and the last ~8-9k would be the same.

3) I think these guys really want their race to be seen as the best in the U.S. and might feel the pressure from the new Colorado race and The Tour of Utah. Hopefully they took note of the ToU and its much better parcours.
 
Aug 19, 2009
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I hope the ToC gets enough time to carve it's own little niche out. Fourth grand tour? No, never. Regionally important? Yes, very, and and they've got the added bonus of some special interests through American sponsors.

I'm not sure how many top guys will come over, and make it a priority event, but I think that they need to make up for the lack of history and prestige with difficulty and something unique.
 
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jaylew said:
The ToC doesn't deserve quite as much negativity it gets around here, but it's certainly been boring for the most part. Sad, considering the terrific terrain they have to work with in Cali.

A few things make me hopeful that things will be different next year.

1) Going Pro Tour will guarantee an even stronger field and will ensure there are more guys going for the win with the added prestige and points a PT win would provide. No, PT status doesn't automatically elevate an event (especially a relatively new one) above more established races, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

2) This article that says they may go up Mt. Baldy. If they do, It would be the first true Mtn top finish (it is a dead end road) and I can guarantee Zabriskie will be nowhere near the final podium. I've done the climb many, many times and it will be tough enough to prevent 30 people from coming to the finish like in the Big Bear stage. It's almost 21k long. The first ~12.5k averages about 6% but the last ~8k averages about 8.5% with lots of tight switchbacks. Assuming they go all the way to the ski lift parking area, the riders will finish with a nice 23% grade. There is another way they could access it, but it would only affect the bottom section and the last ~8-9k would be the same.

3) I think these guys really want their race to be seen as the best in the U.S. and might feel the pressure from the new Colorado race and The Tour of Utah. Hopefully they took note of the ToU and its much better parcours.
Baldy is a hard climb. It's pretty long at 14 kms or so and gets steeper all the way to the top. The last 10k are over 8% average and last 2k average 11% or so. Like you say, there are some steeps that really hurt right at the end.
 
roundabout said:
Respectfully disagree. I think it should be held together with the races in Canada which had good fields despite the Vuelta.
The Giro is strong enough to hold off TOCs plans for world domination. But they have already named the Vuelta as the GT they aim to replace. Holding the TOC during the Vuelta and having all the hype about how it is better, well i dont want to hear it really.
 
Bag_O_Wallet said:
I hope the ToC gets enough time to carve it's own little niche out. Fourth grand tour? No, never. Regionally important? Yes, very, and and they've got the added bonus of some special interests through American sponsors.

I'm not sure how many top guys will come over, and make it a priority event, but I think that they need to make up for the lack of history and prestige with difficulty and something unique.
I don't think it's time that they need to carve their own niche out, it's inclination. They need to have the desire to create a race with its own identity, rather than trying to supplant other races onto something they're not compatible with. US Racing is something completely different from the Tour de France, and Andrew Messick and his team would do well to recognise that. Don't try to sell us anything you can't deliver (the fact that he's talking about a 'first genuine mountaintop finish' means an implicit admission that the Big Bear experiment failed). The race can only create prestige by being difficult (making winning it an achievement that a rider can be proud of and point to on their palmarès) or making it stand out as something different.

As it was, we got something that was too difficult for most of the domestic pros and that was not interesting enough for the top level pros to care about. Building up a race has to be a slow process, you can't just arrive at high prestige. And the race promotion about how quickly they have built and are building is counterproductive; it alienates those fans who would still be there when the Armstrong bubble is burst/when Armstrong and his guys retire.

The people on here who rag on the ToC do so not because it's a bad race per se, but because it's a bad race that pretends to be a good race, and because it could be a phenomenal race, but refuses to leave its cushy flat suburbs and use the interesting and exciting terrain that the state has to offer.
 
May 6, 2009
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Mt. Baldy:





Alpe d'Huez Comparison: If you start at mile 3.83 (near the intersection with Mountain Ave at the top of the reservoir), the climb is 8.8 miles with an average grade of 7.6%. Alpe d'huez is 8.8 miles with a 7.9% average.

This is about the closest thing in Southern California that you can compare in length and steepness to Alpe d'Huez. However, if you start at mile 5 near the first tunnel, the climb is 7.6 miles with an 8.2% average. The last few miles of this climb are more dificult than most of Alpe d'huez.


Socal Velo
 
Aug 19, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
I don't think it's time that they need to carve their own niche out, it's inclination. They need to have the desire to create a race with its own identity, rather than trying to supplant other races onto something they're not compatible with. US Racing is something completely different from the Tour de France, and Andrew Messick and his team would do well to recognise that. Don't try to sell us anything you can't deliver (the fact that he's talking about a 'first genuine mountaintop finish' means an implicit admission that the Big Bear experiment failed). The race can only create prestige by being difficult (making winning it an achievement that a rider can be proud of and point to on their palmarès) or making it stand out as something different.

As it was, we got something that was too difficult for most of the domestic pros and that was not interesting enough for the top level pros to care about. Building up a race has to be a slow process, you can't just arrive at high prestige. And the race promotion about how quickly they have built and are building is counterproductive; it alienates those fans who would still be there when the Armstrong bubble is burst/when Armstrong and his guys retire.

The people on here who rag on the ToC do so not because it's a bad race per se, but because it's a bad race that pretends to be a good race, and because it could be a phenomenal race, but refuses to leave its cushy flat suburbs and use the interesting and exciting terrain that the state has to offer.
I can't disagree with any of that. I just hope in time they figure out that they need that inclination, before it's too late.

I will say that pretty much all other events at that level (2.HC) or above have had decades to figure out what they are and what they want to be. The only other races on the calendar (from March on) that I could see that didn't have decades of history were Langkawi and Qinghai Lake. I have no idea how they're marketed.

If they keep pretending to be something they're not... if they keep singing someone elses song... well, people will stick with the original.
 
Bag_O_Wallet said:
I can't disagree with any of that. I just hope in time they figure out that they need that inclination, before it's too late.

I will say that pretty much all other events at that level (2.HC) or above have had decades to figure out what they are and what they want to be. The only other races on the calendar (from March on) that I could see that didn't have decades of history were Langkawi and Qinghai Lake. I have no idea how they're marketed.

If they keep pretending to be something they're not... if they keep singing someone elses song... well, people will stick with the original.
Turkey. That's only a few years old. That's popular - gets a lot of ProConti teams duking it out. It's not exactly mountainous but includes enough hills to break things up as long as a super dominant train doesn't show up - Greipel won something like 5 stages this year. Even so, despite Columbia's best efforts, Cofidis and ISD insisted on trying to make the race interesting. The website for the race is one of the absolute best in the sport, the presentation was good and the route decent. It has every chance of getting tougher - plenty of mountains in Turkey they can use if they wish. Turkey does not attract a super prestige lineup, but the start list is looking better every year, and the race is becoming more competitive each year.

California would do well to look at that organic growth and think about that. Present the race professionally, use the benefits of the landscape (California has the potential to put together routes befitting most, if not all, of the Old World (legacy of more modern equipment being used when these passes were constructed). Rather than have all the top teams not particularly caring, use the fact that Anglophone cycling is on the up, as teams like Pegasus aim at ProTour and the likes of United Healthcare and Team Type 1 want to go ProContinental. Don't be afraid of having a less star-studded field - a less star-studded field, including many for whom this is the biggest race of the year, will fight harder for the victory than a more star-studded field of people resting after the Spring Classics or building up for another race. And then, when you have a race that people are fighting over legitimately, that's when you can bring in the rest of the ProTour teams. The ones with US interests - Saxo-Sungard, Rabobank, Quick Step, BMC, Radioshack, Columbia, Garmin... they'd show up anyway. You can rely on them bringing at least some marketable names that will allow you to continue to market the race as being one of the elite events. But for God's sake don't pretend it's a Grand Tour... don't talk in the press about how it's on the same level as the Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse. Talk about building a race with that aspiration, certainly, and emphasise the star riders you can guarantee showing up (the ones on those teams mentioned above) and encourage the home support. Telling us you're delivering a Grand Tour and then delivering what you delivered this year will just mean people in the US don't bother in future, and people outside the US sneer at you. You need to emphasise that it's a long-term project (I know, you don't want to wait) and set expectations accordingly.

Mountain stages are a good idea, but for god's sake don't make it so that it's never-ending climbing at 3-4%. Then you'll drop all of the national pros and the people there on a jolly or out of form, but without providing any of the opportunities for the top pros to attack and gain separation. Also - many of the top pros being invited are the kind who make their gains in a time trial.

With some Colombian teams aiming at ProContinental, they should perhaps be sought. They will bring interest to the mountain stages, and as it will be one of the biggest races they'll have the chance to enter they will likely be really up for the race. Really try to sell the race to ProContinental teams in France, Spain and Italy - having the likes of Bbox there really helped in Canada, for example.
 
May 6, 2009
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They really have to go up to Mt Baldy next year, at least we won't have any nonsense of Big Bear Lake. Out of interest to anybody from Socal, or California natives, aside from Mt Baldy, is there many hard MTF's they could use and make the racing entertaining?
 
I agree with what LS is saying.

I don't like the way they've entered into a commercial war with the Giro, trying to compete on grounds of "look at all these superstars" and "we're the fourth GT". When it boils down to it, the ToC is a very average race. The ToC is a great way out of the Giro for riders who don't want to do it but may be pressured by managers/sponsors so it ends up attracting big name riders who don't want to race.

More racing, fewer stars.
 
A

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craig1985 said:
They really have to go up to Mt Baldy next year, at least we won't have any nonsense of Big Bear Lake. Out of interest to anybody from Socal, or California natives, aside from Mt Baldy, is there many hard MTF's they could use and make the racing entertaining?

Yes. ToC could have eight stages in SoCal with a difficult finish every time. I don't know how good the racing would be but there are lots of mountains here.
 
Aug 19, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
Turkey. That's only a few years old. That's popular - gets a lot of ProConti teams duking it out. It's not exactly mountainous but includes enough hills to break things up as long as a super dominant train doesn't show up - Greipel won something like 5 stages this year. Even so, despite Columbia's best efforts, Cofidis and ISD insisted on trying to make the race interesting. The website for the race is one of the absolute best in the sport, the presentation was good and the route decent. It has every chance of getting tougher - plenty of mountains in Turkey they can use if they wish. Turkey does not attract a super prestige lineup, but the start list is looking better every year, and the race is becoming more competitive each year.

California would do well to look at that organic growth and think about that. Present the race professionally, use the benefits of the landscape (California has the potential to put together routes befitting most, if not all, of the Old World (legacy of more modern equipment being used when these passes were constructed). Rather than have all the top teams not particularly caring, use the fact that Anglophone cycling is on the up, as teams like Pegasus aim at ProTour and the likes of United Healthcare and Team Type 1 want to go ProContinental. Don't be afraid of having a less star-studded field - a less star-studded field, including many for whom this is the biggest race of the year, will fight harder for the victory than a more star-studded field of people resting after the Spring Classics or building up for another race. And then, when you have a race that people are fighting over legitimately, that's when you can bring in the rest of the ProTour teams. The ones with US interests - Saxo-Sungard, Rabobank, Quick Step, BMC, Radioshack, Columbia, Garmin... they'd show up anyway. You can rely on them bringing at least some marketable names that will allow you to continue to market the race as being one of the elite events. But for God's sake don't pretend it's a Grand Tour... don't talk in the press about how it's on the same level as the Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse. Talk about building a race with that aspiration, certainly, and emphasise the star riders you can guarantee showing up (the ones on those teams mentioned above) and encourage the home support. Telling us you're delivering a Grand Tour and then delivering what you delivered this year will just mean people in the US don't bother in future, and people outside the US sneer at you. You need to emphasise that it's a long-term project (I know, you don't want to wait) and set expectations accordingly.

Mountain stages are a good idea, but for god's sake don't make it so that it's never-ending climbing at 3-4%. Then you'll drop all of the national pros and the people there on a jolly or out of form, but without providing any of the opportunities for the top pros to attack and gain separation. Also - many of the top pros being invited are the kind who make their gains in a time trial.

With some Colombian teams aiming at ProContinental, they should perhaps be sought. They will bring interest to the mountain stages, and as it will be one of the biggest races they'll have the chance to enter they will likely be really up for the race. Really try to sell the race to ProContinental teams in France, Spain and Italy - having the likes of Bbox there really helped in Canada, for example.
I can only disagree one point and that's Turkey being a few years old. As Barrus said, it's had 46 editions.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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khardung la said:
Creating now a hype with a possible climb that "looks like alpe D'Huez" is again driving the race the wrong way. Alpe D'Huez is a highly overrated climb, but anyway why that need to look like Europe?
Because for the average NoAmerican, all they know of cycling is the TdF in general, and L'Alpe in particular. To answer a question upthread, all the hate comes from a failure to recognize this. NoAmerican Race organizers know full well that a successful race depends not on us paying attention - most of us will regardless - but on a much much larger spectator base that do not religiously follow road cycling.

As for L'Alpe D'Huez, no, it is not a particularly challenging climb on it's own. It is a pretty climb on good roads, but not too long, and not too steep. No, what L'Alpe has is drama; 200km of mountainous terrain leading up to it, and a peloton that is riding as hard as they can. And, L'Alpe has commerical appeal; one million spectators strung from the first switchback, through the ampitheater-like upper slopes to the jam-packed finishing km in a beautiful alpine village. It is perfectly suited for massive TV coverage - and thus sponsorship.


California will never provide something similar to the GTs or classics in Europe, because of the lack of tradition or completely different cultural and nature landscapes. BUT it could provide something different and also good. It could develop a strong personality by offering something different that could not be found in Europe (whatever it could be, I don't really know)
Yes the ToC organizers (not surprisingly - ASO is a major player) seem to have made mistakes. Use more of the pacific coast and the redwood/sequioa forests. How about a stage that replicates the San Fran GP. Heck, send it out into the desert. Find a punchy 3km uphill finish a la the Giro, or even use some gravel roads. I suspect that first and foremost however, the organizers are trying to build a spectator base to prove to potential sponsors the economic viability of the venture. Hopefully, with that established, the ToC will venture off the highly traveled paths they have been using.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
California would do well to look at that organic growth and think about that. Present the race professionally, use the benefits of the landscape (California has the potential to put together routes befitting most, if not all, of the Old World (legacy of more modern equipment being used when these passes were constructed). Rather than have all the top teams not particularly caring, use the fact that Anglophone cycling is on the up, as teams like Pegasus aim at ProTour and the likes of United Healthcare and Team Type 1 want to go ProContinental. Don't be afraid of having a less star-studded field - a less star-studded field, including many for whom this is the biggest race of the year, will fight harder for the victory than a more star-studded field of people resting after the Spring Classics or building up for another race. And then, when you have a race that people are fighting over legitimately, that's when you can bring in the rest of the ProTour teams. The ones with US interests - Saxo-Sungard, Rabobank, Quick Step, BMC, Radioshack, Columbia, Garmin... they'd show up anyway. You can rely on them bringing at least some marketable names that will allow you to continue to market the race as being one of the elite events. But for God's sake don't pretend it's a Grand Tour... don't talk in the press about how it's on the same level as the Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse. Talk about building a race with that aspiration, certainly, and emphasise the star riders you can guarantee showing up (the ones on those teams mentioned above) and encourage the home support. Telling us you're delivering a Grand Tour and then delivering what you delivered this year will just mean people in the US don't bother in future, and people outside the US sneer at you. You need to emphasise that it's a long-term project (I know, you don't want to wait) and set expectations accordingly.
Sounds great having basically an american race with some motivated pro-tour squads. But how do you get such a race funded? It did not work for most of the american tours in the past, with them all going out of business.

Most of the american teams and events are commercially of such a level that most euro-teams don't get any advantage if they get get associated with them. The TOC has positioned itself in such a way that it is considered an important event for euro-teams with sponsors that have an american presence. By having all the topteams and names present it actually strengthens that position, and makes it an event sponsors want to be at (and are willing to spend even more on). Get rid of the topnames and teams, and the others sponsors (and tv-networks, it is live on eurosport in europe for example) will be less interested to spend money on the tour.

I totally agree that the TOC could be so much more interesting by having intersting stage profiles. The stars that are only here to get some mileage can finish a mountain stage in the bus, so that's no reason for not including a real mountain finish.
 
Roninho said:
Sounds great having basically an american race with some motivated pro-tour squads. But how do you get such a race funded? It did not work for most of the american tours in the past, with them all going out of business.
You're right, of course. I would suggest that a major problem facing American racing at the moment is that a lot of casual fan interest is due to the Armstrong factor; with him and his cronies all likely to retire together very soon. This will no doubt be a bit of a blow to American races. They may have to get by on lower budgets. But tell me, how much of the ToC's budget do you think went on the organisation of the LA time trial? Was that REALLY all that much better than holding it in Solvang? Would that money not have been better served on the logistics of trying to utilise the landscape of California better?

Most of the american teams and events are commercially of such a level that most euro-teams don't get any advantage if they get get associated with them. The TOC has positioned itself in such a way that it is considered an important event for euro-teams with sponsors that have an american presence. By having all the topteams and names present it actually strengthens that position, and makes it an event sponsors want to be at (and are willing to spend even more on). Get rid of the topnames and teams, and the others sponsors (and tv-networks, it is live on eurosport in europe for example) will be less interested to spend money on the tour.
But then, the problem is, if you're trying to sell yourself as an important race, yes it's excellent for the sponsors having the big names in town, but if the fans catch on that the big names aren't caring, they'll be less inclined to care either; if the fans aren't caring, the sponsors aren't getting any benefit from their input, and if the sponsors aren't getting any benefit they'll pull out, and again the race will have to manage on a lower budget.

As things stand, the Tour of California has a budget and big names, but not a lot else. It's on pretty weak footing. The course this year was too tough for the domestic teams but not able to create any excitement amongst the ProTour teams. It is good news for the US that teams like Type 1 and Universal Healthcare want to go ProConti - it gives some national non-ProTour teams who can contest the race and hopefully bring to the race what ISD and Cofidis brought to Turkey. It is a logistical problem facing the race that, at 2.HC status, the only teams below ProConti status who can race are American teams. The Volta a Portugal actively asked the UCI to lower their status to 2.1 this year, so that they could invite Continental teams who would add something to the race. California is heading in the opposite direction, or at least trying to; they asked for an exception to UCI rules to be made to allow them to keep inviting the national teams while still stepping up to ProTour level, which the UCI declined.

Basically, having money is absolutely key to the survival of the race. But having money alone is not going to make the race important. Adding real mountain stages that give people the chance to make a difference to the GC will help. Adding more stages with short hill finishes too - think Tirreno-Adriatico. If they're going to use big cities and their budget, San Francisco has a bunch of short steep hills they could use as a finish that would be dramatic and exciting.

Or, they could give us a taste of what American racing is like. We in Europe don't really know that.
 

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