Friday, February 23, 2007

View of the Amgen Tour of California Bike Race from Moto #2

By Jeremy Duerksen, Blue Sky Velo Marketing

Whether changing wheels, handing over water bottles, even retrieving discarded jackets, the job of riding neutral support “gives equal opportunity to all racers”

Longmont based Blue Sky Cycles bike shop owner and title sponsor of Longmont based cycling team Blue Sky Velo, Rob Love is riding Moto #2 at this weeks Amgen Tour of California. Whether changing wheels, handing over water bottles, even retrieving discarded jackets, the job of riding neutral support “gives equal opportunity to all racers” as Rob has quickly learned.

Over 60 mph on the winding descents and averaging 27 mph on rolling flats, the Amgen Tour of California is not a race for the weekend warrior. And neither is the quality of support. Every day for 4+ straight hours (with no “natural breaks”), Rob and his ‘jumper’ (the Moto passenger always with a new wheel at hand) cruise mere inches from Pro Tour riders such as Levi Leipheimer (current Yellow Jersey leader), George Hincapie (2006 US Road Race Champion), Paolo Bettini (2007 International Road Race Champion and 2004 Olympic Road Race Champion), and Ivan Basso (2006 Giro d’Italia Winner) along the roads of California. However, Mavic supports not just the Pro Tour racers but everyone in the race including US domestic racing teams such as Boulder, Colorado based Slipstream Sports who has regularly had a racer up the road in a break. Mavic is in the race to neutrally assist all 18 teams each with 8 racers. Rob says the ride is exciting and fun while at the same time rewarding to be right there when a racer needs support.

Even though the pace averages only 27 mph and the scenery is gorgeous Rob hasn’t seen a bit of it. Its ‘go time’ from 5 am when the race set up start until 6 pm when the transfer to the next day’s start is over and the vans and trailers are all packed and ready to go again.

Rob’s ‘jumper’ has ridden support for many races and knows many of the top riders by name. So, they’ll pull up next to a rider and in French, Italian or English, the ‘jumper’ will ask if they need anything. And if the rider needs water, a wheel, mechanic assistance or simply their arm warmers taken back to the team car, Mavic is there to help.

With team cars a ways back and most often stuck in a jam of racers, officials, cameramen and other teams, Moto #2 is always the 1st support crew at hand. Despite the fame of many of the racers or the size of their support team, Rob and his Mavic ‘teammates’ bring equality to the race. Every day since the race started last Sunday, someone whether a racer, mechanic or fan has come up to Rob in his bright yellow Mavic jumpsuit and said, “thanks for bringing pro-caliber racing to our town”.

With over 400,000 spectators reported in just the first 4 days of racing and over 1.2 million cheering on the race last year, the Amgen Tour of California has become the biggest sporting event in California. Rob reports his amazement at seeing the streets in towns like Davis, California (similar size to Longmont, CO) lined deep with cheering spectators through the entire town! The Amgen Tour of California is definitely bringing cycling to the forefront of sport in the United States. And Mavic… with Blue Sky Cycles Rob Love just behind the breakaways, is bringing equality to the racing with their neutral support.

For more information contact:

Jeremy Duerksen
Blue Sky Velo Marketing

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